Taking care of an elderly cat requires specific attention: here are the three stages of cat old age and what problems they entail in the life of the cat.
When a cat turns 10 years of age it officially enters the old age phase, which today fortunately lasts much longer than it once did thanks to advances in veterinary medicine: an elderly cat today can reach 20 years without major problems, however. it is undeniable that with the passage of time some ailments and age problems arise that require special attention.
A cat’s old age can be divided into three stages: 10 to 12 years, 13 to 15 years, and 16 years onwards. In each phase, the elderly cat will undergo specific changes, health problems and needs for which it is better to be adequately prepared: in this article we analyze the three phases of the cat’s old age with the specific care and needs of an elderly cat age by age.
The stages of feline old age and the care of the elderly cat
Elderly cat, needs and care from 10 to 12 years
Cats that have completed their first 10 years of age begin to experience some changes and ailments typical of the first phase of old age: the first signs that will be possible to notice concern the habitual behaviors of the cat.
From the age of 10 it is possible that the elderly cat has less energy, is less agile and snappy and will begin to climb less frequently in those high places that cats love so much. He will tend to rest more than usual and will not always get up to run to meet the owner when the latter returns home.
Furthermore, older cats are even more sensitive to changes in their routines and can be much more stressed than young cats if there is something new in their daily habits. An older cat also becomes more fearful (due to loud noises or unfamiliar people, for example) and tends to meow a lot more.
Compared to physical health and typical pathologies of old age, cats up to 12 years old are at risk of getting arthritis, feline diabetes, kidney disease or thyroid problems. To help him feel better, it is essential to intervene as soon as possible: this is why an elderly cat must undergo regular visits to the vet every two years, making sure to communicate any changes glimpsed in our feline friend.
Elderly cat, needs and care from 13 to 15 years
From 13 years of age onwards, the cat’s old age becomes a little more complex because the cat develops a series of physical and behavioral changes that must be carefully considered and addressed with the right care.
From a behavioral point of view, the elderly cat between 13 and 15 years becomes even less active and tends to sleep more and more.
In families with children or for those who have other animals in the house, but more generally by observing the now elderly kitten, it will be possible to notice a tendency to be more often alone: the elderly cat needs tranquility and it is essential to teach children and other younger animals of the house to interact with him more calmly and patiently.
Kitty will also need a warmer, padded and quieter kennel because he will often feel the need to retreat to where he feels protected and safe: nevertheless, the cat during old age needs so much cuddling and interacting with its human family, so you will need to dedicate some time each day to be in his company.
With regard to the typical pathologies of the elderly cat, often a cat that is over 13 years of age risks incurring problems related to sight and hearing: therefore, pay attention to the signs that could indicate a blind cat or a deaf cat.
Old age can also cause senile dementia in the cat: be careful to report all the useful information during the periodic veterinary visit. It is also essential that the veterinarian carry out blood, urine and feces tests on the cat for a complete checkup.
Feline old age, needs and care from 16 years onwards
If you are lucky enough to have your cat with you even after the age of 16, you must realize that such an old cat is equivalent to an 80-year-old man: for this it is essential to give him the necessary care and love to his well-being in what will be the last years of his life.
The elderly cat over 16 years will always be slower and clumsy in movements, at times it will seem confused and unresponsive, it will sleep a lot and will almost certainly meow more than before: even if it will seek less interaction with its family, it must never be left too much alone because in old age it is essential to give him a lot of love and security.
A cat in old age may have difficulty reaching the litter box, presenting some episodes of feline incontinence: we must not reproach it, but treat it with a lot of patience and a lot of love. Pay attention at this stage to observe any possible changes or behavior that could be a symptom of pain in the cat: these animals tend to hide when they suffer and you may not notice a pathology.
During the visit to the vet, it is important to communicate symptoms and signs such as increased or decreased thirst, loss of appetite or increased appetite, constipation or incontinence, aggressive behavior, breathing and movement difficulties.
To make your cat happy in the last years of his life, get him a comfortable and warm kennel to put in a quiet place in the house, with some of his favorite toys always at hand.