As cats age, they may alter their routine. Many prefer to spend more time indoors sleeping than going outside in the cold. However, if a cat is sleeping more owners should not assume this is part of the normal ageing process. It can be a subtle sign of pain or an underlying illness.
Cats are stoic, so they will try and hide any signs of illness until conditions are advanced. To detect illnesses early, owners need to look for subtle changes in their cat’s behaviour that suggests their cat may be struggling.
Common signs of illness,
If your elderly cat starts to show any of these signs, you should take your cat to your vets for a check-up. Your vet will be able to examine your cat, check their weight, and they may advise blood tests.
There are several illnesses that cats commonly develop as they become older. These conditions often require treatment for the rest of the cat’s life, along with regular testing to monitor the progression of the illness. For each of these, speak to your vet about treatments and options.
Many of these illnesses can present with similar signs, including sleeping more. Your vet may advise several tests to fully assess your cat’s health and get a diagnosis. Speak to your vet for advice if you are concerned that your cat could be suffering from one of these conditions.
There are several changes you can make at home to help keep your elderly cat comfortable. Alongside regular vet visits, these changes can help ensure your elderly cat has a good quality of life.
As elderly cat are likely to reduce the time they spend outdoors you should offer them a litter tray indoors, even if they usually toilet outside. Litter trays should have low sides, so if cats become arthritic and painful, they can still use their litter tray. Sometimes elderly cats will start to have accidents next to their litter tray because they are too painful to climb inside.
Elderly cats may struggle to groom themselves, so by grooming your cat regularly you can help keep their coat in good condition. Grooming your cat also provides a good opportunity to check for any lumps or wounds.
Older cats can also get overgrown claws as they become less active. Some cats will need their claws regularly trimmed to prevent them from growing into their pads. Your vet can cut your cat’s nails for you, or teach you how to do this at home.
One of the earliest signs of illness is weight loss, so you should regularly monitor your cat’s weight, especially as they get older. Ideally, this should be done weekly so any changes can be quickly detected. You can take your cat to your vets to be weighed, or you can weigh them at home. If your cat starts to lose weight you should take your cat to your vets for a check-up.
As your cat ages, they are more likely to develop illnesses, so by taking your cat for a regular check-up at your vets they can detect any health issues early. These conditions are usually life-long, but if they are caught early, they can usually be treated more easily.
Even though elderly cats are more likely to suffer from health conditions, with regular health checks and close monitoring these illnesses can usually be managed so your cat can have a good quality of life. If you feel that your cat’s quality of life has started to deteriorate, we can provide you with advice and support to help you decide on the next steps to prevent your pet from suffering.