Cats are very long-lived pets, but it is important that they are in perfect health even when they are elderly: here are the most well-known symptoms of old age in cats.
Thanks to the continuous advances in veterinary medicine, it is not uncommon for cats to be able to live even 12 years and beyond: among the longest-lived pets that we can choose to adopt in the family, older cats need specific care in the nutritional and non-nutritional fields. alone.
This is why it is important to learn to recognize the unequivocal signs that our cat is starting to get older: at the first symptoms of old age in cats, in fact, it is important to adjust the diet, the daily care routine and many small and large aspects that are more suited to the lifestyle of a senior cat.
In this article, you will find out which signs you need to learn to recognize to understand if your cat is aging in order to know immediately how to intervene.
10 symptoms of old age in cats that you must know how to recognize
As anticipated, the cat can live up to 12 years without major problems and even more: some aspects significantly affect the longevity of cats ranging from having followed a diet based on high quality food, to having been sterilized in good time when young. According to some estimates, neutered females would live 39% longer while this percentage even rises to 62% when it comes to male cats.
Conventionally, cats begin to be considered elderly around 8/10 years of age: a series of factors such as the presence of chronic diseases, genetics and the type of veterinary care that the animal has to affect this term converge. received in his lifetime. But how can we tell if our cat has officially become old? Here are 10 unmistakable signs of aging in cats.
1. Reduction of mobility
Some reduction in mobility in older cats may be considered normal, but if the slowdown in activity and the decrease in the cat’s ability to move is important it could indicate a condition that causes pain such as osteoarthritis or arthritis. widespread in almost all cats over 12 years of age.
Some signs of osteoarthritis or arthritis are obvious: beware, for example, of the cat that has difficulty climbing or descending stairs or jumping up and down from furniture. If you notice symptoms of this type, contact your veterinarian who will proceed with an x-ray to make the diagnosis.
If your cat has osteoarthritis, you may be interested in our in-depth study on how to help older cats struggling with pain.
2. Weight loss
Weight loss is typical of older cats: weight loss is in this case linked to some diseases typical of old age. For example, if your cat suffers from kidney failure or hyperthyroidism, it may tend to lose weight. Osteoarthritis also causes weight loss because it reduces the animal’s muscle mass. If your senior cat is losing weight, ask your vet to have blood and urine tests.
Diseases of the oral cavity are particularly common in cats of all ages and in particular in those that have already turned 3 years old. Cleaning the teeth is essential from when the cat is still a puppy and serves to prevent the appearance of plaque and tartar, the main responsible for various problems including bad breath in cats.
In addition, bad breath can be a symptom of more serious problems: if it is accompanied by red gums, accumulations of tartar and tooth loss it is likely that there is a dental disease such as feline periodontitis. To prevent these diseases, it is advisable to have your cat’s teeth checked by the vet at least once a year.
4. Character changes
If your cat behaves differently than usual, showing itself much more grumpy, it is likely that it is aging: there are typical diseases of older cats such as hyperthyroidism that involve changes in the animal’s character for which even the most docile cats they can become aggressive or nervous.
5. The cat meows more and appears confused
Other behaviors that can be counted among the symptoms of aging in cats are an increase in vocalization, especially if the older cat meows a lot more during the night , and some confusion accompanied by disorientation. These two signs are symptoms of Feline Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, a condition similar to human senile dementia.
6. Blurred eyes
When a cat is older in age, it often happens to notice a sort of veil in front of both eyes: this condition, apparently similar to cataracts, is called lenticular sclerosis. The problem of “clouded eyes” does not significantly compromise the cat’s visual ability, however it is good to subject cats to eye examination as they approach the age of 9: if the cat falls ill with cataracts, in fact, they could be some specific medications or surgery needed.
7. Loss of vision
Older cats can suffer partial or total loss of vision, which leads them to complete blindness: this signal can be a symptom of a serious disease, such as hypertension. High blood pressure, in fact, leads to the detachment of the retina which causes the animal to lose sight.
The signs to watch out for to understand if your cat is going blind are: tendency to bump into objects, dilation of the pupils and difficulty moving around the house. If you manage to intervene promptly, you could at least partially recover the visual impairment.
8. The cat drinks too much
Cats love water very much, especially running water: this is one of the main reasons why cats like to drink from the tap. If you notice over the years that your cat’s water bowl needs to be refilled much more often than before, this is likely a sign of old age.
In fact, older cats tend to develop health problems that see increased thirst as one of the main symptoms: for example, diabetes, hyperthyroidism and chronic kidney disease. These diseases can be diagnosed with a blood test and be kept under control with some precautions and ad hoc drugs.
9. Frequent urination and needs outside the litter box
As the cat gets older, it is common for them to start peeing more often, with the risk of urinating even outside the litter box: this feline incontinence is typical of elderly cats because it is usually linked to kidney disorders or urinary tract infections, more common when the cat is over the years.
10. Changes in appetite
The aging cat can change its relationship with food: however, we must be very careful to observe the general picture and report all useful information to the veterinarian.
For example, if your cat is hungrier than usual but is losing weight, it is possible that she has a disease such as hyperthyroidism or cancer.
If the cat is suddenly overweight, he may have diabetes. Cats that eat less than usual may have got kidney disease, have dental problems, or are struggling with cancer. Find our article on the subject here to learn more about the other symptoms of cancer in cats.