Friday, September 5, 2014

What is a "Senior Cat"?


Gracie just turned 14...is that 'old' for a cat?

There is no one specific age that classifies a cat as senior. 

Like people, some cats age faster than others. Generally speaking, however, older cats can be placed into one of three groups:
Mature or middle-aged: 7–10 years (44–56 years for humans)
Senior: 11–14 years (60-72 years for humans)
Geriatric: 15+ years (76+ years for humans)

With good home and veterinary care, many cats can live into their late teens and early twenties. It’s important to understand that your cat is likely to undergo certain physical changes with age. Some changes, such as reduced kidney function, may be associated with diseases that affect how long — and how well — your pet will live. Others, such 
as decreased ability to see, hear and taste, may require certain changes in how you interact with and care for your cat. 

Some of the common changes associated with aging include:

  •  Altered sleep-wake cycle
  •  Changes in vision 
  •  Appearance of brown spots in the iris
  •  Decreased sense of smell
  •  Brittle nails
  •  Decreased lung reserve
  •  Heart or circulatory problems
  •  Decreased digestion and ability to absorb nutrients
  •  Loose, less-elastic skin
  •  Reduced ability to handle stress
  •  Changes in behavior 

 Understanding aging changes, as well as what constitutes “normal” developments and what signals signs of treatable conditions, can be challenging. Some owners might think 
that, unlike dogs, cats do not need to visit the veterinarian on an ongoing basis, outside of scheduled vaccinations. 

This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, by regularly taking your cat to a veterinarian, illness can be diagnosed early and age-related health conditions are delayed or managed. 


Source:  American Association of Feline Practitioners 
Sponsored by: Purina Veterinary Diets


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