Older cats health issues will creep into your cat the same way that they will with you, and there are several different issues that are common in older cats.
As most any cat lover knows, your cat will suddenly hit that mythical eight to nine years of age when certain things will start to happen with their body.
As the aging process starts to affect your cat, it sets off a very gradual decline in their overall abilities, both physical as well as mental, and will trigger many older cats health issues.
However, just like with us, not all cats will experience these changes at the same rate, but sooner or later, they will start to happen.
The most important thing that you can do for your cat at this stage is to start preventive measures and build their immune system as strong as you can in these final years.
If your cat has been rescued or adopted, you may not know exactly how old they are.
However, there are some very helpful techniques that might assist you in identifying as close as you can the actual age of your cat.
There are two different areas that can help you in this process; their teeth and their eyes, and these will help in determining some potential old cat’s health issues.
Your cat’s teeth completely fill in by the age of six months, and that is the starting point for identifying how old your cat is.
Your cat’s teeth will play a prominent role throughout their lives, and the accumulation of tarter is the key.
By the age of two years they will have developed some mild tater buildup.
By the age of five the tarter has become more pronounced on your cat molars, as well as their canines.
The canines are located to the left and the right of the lateral incisors, and your cat has four of them.
This will all depend on your cat’s diet of course, and is not extremely reliable, but it does help.
By the magical age of eight or nine, the incisors start to wear down and by the age of twelve, they will start to fall out. Your cat’s eyes will also help to identify their age.
Lenticular sclerosis, which is an age related density of the nucleus, occurs in the aging process.
Thin lines begin to show up in their eyes around the age of six, and the older they are, the more these lines spread out and create an almost bluish shield covering the eyes.
These are not cataracts, but rather the simple sign of aging.
Neither of these processes is extremely accurate, but it is the only measurable way to help identify your cats age if you do not know exactly how old they are.
Older cats health issues will all depend on your specific cats overall health, as well as how their nutritional needs have been met.
It will also depend on how strong their immune system is and how it has been maintained.
The first concern with older cat’s health issues starts with their specific nutritional issues and the toughest challenge will be with obesity and preventing it.
You may also have to deal with special nutritional needs in your aging cat.
When a dog ages, their metabolism starts to change and as a result their caloric needs decrease. Your cat is not a dog, and this does not happen to your cat.
Their energy needs stay almost exactly the same throughout their life span.
Obesity occurs in most all cats between the ages of six to eight years of age, not as they get older.
This is your cat’s biggest health issue, but if your cat is not obese by this age, the chances of them becoming obese decrease as they age, they do not increase.
However, older cats do not digest or absorb fat as well as younger cats, and this is the adjustment that you will have to make in their diet.
Protein needs also stay the same throughout their life span.
Unless your cat has a special need for decreased protein, decreasing it can weaken their immune system which is the last thing you want to do.
Vitamin and mineral supplements are not needed as much in older cats.
However, there is a lot of medical evidence that shows that Vitamins A, E, and C play very important roles in slowing the aging process.
Before stopping them as your cat gets older, you should consult with your veterinarian.
Water is also critical for older cats, and a lot of cats will slow down the amounts that they drink as they age.
However, water is still the most important nutrient for your cat.
Dental problems are of the next major older cats health issues.
The majority of all cats will develop some type of either a dental problem or a gum problem by the age of three.
The best method of preventing major issues with your older cat is to brush their teeth regularly two to three times a week their entire life.
Feeding them cat chew treats will help reduce tarter build up and preserver their teeth for their later years.
Chronic renal failure is the one of the biggest killer of cats of any age, but it is the largest older cats health issues and biggest challenge.
The digestion of food produces waste products, and if your cat’s kidneys fail these waste products cannot be removed and it becomes a toxic situation for them.
The single largest causes of a kidney failure in cats are the poor flow of blood, infections, or immune system abnormalities.
Kidney stones block the flow of blood and can be the cause of several infections to occur.
Vitamin C is perhaps the most natural way of eliminating kidney stones in cats, as it will actually dissolve the stones.
But your older cat must also have the most important nutrient, water. You have to make sure they continue to drink enough water.
Other than kidney disease, the largest older cats health issues are with DM, which is Diabetes Mellitus. There are two types of this very wicked disease, Type I and Type II.
Type I occurs when your cats body does not produce enough insulin, and Type II occurs when enough is produced but something interferes with its process.
DM Type I is the most common by far, and it attacks middle aged and older cats of any breed. The peak age of attack is between the ages of 9 and 11.
The best defense you have in protecting you older cat form this disease is by controlling their weight and by placing them on a high protein and low carbohydrate diet.
Protein is absolutely essential to older cats, but in this case it may save and extend their lives.
Older cats health issues certainly do not end with these threats.
Hyperthyroidism, Hypertension, Heart disease, Skin tumors, and Cancer are also very formidable threats to your older cat.
But the key to all of these threats is building their immune system and then maintaining it, as well as maintaining their weight.
If your cat is obese, controlling their diet with high protein is extremely important.
However, understanding your actual cats age if you do not know for certain, helps in the process.