Pet Doc with Nikki Burdine: Taking care of your older cat

Weekend Extra

For today’s Pet Doc we are in the cat room, talking about cats, specifically older cats, what you need to look out for and when you actually need to call your veterinarian.  

Nikki Burdine:  Dr. Staci Cannon with Metro Animal Care and Control, what do people need to know if they have an older cat?  

Dr. Cannon:  So cats actually can live into their late teens, with good preventative health care and veterinary exams they can have pretty long lives.  

As cats get older, some of the most common things we start to see are issues with their kidneys. They can also develop diabetes just like people, and sometimes they can also develop a thyroid condition that can make them lose weight.

A few different things that can happen just internally, there may not be any external signs. They may still act the same. 

Things to watch for you might start to notice and prompt you to take them to the veterinarian if your older cat is drinking more water or if you see them at the water bowl more frequently.  

Especially if they use the litter box you might notice there is more urine output in the litter box, that’s a good sign something could be changing internally and needs to be checked out.  We see that with kidney disease but also diabetes where they are drinking and urinating more.

Other things you might see are weight loss. So, if they may be eating a little bit less or something may have changed with their metabolism where they are eating the same or even more, they may be ravenous but they may be losing weight.  

If you are petting them and you start to notice, huh, they feel a little bony or if you can tell they have lost weight, that’s definitely an indicator to have them checked out by your veterinarian.  

Other things we can see sometimes are changes in their GI Tract, they can develop inflammatory bowel disease as they get older.  So a lot of the same things we hear about with people.  And certainly, older cats are at risk of developing certain types of cancer as well.  

But those things can be treated and managed by your veterinarian, so it’s important for your older cats to have annual check-ups.  

Nikki:  And older cats can still make really great pets.  Specifically, I want to show off this 10-year-old guy right here.  Here he is, this one right here.  This is ‘lil bit.  He is the sweetest guy.  He’s 10-years-old.  He’s being shy and he’s looking for his forever home right now.  You’re being shy, we’ll get him to come out here in a little bit. Lil bit is up for adoption
 

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