Old age is not a disease! Aging involves a normal, progressive decline in function of the body’s organs and can occur in the absence of disease. Aging tissues do accumulate damage over time, which makes them more susceptible to further decline and disease. It is this combination of aging and the potential for disease that makes caring for your older cat a unique undertaking.
Wellness Testing for the Older Cat
Senior cats should visit their veterinarian every six months instead of once a year because early detection of organ dysfunction and/or subtle behavior changes is key to insuring your cat’s longevity and good quality of life. A detailed physical exam and evaluation of weight and body condition give valuable information regarding your aging cat’s health. Your veterinarian may recommend blood and urine tests to help identify and treat diseases common to the senior cat such as diabetes, kidney disease, and hyperthyroidism. A simple blood pressure measurement can screen for hypertension. X-rays can identify painful arthritic joints. Discuss your senior cat’s nutrition and behavior with your veterinarian on a regular basis, as these, too, change with age.
Remember: old age and poor health are not synonymous!
For more information:
Cornell Feline Health Center: The Special Needs of the Senior Cat
Feline Advisory Bureau: Caring For the Elderly Cat