One of the things most people know about cats is the fact they are said they to enjoy 9 lives"". To a certain extent, our feline friends are often very lucky when they are involved in an accident or mishap and get away intact without injury. However, just as with all other living things, cats too start to show their age as they reach their senior years. People who know their cats well, may notice subtle changes as the years roll by which is great because it means if there's something amiss going on – a condition can be caught early and treated as soon as possible.
It's important to know what to look out for that your feline friend might be feeling their years and this includes the more subtle signs which often go unnoticed. Below is a list of 6 things to keep an eye out for which could be an indication of a cat getting old.
As cats age, they very often experience problems with their vision but this can be either a primary or a secondary symptom to a more serious health problem. The most common eye issues seen in cats as they grow older are as follows:
It would be fair to say that a cat's eyes are the window to their cardiovascular system. All too often, ocular disease is a secondary symptom to a primary health condition which could a condition knows as hypertension and this is a symptom of both hyperthyroidism and kidney disease. These are serious conditions that need veterinary attention as soon as possible and the symptoms to watch out for include the following:
If you notice any of these symptoms or signs, then a quick trip to the vet would be in order so your pet can be thoroughly examined.
As cats reach their senior years one of the conditions they are very likely to suffer from is kidney disease. A sure sign there could be a problem is your cat starts to drink more water and therefore urinate a lot more. They drink excessively because their kidney function decreases as they get older. As time goes by, a cat starts to lose weight because they lose their appetites – all due to toxin build ups in their blood. Kidney failure in any living thing is irreversible – but with this said, early detection followed by a specifically formulated diet has been seen to slow the progression of this disease down considerably.
At the other end of the spectrum, if you notice your cat is not urinating – this too can be a sign of a serious kidney disease or even an urethral obstruction, both of which have to be treated as dangerous conditions which need veterinary attention as a matter of urgency.
Cats can suffer with dental issues at any stage of their lives which includes periodontal disease. However, our feline friends are also susceptible to more severe dental issues with one being feline tooth resorption. This is one condition that is not very well understood but it involves the body dissolving a tooth at root level. The condition is extremely painful and all too often goes unnoticed simply because teeth are still visible below the gum but the roots are in fact just crumbling away.
It cannot be stressed enough, the importance of regular dental checks at the vet to make sure nothing untoward is going on. Examinations may include a few X-rays which is the only way of checking if tooth resorption is indeed occurring.
Cancer is often considered a genetic consequence that goes hand in hand with old age and this is just as true in cats. There are certain forms of cancer which are more commonly seen in our feline friends. An example being a white cat's susceptibility to developing squamous cell carcinomas on their ears and noses which are typically areas of their bodies which don't have any pigment.
Certain forms of cancer like soft tissue sarcoma, is another condition that is often seen in older cats and which is associated with specific vaccines. Although, the cancer can develop at any time during a cat's life, as they age the risk is greater so if you notice any new lumps or bumps on your pet, this needs to be examined by your vet who would typically carry out a biopsy.
Cats are only little creatures so although a single pound may not appear a lot of weight to lose to a person, for our feline friends this represents a good proportion of their total body weight – namely 10%. If your cat experiences a sudden drop in weight, it could be a sign of many health problems ranging from hyperthyroidism right through to diabetes.
If you notice any sudden weight loss in your cat, a quick trip to the vet would be in order for a thorough examination so they can rule out the causes and to get to the bottom of the problem sooner rather than later.
Over recent years much research has been carried out on osteoarthritis in cats. This is a degenerative condition that affects the joints and it is now thought to be a lot more prevalent in cats than it was believed to be in the past. However, many owners are under the impression that their cat's reluctance to jump up, is simply one of the signs of them growing old when in fact they are suffering from osteoarthritis. This is an extremely painful condition for cats to have to live with and signs there could be a problem include the following:
Unfortunately, treatments for osteoarthritis in cats is more limited than it is for dogs because of the metabolic differences between canines and felines. However, there are very effective ways of reducing your cat's pain which a vet would be able to prescribe for them once the condition has been correctly diagnosed.