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Taking An Older Cat To Your Lapel, IN Veterinarian

March 15, 2024

Is your kitty a senior? Our feline friends often reach senior status at the age of eleven. They tend to age gracefully, so you should expect subtle rather than dramatic changes in your pet’s appearance and demeanor. Cats, like elderly people, require more frequent visits to the veterinarian as they age. Read on as a Lapel, IN veterinarian offers some tips on taking Fluffy in to see her doctor. 

What Veterinary Care Do Older Cats Need?

That depends on the kitty! Health care is just as important for pets as it is for people. Kitties can’t tell us if something is wrong, so those evaluations are absolutely critical. 

There’s also a lot to be said for diagnosing and treating illnesses as early as possible. If you notice any potential signs of illness, bring her in ASAP. Delaying a visit may only make things worse for both you and your feline buddy. Medication can effectively treat or control a wide range of medical conditions. However, the sooner an issue is diagnosed, the better! 

What Will Happen During My Senior Cat’s Appointment? 

Fluffy’s routine exam and wellness check will likely be much like her previous appointments. Your veterinarian will examine your furry pal and take note of your kitty’s vital signs, such as her pulse and breathing. They will also tell you if Fluffy needs any immunizations or boosters. Your furball may require some additional tests or panels, depending on how old she is and any signs of illness she has. 

Of course, if you are bringing your feline pal in for urgent care, the nature of the visit will be determined by her condition and symptoms.

How Should An Elderly Cat Be Transported?

We strongly advise using crates or carriers when traveling with pets. This is to ensure both Fluffy’s safety and your own. This is particularly important for older cats. Many senior pets suffer from arthritis and other age-related conditions, which can cause stiffness or discomfort. 

A hardshell carrier is great for preventing inadvertent bumps and jostles. Adding soft bedding and a few familiar things, such as a toy or catnip, can make the carrier more comfortable for Fluffy. 

Be very gentle when handling an older kitty! Make sure Fluffy’s weight is appropriately supported, and be very gentle picking her up and putting her down. 

When Will My Kitty Become A Senior?

Cats normally reach their senior years around the age of eleven. However, it is becoming quite normal for our feline buddies to live into their teens or even twenties. An 11-year-old cat may still be lively and energetic, with many more years of pouncing and purrs ahead of her! 

Your feline buddy will be deemed geriatric around the age of 15. At this point, Fluffy may start to develop health issues. 

Keep in mind that not all felines age in the same way. Some may seem purrfectly fine one day, and then deteriorate dramatically the next. Others develop health problems more subtly over time. While your Lapel, IN veterinarian should of course be the best source of information on your cat’s health, you should also keep an eye on Fluffy and look for any signs of trouble. These cues may be subtle, so stay alert.

How Do You Know If Your Senior Cat Is Sick?

Pay close attention to Fluffy, and watch for signs that something is off! It is important to note that cats sometimes try to hide symptoms of illness. 

Here are some of the things that you should be on the lookout for: 

  • Change In Weight
  • Change In The Frequency Of Urination
  • Change In Appetite
  • Grumpiness
  • Stiffness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 
  • Increase In Thirst
  • Problems With The Litter Box 
  • Respiratory Issues 
  • Messy Fur
  • Changes In Behavior Or Vocalizations

Additionally, watch for behavioral changes. Some older cats meow loudly, while others become extremely quiet. Fluffy may seem more or less affectionate than she once was.

Lethargy is another warning side. Then again, it’s also a life goal for Fluffy. While excessive sleeping could be a red flag with other animals, it’s common for senior cats to spend a rather exorbitant amount of time snoozing. Fluffy can sleep for up to 20 hours a day! If your furry pal just doesn’t want to be roused, even for meals, she could be sick.

How Often Should I Take My Senior Kitty To The Lapel, IN Veterinarian?

Fluffy’s age, health, and lifestyle will all influence the answer to this one. It is normally recommended that older cats be seen at least once a year. However, if your kitty has medical issues, she will likely require more frequent appointments. Geriatric kitties also often need biannual appointments. 

Ask your vet to recommend an appointment schedule. 

What Are Some Senior Cat Health Problems?

Just like humans, kitties are prone to health difficulties as they age. Some of the common ones we see in cats include the following:

  • Kidney Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Cancer, 
  • Heart Problems 
  • Liver Disease 
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
  • Cognitive Decay

If you know what breed your feline buddy is, conduct some breed research. If you don’t, consider doing a cat DNA test. While any kitty can develop any of these illnesses, some breeds are more likely than others to develop specific ones.

How Can I Make Appointments Easier for My Senior Cat?

It’s probably safe to say that your feline pal won’t be thrilled about having to come in. Fluffy often prefers to stay at home, and usually does not appreciate having her napping schedule disrupted. Then there’s the dreaded car ride.

That said, there are several things you can do to make the trip less traumatic for your kitty. Providing a comfortable carrier is first and foremost.  

If you can, try to schedule the visit during a less crowded period at the clinic. While emergencies can happen at any time, some days and times just tend to be busier than others. You may want to ask about this when scheduling the appointment. 

Even if Fluffy complains all the way to the office and all the way home, keeping her healthy is the most important thing. Your main objective should be to keep Fluffy happy and comfortable for as long as possible! Your feline pal may not react if you tell her it’s for her own good, but she will appreciate the benefits of good care. 

Give your kitty a treat or a new toy when you get home. After a good nap or ten, she’ll forget all about it! 

How Can I Comfort My Senior Cat?

There are things you can do at home to keep your adorable companion happy, healthy, and purring in her golden years. 

  • Providing high-quality kitty food, a comfortable living environment, and a clean litterbox will all help keep that motor going.  
  • You can also make your place more senior-friendly by making small adjustments, such as setting out pet ramps or steps for Fluffy and getting night lights for after dark. 
  • Playing is also important, and will benefit your furry pal both mentally and physically. It’s also cute! 

Last but not least: just make sure your pet feels loved and safe. Senior cat purrs are precious! 

Do you have questions about caring for a senior cat? Do you need to schedule an appointment for your kitty buddy? Please contact us, your Lapel, IN veterinarian clinic, at any time.