If you have a cat that is aging, chances are you have noticed some changes in their appearance, behaviors, and health related issues. Some changes are the normal part of the aging process, others are not. I will share with you my own experience with an aging cat and what I have found to be helpful in his care. As always, check with your Veterinarian about any concerns you may have about your beloved pet.
As your cat ages, you may notice significant body and coat changes. I noticed that as my cat aged, his coat became thinner as well as minor color changes. Some cats fur will gray, especially around the face, others like my brown cat, will take on a more “rusty” or copper color to their fur. It is important to keep your older cat groomed by brushing him/her often. An older cat will also lose weight, usually with each passing year. Significant weight loss at a rapid rate is something to cause concern. Whenever in doubt, check with your Veterinarian. Also, you may notice that your cat’s nails will become harder and thicker. They may even have a more difficult time grooming them or forgo the use of their scratching post. Keeping their nails clipped is vital to warding off any painful nail problems.
Your cat may begin to display some gastrointestinal issues. One of the first things I noticed in my aging cat was food sensitivity and vomiting, as well as constipation. Older cats do not digest their food as easily due to their digestive system slows as they age. I found that keeping my cat fed on grain free foods and feeding him small portions throughout the day works best. Also, keep in mind that an older cat needs more canned food due to the water content. Dry kibble does not provide enough water intake for your cat. I also use a hairball paste that I give my cat weekly to ensure that he does not become constipated.
Your cat can become more susceptible to upper respiratory issues or colds. My cat began sneezing at one point; something he had never done before. Persistent sneezing in cats at any age is not normal. This will warrant a trip to the Veterinarian in order to rule out various viral infections. Usually an antibiotic will do the trick in eliminating these problems. An older cat may have difficulty in fighting off sickness due to a lowered immune system.
These are just some things that I have experienced with my own aging cat and I hope you find these hints helpful in keeping your cat healthy. Remember to feed him/her good quality cat food that is lower in protein; their kidneys cannot take the processing of proteins as easily. As always provide them with clean water, a comfortable place to rest, and regular Vet checkups.