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Expectations of a Senior Pet

Published on January 30th, 2018

Pets age, and at a more rapid rate than humans do. While the old rule of “one human year equals seven cat years” may be simple, it isn’t a hard and fast rule by any means. In general, though, you can assume that cats aged eight or older can be considered “seniors”. However, some cats will not start exhibiting senior qualities until later than ten years old. No matter what, once your cat is an older age, you will want to discuss with your vet if they need a change in diet, exercise, vet visits, etc. Below are some expectations you can have of your senior cat.

Slowing Down

Physical changes in your cat are to be expected, so do not be alarmed if your cat is less enthused to play with their favorite toy or go up to the highest perch on their scratching post. Other signs that your cat is aging include longer naps and difficulty going up and down stairs. Fortunately, these signs are normal and should not be cause for alarm. Much like adults, cats slow down in their older age. They can also experience muscle loss that will make standing or walking difficult; see your veterinarian if it becomes problematic.

Your Cats’ Senses

As your cat gets older, their hearing and sight may deteriorate. Hearing loss is rather common, but it is extremely variable, from complete loss to barely noticeable. If you are unsure about your cats’ hearing loss, have your vet examine your pets’ ears. Other medical problems, including infection or parasites, could potentially be the cause of hearing loss. Most cats experience “lenticular sclerosis”, which is a bluish transparent haze in the pupils; this is normal. However, if your cat experiences cataracts, which are white and opaque, a vet needs to be contacted.

Contact Your Vet

Overall, taking longer naps and typical aging signs are normal, and a vet visit isn’t required. However, if you think that your cat is having difficulty with walking or standing, or have cataracts/significant hearing loss, it is time to visit the vet. Fortunately, at your cats’ yearly visit, your vet will be able to discuss changes to your pet due to age and if they want to change their diet or exercise.

Contact Portage Park Animal Hospital if you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment today!

Courtesy of: The Spruce

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