Although cats can live to a ripe old age of 20 or more, a cat is considered to be old once it reaches 8 years. Like us humans, as our kitties grow older, health problems can develop and as cats are masters of disguise, it’s not always easy to spot when these problems occur. In this video, our vet John Davies of Daisy Street Vets, tells us how to spot the top 4 signs of health problems in older cats.
Look out for the following signs:
Sign 1. Increased Thirst in Older Cats
The number one sign that something may be wrong with your cat is an increased thirst. There are various potential causes for this, including kidney disease and diabetes, but if you notice that your cat is drinking more than usual, even if they appear to be perfectly normal otherwise, it’s important that they are seen by a vet at this early stage, for testing and treatment. Waiting until more symptoms appear before taking action, can make treatment more difficult.
Sign 2. Weight Loss in Older Cats
Another early signal of a health problem in an older cat, is a subtle loss of weight over a few weeks, despite the fact that he or she may be eating normally. If caught early, a problem can often be dealt with, however it becomes much harder to treat a sick cat that has steadily been losing weight over a longer period of time.
Sign 3. Arthritis in Older Cats
Cats do get arthritis in the same way that humans and dogs do, but it’s much more difficult to spot in a cat. They don’t appear to be stiff, but you may notice that they don’t climb stairs quite as fast as they did, or jump up onto things as they normally would. They can also be a little bit miserable too or you may even see a change in their character. If you do spot any of these symptoms, don’t just think that your kitty’s getting old – the good news is that even if it he or she does have arthritis, it’s likely that your vet can do something about it.
Sign 4. Dental Problems in Older Cats
There are some early signs to look out for that indicate that all might not be well with your cats mouth, for example if he or she’s not eating normally or has gone off dried food, preferring wet food instead. With care, it’s possible to look at your cat’s teeth – gently lift the lips and if the teeth are brown and the gums are inflamed or there’s a horrible smell, it’s likely that there is a problem and it’s important that you take your cat to the vet. To help avoid severe dental problems in an ageing cat it’s essential that the vet checks your kitty’s teeth at regular intervals for example when they have their annual booster.
The best advice seems to be that if you have any concerns at all about the health of your cat, particularly if he or she is older, then it’s always wise to take them to see your vet and get them checked out early.
‘Till next time.