From weight loss to diabetes, there are some common but treatable conditions your senior cat may suffer from. Find out what they are and how you can support your cat’s health here.
Unfortunately, older cats (over 10 years old) are more likely to suffer from multiple diseases and a gradual loss of the efficiency of their bodily functions as they get older. Nevertheless, with the right mix of diet, medical support and environmental changes, these common ailments can be alleviated.
Loss of mobility in older cats
Older cats often suffer from arthritis and joint pain as their joints and cartilage wear down over the years. This leads to less mobility, your cat will e.g. more unsteady on her feet, has trouble jumping or even trouble grooming herself properly as she is less mobile. Also, if you have sensitive joints, she may be less willing to engage in play or come to you when you call her, as it may be painful for her to move.
Proper nutrition can help take care of your cat’s joints. So wears z. For example, the intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in the feed helps to keep the joints healthy. Nutrients like chondroitin and glucosamine also support the health of your cartilage.
You can also support your older cat by adding ramps to higher spots she prefers to perch on, swapping out her higher-entry litter box for an easier-to-access one with flatter sides, and making her sleeping space more comfortable.
Aging cats and diabetes
Diabetes mellitus occurs in about 1 in 200 cats, particularly in older cats, with the incidence increasing sharply after the age of seven and being directly related to obesity. Therefore, one of the best ways to protect your cat from contracting this disease is to make sure she maintains a healthy body weight.
In diabetic cats, cells do not respond properly to insulin, which in some cases means their body doesn’t produce enough insulin for the metabolism of sugar to function properly. This means they have to be injected with insulin, usually once or twice a day. A combination of insulin therapy and a change in diet – to a food high in protein but low in carbohydrates – is then often prescribed.
Symptoms of diabetes in older cats include excessive urination and urine volume, increased thirst and hunger, and a tendency to become overweight. If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, be sure to see your veterinarian.
Older cats and weight loss
Weight loss is a very common but non-specific symptom in older cats. Therefore, it is important to make an appointment with your veterinarian if you notice your cat is losing weight. He can determine the probable cause and prescribe appropriate treatment.
Some systemic diseases where weight loss is a symptom include chronic kidney disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland), and inflammatory bowel disease. Your older cat may also have lost weight because their appetite has decreased. This can have the following causes:
- They find it painful to eat because of dental problems
- Worsening of smell and taste, reducing appetite
- Digestive disorders that prevent nutrients in food from being properly absorbed
Your vet can advise you on the cause of your cat’s weight loss and how to proceed. However, you can also try feeding her a lighter textured food that she may find easier to eat, or heating the food so that the food’s flavor is enhanced, which can stimulate appetite.
This condition is common in older cats. However, this does not necessarily mean that they suffer from pain or stress. See your vet if you think your cat is suffering. He can advise you.