Many cats begin to experience age-related physical changes between the ages of seven and ten, and most do so when they are 12. The widespread belief that every cat year is worth seven human years isn't entirely accurate. As a general rule, we think that cats over 10 years old are older and, at that time, they could be affected by serious age-related medical problems. If you keep your cat slim, that will keep them healthier for longer. As pet parents, we spend every day with our feline friends, so the signs of aging in cats can be subtle or difficult to recognize.
But these ten signs may indicate that your cat is approaching the stage of life of old age and could indicate that it's time to reevaluate how you care for it. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should take your cat to a vet. Your vet may recommend taking x-rays to help confirm the diagnosis of arthritis. Treatment options for arthritis in cats include weight loss (if the cat is overweight), nutritional supplements, prescription diets, and prescription medications.
If your cat appears thinner or thicker than normal, it may be due to weight loss. As cats age, they may lose muscle mass due to arthritis. Chronic kidney disease and hyperthyroidism are other conditions that are commonly diagnosed in older cats and that often lead to weight loss. If you notice that your cat is losing weight, you need to go to the vet for an examination and blood and urine tests to determine the cause.
Signs of dental disease include bad breath, red gums, tartar buildup, and tooth loss. Most cat parents won't notice a change in eating habits until a very serious dental disease occurs. Having your cat examined by a veterinarian at least once a year and performing daily dental care at home will help prevent dental diseases and treat them before they become too painful. Any change in appetite could mean that your cat is aging.
Increased hunger along with weight loss is a common symptom of hyperthyroidism or cancer. In an overweight cat, these symptoms would be worrying for diabetes. Because the signs of the disease can be very subtle, if your cat doesn't seem right to you, be careful and make an appointment for a veterinary exam as soon as possible. If you get used to giving your cat a regular general checkup, you'll have an idea of what's normal and will be more likely to notice minor problems before they turn into major health problems.
If your cat won't eat for more than 24 hours, or if you notice any breathing problems, straining the litter box, or eye abnormalities, seek veterinary care right away. If you have any questions or concerns about your cat's health, visit or call your vet's office, as it is your best and most reliable resource for ensuring the well-being and health of your pet. As with humans, the aging process is an individual experience and different cats will show signs of aging at different times. However, in general, your cat's body will start showing the first signs of the cat's aging at the cellular level at the age of seven, but you may not see the external signs until your cat is older.
When your cat is considered an “older adult” at age 11, the cells in its body slow down and its body functions are less effective, including the digestive tract and immune system. Cats may experience changes in bowel and toilet habits as they age, including constipation. Make sure your cat always has access to fresh water. Older cats aren't necessarily at the end of their life, they're just learning to live it differently, so you and your cat still have plenty of time to do all the things between humans and cats that their best friends like to do.
When cats get older, you don't want to have a big, tall litter box that's hard for them to get in and out of. But how do you know that your cat is aging and is approaching its golden years? Let's look at the definition of old age in cats and some subtle signs that your cat is aging. McCalley is passionate about fear-free medicine, home veterinary care, preventive medicine, and educating her clients on the best way to keep their pets healthy. .