If you share your life with a pet, you should know that the years also have an effect on them and that the more years they accumulate, the greater the care provided to them.
The cat, of course, is not the exception, since it has a much lower average life span than us, approximately over 12 years, it is convenient to be attentive to the changes it is experiencing.
But how to notice that our cat is getting old?
Over the years, your pet’s soft, shiny hair may turn a bit more gray in color than it used to be, and you may notice some whiter hairs around his eyes, that’s normal. But do not attribute any other changes you notice in your feline companion to the fact that he is already getting old.
With proper care, many of the common age-related problems can be successfully treated, or their progression slowed. Here’s what to watch out for:
Behavioral changes when brushing
Your cat may need a little more help to keep looking and smelling good as he ages. Why? Cats lose the flexibility to bend and may lose interest in cleaning and licking themselves, causing their coat to become dirty or look “greasy.” Also, your cat’s claws will wear less as she walks and climbs less, so she’ll need your help to trim them more often.
You can help your pet with daily brushing and nail trimming when necessary. Brushing reduces the amount of loose hair you have and therefore swallow when licking, this helps reduce the formation of hairballs in your intestine. Regular cleansing sessions will give you the perfect opportunity to detect any lumps, bumps, parasites, or non-healing lesions and take the most appropriate health measures in due course.
With a good diet, regular brushing, and a bath from time to time, your cat will be bright and healthy, and she will love that you pay attention to her and spend more time with you.
As they grow older, some cats begin to lick excessively, this compulsive behavior may be related to stress or boredom. The downside is that you won’t be able to tell the moment he licks or bites his skin when you’re gone. An obvious sign is a thinning of the coat on the back. In advanced cases, you can also see hairless areas on the abdomen and legs.
Cats do not lose their hair with age, so you should take it to the vet if your cat has a thinner coat or hairless patches. He will check your pet for parasites, chronic illnesses, or behavior problems.
If your cat has an abnormal discharge or a bad smell coming from the nose, eyes, mouth, ears, perianal area, it could be a sign of an infection. If you see pus or blood on your pet, it is best to take it immediately to the Veterinarian.
Cats can vomit or have diarrhea if they eat something that is spoiled or due to a hairball. This intestinal discomfort can dehydrate your pet more quickly and can be a sign of serious diseases such as kidney disease, pancreatic disease, inflammatory bowel disease, among others. Keep the vet informed if the problem is serious or recurring.
Changes in breathing
Your cat’s breathing pattern and speed can tell a lot about the health of her lungs and whether she is comfortable. Healthy cats have between 20 and 40 breaths per minute when they are at rest.
Breathing fast or panting could mean your pet is in pain, has a fever, or is suffering from respiratory illnesses. And if you have trouble breathing or cannot settle into sleep, it can indicate such serious problems as congestive heart failure or fluid around the lungs from infection.
Coughing can also be a sign of trouble. Your pet may cough if he has inflamed airways or heart disease. If you see signs of health problems related to breathing, visit the Veterinarian for a general physical exam.
Mouth and teeth problems
Animals of all ages can have bad breath, but in reality, it is not normal, since the cat’s mouth is practically odorless. A bad smell can mean that your cat has health problems, including periodontal disease, cavities or fractures, ulcers, abscesses, or systemic disease, such as kidney disease.
The cat will try to remove with its hands if it has a foreign body caught in its mouth or gums and may reject food if its mouth is sore. On the other hand, not eating enough due to pain or discomfort in the mouth, can put you at risk of other health problems such as liver lipidosis or fatty liver; the situation for which you should call the veterinarian if your cat refuses more than one food.
Keep in mind that older cats are more prone to dental disease and oral tumors than young cats, so they may need more frequent dental cleanings and treatments and a premium diet, and special treats that can help reduce tartar buildup.
If your cat has lost a lot of teeth and is having trouble chewing, she may need a semi-moist or canned food that will be easier to chew and digest to help maintain ideal body weight.