As cat owners become more aware of their pets' health, cats are living longer than ever. Thanks to sophisticated veterinarian tactics and rigorous vaccination, cats are enjoying longer and healthier lives—just like people. Studies show that the "graying" cat population has nearly doubled over the past decade, and there's no reason to think that this trend will end soon.
Is your aging cat receiving the care that he or she needs? Like elderly humans, aging cats need special care and nutrition to stay healthy. Here are some tips to keep your older cat feeling great.
Understanding Cat Aging
To know how old your cat is, look at more than just how many years they've been alive. With dogs, we use the common metric of seven years to every human year. With cats, however, the reality is more complicated. A one-year-old cat has about the equivalent maturity and physiology to a 16-year-old human while a two-year-old cat is closer to a 21-year-old person. From there on, cats age at about four years to every one human year. Thus, your ten-year-old cat is equal to about a 50-year-old human, while a 15-year-old cat is closer to a human of 73.
As cats age, certain physical and behavioral signs will clue you in. Watch out for:
- Lowered immune system
- Less elastic skin
- Less efficient grooming, something leading to hair matting and inflammation
- Thick and brittle claws
- Senility: wandering, disorientation, less social interaction
- Dental disease
Keeping Your Aging Cat Healthy
The best way to keep your elderly cat healthy is to bring him or her into a pet wellness clinic for regular check-ups. On a regular basis, you can also aid your cat in everyday healthy by:
- Brushing his or her fur regularly
- Keeping up with proper nutrition and changing diet as necessary for aging teeth
- Engaging your cat in moderate play to promote exercise
- Keeping stress at a minimum
For more information about keeping your cat healthy, contact us today.