It seems like no animals have more personality than the older cats. We've adapted to (and may even enjoy) their independence and the ways they often run our lives. They make us smile and give us comfort. We never figure them out, but they've certainly got us trained!
Age is not a disease, but there are some conditions that we do need to manage.
The number one cause of death in older cats is kidney disease. As they age, cats begin to lose kidney function, meaning it can't remove toxins as efficiently. However, cats have to lose 80% of their kidney function before they'll show signs of disease. The damage cannot be reversed, so we can only improve the function they have left. Feeding them a low protein, high fiber diet can help stabilize the problem. Oral treatments like Azodyl™
slow down uremic toxin build up and help manage kidney disease. If these are used daily, you can ease the kidney's job of removing toxins from the blood.
Loss of Appetite:
Lack of appetite haunts old cats. The problem is a decreased or lost sense of smell, and cats won’t eat what they cannot smell. If they don’t eat, they lose weight. The solution is easy - just add smell to their diet. Add some Alaskan Salmon Oil
to their food, and the increased fish smell will get cats to eat. As a bonus, the fatty acids increase their skin and coat health. This is helpful because older cats are always fatty acid deficient, causing bleached out coats and rough hair. This rough hair coat leads to our next problem, grooming. Once you have them on food, you can add a daily care vitamin, like Doc Roy's® DAILY CARE FELINE
to their diet to help them recover.
Old cats don’t get lazy about grooming - they get overwhelmed. Hair becomes matted easier and contaminated with urine or feces, and soon they can't keep up. One solution to this is a sterile clip: clip up the rear to the tail, inside of the back legs and the tummy up to the front legs. The cat will groom just fine if you give them this help, and you won't be able to see it unless they lay upside down. Your cat may not like a body clip - we clipped a Himalayan off and she did not come out from under the bed for two weeks. It took another two weeks before she forgave us, but now she likes the sterile clip just fine. Clippers and blades
are inexpensive and easy to use. Cat hair is very fine, so use a clipper spray, like Oster® Kool Lube Spray
or Andis® Cool Care Plus®
, often to keep the blade sliding without pulling the hair or skin. If needed, you can clip all the hair off the body, but the sterile clip is preferred if possible.
Constipation is caused by lack of appetite and lack of colon function. This is complicated if the cat doesn't drink much water, which is also common in geriatric cats. In most cats, Grizzly Salmon Oil™
will alleviate the constipation, but others need added fiber in the diet as well. However, added fiber will increase the litter box odor. Laxatone®
is a good laxative treatment and also helps with hairballs. If they are not water drinkers, increased fluids also help, and you can add electrolytes
, like Rebound® OES
, to the water to help with the dehydration.
Bladder infections usually happen in male cats, and they seem to be more prone when they have constipation issues. Amoxicillin
is a good antibiotic for bladder issues. However, as cats age, it's better to try and prevent the issue rather than treating it. Cranberry supplements, such as Doc Roy's® CRANBERRY EXTRA
or Doc Roy's® POTASSIUM CITRATE + CRANBERRY
, are helpful for preventing bladder infections and stones, and most are chicken flavored, so cats eat them well.
Kind of Old Cat:
We can't forget about the people with the “kind of old” cat. These owners are starting to pick up their cat is aging and not as perfect as when they were younger, and they want to prevent or reverse any possible issues.
- Supplement their diet with vitamins. Though there are plenty in the diet, the middle-aged cat often loses the ability to absorb adequate amounts. Doc Roy’s® DAILY CARE FELINE is excellent and comes in a granular form that makes it easy to use on the food.
- For matted coat cats - Sterile clip them and it makes it easier to prevent matted coats, keeping the long-haired cat happy.
- Use fatty acids, like Doc Roy's® TRI OMEGA 3, at low levels for better coats and grooming. Without adequate amounts of fatty acids, shedding hair gets caught up in the coat rather than falling out. The coat mats and becomes difficult to brush, making for an unpleasant experience. The hair will also go from deep orange to blonde when fatty acids are deficient, so supplementation will keep hair healthy. Cats love the Grizzly Salmon Oil™, it's easy to use, plus the oil will prevent hairball formation as well.
- As they groom, hairballs become inevitable. You can treat them with Laxatone® twice a week, or use Salmon Oil to prevent the need for Laxatone® all together.
- After we treat the hair balls, we need to consider their diet. Be sure you do not give them extra meat or foods with high protein. Cats require a high fat diet - a high protein diet causes kidney issues. If your cat keeps throwing up, fat can aid digestion and help cats with GI upset, so there's less throwing up. Use Salmon Oils for digestion, to keep their appetite up and also relieve hair balls.
By keeping in mind your cat's changing physical and nutritional needs, you can ensure that they live out their golden years the happiest they can be!
The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of a qualified veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical
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