Just as improved diet and medical care have resulted in increased life expectancy in humans, advances in nutrition and veterinary care have increased the life span of pet cats. The result is a growing population of aging cats; it is estimated that 20% of pet cats are 11 years of age or older.
Cats reach the ‘senior’ life stage at 7-10, and the ‘geriatric’ life stage at the age of 10-25. Now, it is not unusual for cats to live in to their late teens and even into their 20’s (a cat becomes the equivalent of a centenarian at 21 years old!).
For these kitties, it is now generally accepted that ‘healthy aging’ is achievable, just as it is in humans, where ‘wellness’ is dedicated to optimizing mental, social and physical health and function.
What does healthy aging actually look like in a cat? What changes would be considered ‘normal for age’ as opposed to deteriorative ‘not normal’ changes?
To answer these questions, a groundbreaking issue of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery has been published this month devoted to the subject ‘feline healthy aging’.
It published information on common changes observed in aging cats from musculoskeletal system health, to cognitive and behavioral health.
Disorientation, interaction (with their humans or other housemates) changes, sleep/wake disturbances, house-soiling and changes in activity are all changes that indicate trouble.
Our doctors recommend examinations every 6 months for senior and geriatric pets. These visits are crucial to helping you, help your cat age gracefully. Schedule your appointment today.