Research over the last few years has shown that the ageing process can affect cats and dogs health once they reach 8 years of age and their dietary requirements change. The effects of this process can often be very subtle, but can be picked up at an early stage, giving you the opportunity to maintain your pet’s quality of life.
With this is mind why not come and join St Anne’s Older Pet Club.
Coming to the club would allow one of our qualified veterinary nurses to run through preventative health care for your pet, to discuss any concerns you may have and help you to keep them fit for life!
The consultation includes:
- A health check
- A senior pack containing some great advice leaflets
- A free urine screening test to look for any signs of renal disease or diabetes
- A discount if a follow on vet appointment is needed
When you live with your pet day in day out it’s quite difficult to notice subtle changes in their condition. It is easy to dismiss important changes as 'just getting old'. One of our Vet nurses can help you to recognise and understand these signs and help you to manage the transition to the senior phase of your pet’s life. It would be a great help if you could fill out the older pet club questionnaire prior to the appointment by clicking here and bringing it along with you to the appointment.
If you would like to make an appointment then please call reception on 01323 640011 and ask for an older pet club appointment.
Caring for the Older Cat
Ageing is not a disease; it is a natural normal life process. It is however, accompanied by wear and tear on the body. Today with the advances in Veterinary medicine, improvements in nutrition, vaccination and our own understanding of excellence in pet ownership and medical care, our cats are living longer.
When is my cat considered to be elderly?
Life expectancy in cats ranges from breed to breed, genetic influences, lifestyle and surprisingly; we should start to manage the ageing process in our cats earlier than we once thought. As described above, wear and tear and the bodies deceasing ability to repair itself, accompany ageing. However, it is not all bad news, because we now understand when the ageing process starts to affect our cat’s health, we can start to minimise the progressive deterioration and maintain or improve our cat’s quality of life.
As a rule, an elderly preventative medicine regime could begin from the age of seven.
What can I do to help my ageing cat?
- Fortunately, we can assist our cat through his golden years in many ways, and it is much easier to care for the older cat than the older human. Below is a list of tips you may wish to follow for your older cat.
- Respect, by all members of the family including other pets and children, do not allow them to bother your older cat, her patience may be wearing thin and she could become less tolerant as she gets older. If your cat's sight and hearing is deteriorating, do stick to her normal routine, do not move furniture around and keep her feeding routine to a regular time and place each day.
- Regular exercise is important to maintain bone strength and muscle tone, however your cat may have a locomotive problem such as arthritis, degenerative joint disease or just have difficulty on standing up, if this is the case you may have to adjust limit her access outside. Speak to the vet, who will advise you.
- Be understanding of them if they do fail to respond to you, hear you, or have little accidents.
- Keep their bedding comfortable or warm, if they are used to sleeping outside on hard concrete surfaces, consider bringing them indoors on softer bedding, they are more prone to developing sores, or hard callous on their joints such as elbows or hocks, these can become extremely painful or ulcerated.
- Keep them clean and groomed more regularly, as they may have difficulties in grooming themselves. It is also an ideal time to notice any changes or abnormalities.
- Keep their nails; trimmed short, you may have to have them clipped more regularly. Even cats who have never had their claws cut before, may need it when they get older. As cats age, so do their ligaments and they lose their ability to retract their claws. This means they can get them caught in fluffy rugs and bedding etc.
Preventative health care programmes
- You have the opportunity to work with us, to establish a preventative health care programme for your cat. Properly applied, a preventative health care programme can lessen existing problems of ageing, slow or prevent disease processes and add high-quality years to your cat's life.
- The measures we can take ourselves to support our cats in their older years are:
- Take him or her for a regular check up at the veterinary practice, at least twice a year.
- Keep their vaccinations up to date, their immune response starts to decline in later years, so upkeep of vaccinations is just as important as early on in their lives.
- Regular teeth cleaning, scaling and polishing, to help prevent against bad breath and dental disease - See dental care It is also useful to use the following checklist to monitor any changes in your cat’s health status. Take this along to the Veterinary Surgeon with a urine sample when you attend any appointment, to assist them in the programme.
Nutrition for the older cat
Nutrition plays a vital part of the process of preventative health and commercially produced foods contain more than the adequate levels of all of the essential nutrients needed by normal cats. In fact, cats, fed commercial foods are consuming anywhere between three-to-five times their daily protein requirement, three times the daily calcium requirement and phosphorus requirement and ten times the daily requirement of salt. The older cat, on the other hand would benefit from a diet with reduced levels of protein, calcium, phosphorus and sodium. This kind of diet may be helpful in the onset of clinical diseases common in older pets.
Also keep a close eye on your cat's weight, as cats grow older, they are more prone to weight gain due to a reduction in exercise and their ability to metabolise energy is reduced. Speak to the Vet who will advise you on the correct food for your cat at her stage of life.