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Cats over ten years of age are considered aging pets. Just like humans, your cat, too, is susceptible to diseases resulting from advancing age. Common old age-related diseases can be managed through dietary changes and timely medical care.
Here are some diseases that your aging cat is susceptible to:
Arthritis is a common disease in aged cats. However, symptoms of arthritis are often mistaken by owners for symptoms of advancing age and are left untreated.
If you notice your cat being less active on her feet than before, look for these additional signs:
- Reduced mobility
- Difficulty in accessing perches and elevated areas
- Unsteady gait
- Sleepier than before
- Difficulty in performing routine activities such as jumping, running and playing
- Not as inclined to self-groom as before
The listed symptoms are a result of joint pain and reduced flexibility resulting from arthritis.
The risk of diabetes increases in cats aged above seven years. The risk is also higher for obese cats and those that do not get sufficient exercise. In cats suffering from diabetes, the body fails to produce the amount of insulin required to maintain their blood glucose levels. As a result, these cats need insulin injections, which are administered once or twice every day.
Diabetes can be put in remission (complete or temporary decrease in disease symptoms) if it is detected early and treatment is started immediately. In case reduction occurs, your cat will not need insulin injections.
Watch out for symptoms such as excessive urination, increase in urine quantity, and abnormal thirst and appetite.
In cats suffering from hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland produces more thyroid hormone than required. As a result, there can be changes in your cat’s physical condition. Though symptoms may vary, watch out for the following:
- Visible decrease in weight despite an abnormally high appetite
- Abnormal thirst
- Increased urine volume
Dental diseases such as plaque, tartar, gingivitis, periodontal disease, and gum infections are common to cats of all ages. But older cats are more susceptible to the effects of these dental diseases given their age. Symptoms such as tooth pain can make your cat reluctant to consume food, which in turn affects his weight.
As cats age, their kidneys can become less efficient in filtering waste products produced by their bodily functions. As a result, the waste gets accumulated in the blood, which leads to a condition called azotemia.
Watch out for symptoms, including an increase in thirst and quantity of urine outflow, vomiting, loss of appetite, and weight loss, as they may indicate kidney problems.
Cats have a natural tendency to hide their sickness. It can be difficult to detect early signs of diseases in your aging cat, given this reason. The best way to manage your cat’s health as it ages is to increase the frequency of your vet visits. Increase your vet visits to twice a year. A vet typically performs a full-body examination. He or she may also recommend urine and blood tests, X-rays, if need be.