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My Cat is Getting Old: What Do I Need to Know?

As your cat gets older, it’s important to keep an eye on him. Cats are masters of disguise, and a slight change in behavior could point to an underlying problem in an older cat.

You can give your cat his best life through the years if you know the signs of aging in cats and the problems that can arise from the simple passage of time.

All cats should get regular check-ups with their vet, but it’s extremely important for aging cats. Your veterinarian can help catch issues early, especially if your senior is good at hiding them. Feel free to call Cinco Ranch Veterinary at 281-693-7387 to schedule your cat’s next check-up.

Sign #1: Your Cat Is Having Trouble Eating

As your cat ages, his teeth are more prone to dental disease, which can make eating difficult. Signs of a dental issue include:

How You Can Help Your Cat

Like other injuries and illnesses, cats can hide dental issues from their owners, so it’s important to regularly check your cat’s teeth or have it done by a vet, even when he’s young. It’s best to catch a dental problem before it progresses into something more serious that could require surgery or tooth removal. Brushing and specialized diets can also help prevent problems.

If your cat is already missing teeth or having other mouth issues, either from aging or dental disease, your vet may recommend a specific diet to make it easier for him to eat.

Not sure how to brush your cat’s teeth?

Sign #2: Your Cat Isn’t Coming When You Call

Cats, just like humans, are prone to changes in hearing. Becoming hard of hearing is an extremely common sign of aging in cats. Over time, your cat may experience damage to his ear or nerves, resulting in hearing loss.

Signs your senior may be going deaf include:

How You Can Help Your Cat

If your cat is going deaf or just not hearing as well as he used to, try not to sneak up or startle him. If your cat is an outdoor cat, consider keeping him inside instead, as he won’t be able to hear cars and other dangers. To keep your cat safe should he wander off, give him a microchip.

Sign #3: Your Cat Is Running into Things

Deteriorating sight is also a sign of an aging cat. Haziness and cloudiness is common in older cats and, in most cases, doesn’t affect their ability to see, but other issues like cataracts and high blood pressure should be given extra attention.

Cataracts are not extremely common in cats, even in seniors, but can occur. Look out for whitish pupils. High blood pressure, just like in humans, can lead to blindness in your cat. Unlike cataracts, it’s extremely common in cats.

How You Can Help Your Cat

One of the first things you should do if you have a cat who is blind or losing his sight is avoid adding hazards to his environment. He’s probably already comfortable in your home, so don’t move things he’ll remember the placement of, like furniture. Cats rely more on their hearing and smell than their sight, so the loss of it doesn’t mean your cat can’t live a full life; however, you should never let a blind cat outside.

If you notice your cat is having trouble seeing in the dark, take him to a vet as soon as possible. This could be a sign of high blood pressure and may be able to be treated before it worsens.

Sign #4: Your Cat Isn’t as Energetic as Before

As any pet ages, they tend to lose energy. Your cat will sleep more and play less, and that’s completely normal. If your cat becomes lethargic, however, make an appointment with your vet.

How You Can Help Your Cat

The best thing you can do for any senior cat keep them out of stressful situations. This includes big changes, new pets, and new situations. When stressed, cats can lash out at other animals, cease using the litter box, or become more aggressive overall. Ask your vet about reducing stress.

signs of aging in cats

Sign #5: Your Cat Isn’t Moving Like He Used to

Aging cats are extremely prone to arthritis. The smallest of physical changes could point to this problem, so if you notice your cat limping or grooming himself differently as he ages, take him to the vet for a check-up.

Other signs of trouble moving include no longer jumping on your bed and other furniture and simply not being able to climb into his litter box.

How You Can Help Your Cat

The symptoms of arthritis can absolutely be treated by a vet and will reduce pain and discomfort. Your veterinarian may recommend a different diet, weight loss, or medication.

Your cat may have difficulty reaching specific spots on his body when he grooms himself. Grooming your cat will prevent problems like matting.

Rearranging your home slightly will also help your feline friend. Make access to his water and food bowls, litter box(es), toys, and favorite places a little easier to reach. He’ll also appreciate a little help if they are looking to get into bed with you.

Other Signs of Aging in Cats

There are several other signs that your cat is aging that are not cause for alarm, like brittle claws and changes to his coat texture or color. If you’re concerned about a particular change, ask your vet!

Just like humans, cats change as they age. Unlike humans, cats are expert at hiding symptoms, discomfort, and pain. So you need to be the lookout! If you notice alterations in your aging cat’s behavior or physical appearance, keep an eye on them for other changes to prevent problems. If you suspect something is wrong, contact your vet.

One of the best things you can do for your aging cat is to get regular check-ups. This can help set your mind at ease and ensure your senior is getting the best care, nutrition, and attention possible as he gets older. If it’s time for your senior’s check-up or you suspect a problem, call us at 281-693-7387.

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The Team @ Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital

Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital serves Katy, TX and the surrounding areas with a dedication and passion for our animal friends that is unmatched. Our veterinarians are highly trained, experienced, and compassionate when it comes to giving your pet the care they deserve. If your companion is in need of emergency care, a dental cleaning, grooming, or just a check-up, we would love to see them! Call 281-693-7387 to make an appointment quickly and easily.

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