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Every cat is unique, much like an individual person. Just as the human population is living longer, so is the feline population. As a result, you can expect age-related concerns to emerge.
A majority of cats start to experience physical changes
arising from age around seven to ten years. A majority of cats have age-related
issues by age 12. The assumption that a single cat year equals seven human
years is largely inaccurate. The fact is a 12-month-old cat is equivalent to a
21-year-old person. Therefore a ten-year-old kitty is close to a 53-year old
What happens to cats as they age?
Similar to humans, the aging process produces several
behavioral and physical changes, such as:
- Their immune system is weaker and less likely to fight
off infections. Chronic diseases may impair immune system function.
- Dehydration frequently occurs in older cats and can further
decrease immunity and blood circulation.
- Older cats have thinner skin and therefore reduced blood
- Aging felines have claws that are thick, brittle, and
- As cats age, they experience changes in personality and
display symptoms such as excessive meowing, wandering, avoiding social
interaction, and disorientation.
- Hearing loss will occur as their age progresses.
- Older cats are less effective in grooming and will,
therefore, have skin odor, inflammation, and hair matting.
- Dental disease is very common and can cause severe pain.
- Older cats may develop joint and bone-related issues
like arthritis making it hard for them to climb the stair or even jump.
- Hyperthyroidism is also prevalent in the feline
population, which can cause cancer, hypertension, inflammatory bowel disease,
- Loss of appetite is fairly common in older cats.
How to meet the
needs of your senior cat?
Keep a close eye on your feline. Check its teeth and skin
regularly. Note down changes in behavior and movement. Most age-related changes
can be noted by simply scratching your cat behind the ears and stroking its
Here are additional tips to keep your aging cat healthy
Be sure to comb your cat’s hairs on a regular basis. This
stimulates blood flow and the secretion of oil from the sebaceous gland. Both
result in a healthy coat and skin. Keep nails short and trimmed.
Regular Tooth Brushing
Use a cat-specific tooth powder or paste to brush their
teeth. This is the best way to prevent dental issues. Dental disease is a
common occurrence in older cats, which can hinder their appetite, so regular
brushing is a good idea.
Most cats become obese or heavy as they get older. It’s
important to keep their weight within a healthy weight range. Speak to your
veterinarian about how much food to give your cat. Also, pick a food product specifically made for senior cats like the Royal Canin Senior Consult Feline dry cat food.
Environmental stress has a significant impact on older
cats as they are unable to adapt to such changes. If you’re moving or traveling
with your cat, carry familiar objects such as toys and blankets that they use.
It’s better to have your aging cat cared for in the home rather than being
transported during travel.
Avoid introducing new pets if you have a senior cat, as this can be very
traumatic for them. Sometimes situations like moving, traveling, etc. cannot be
avoided, which may require you to take your cat along. In such situations,
remember to give your cat a little more love and attention to prevent any