Showing posts with label Cat Health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cat Health. Show all posts

Monday 15 July 2019

10 Household Products That Can Harm Your Cat

All cat owners should be aware of those household items and foods that could harm their beloved pet. Here are some everyday products that could be harmful or even fatal.

1. Chocolate
You may think you are giving your cat a treat by sharing your chocolate. But it contains theobromine which is toxic for cats. Consumption could cause tremors, irregular heart rate, seizures and death.

2. Caffeine
Your cat should never drink anything which contains caffeine, including coffee, tea and cold medicines. Small doses of caffeine can cause  rapid breathing, tremors and heart palpitations. Large amounts could be fatal.

3. Alcohol
Never allow your cat to drink alcohol. Even a few sips could damage a cat's liver and brain. At its worse, your cat could fall into a coma and die.
Allowing your cat to consume alcohol can be extremely dangerous, as it is absorbed into the body.

4. Raw fish
Raw fish sounds like an ideal food for  your cat but the bacteria it carries can cause poisoning. In addition, it could destroy the vitamin thiamine, which is essential to cats. Lack of thiamine can lead to loss of appetite, seizures and death.

5. Onions and garlic
Sulfoxides and disulphides contained in onions and garlic can be poisonous to cats as it breaks down their red blood cells, which can then lead to anaemia, lethargy, weight loss and gastrointestinal problems.

6. House plants
There are hundreds of common house plants that can be lethal to cats, which if consumed can cause be toxic. Ivy, aloe, amaryllis, peony, lily and begonia are just a few which are poisonous.

7. Salt lamps
Himalayan salt lamps are very trendy at the moment and unfortunately cats often like to lick them. But this can lead to sodium poisoning, causing pain, vomiting, seizures and even death.

8. Insecticides
If consumed insecticides can cause internal bleeding, seizures and kidney failures.

9. Yeast dough
If you are baking bread, do not let your cat eat the raw dough. It will rise inside its stomach and could result in rupture of the stomach or intestines. While the yeast is fermenting, it also releases alcohol making it doubly dangerous to cats.

10. Bones
While cats enjoy fish and poultry, be sure that the food they are given does not contain any bones. Bones can splinter and cause a choking hazard to your cat, or it could puncture their digestive tract.

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Thursday 16 March 2017

Feline Diabetes

Early detection of feline diabetes can save your cat's life.

SYMPTOMS for feline diabetes can vary considerably because many of the symptoms of are characteristic of other illnesses and diseases. Some of the more common symptoms of feline diabetes include the following:

  • an increase in thirst is one of the earliest and most noticeable symptoms. Ordinarily, cats whose diet consists primarily of wet canned food may not drink a lot of water due to the high water content of their food. So you may notice that the level in your cat's water bowl is dropping faster than usual.
  • frequent urination
  • weight loss
  • loss of appetite
  • dull coat
  • walking on hocks (joint of the rear leg) instead of paws
  • cataracts forming on eyes

If your cat is exhibiting any of these symptoms take it to a veterinarian. Diagnosis of cat diabetes is not necessarily straightforward, since stress and other illnesses can cause temporary imbalances in your cat's blood glucose levels. A thorough physical exam as well as an array of blood and urine tests are needed to obtain a proper diagnosis.

What is the Treatment for Cat Diabetes?

With early detection, your cat may continue to live a normal and otherwise healthy life. Regular exams should be scheduled to ensure the continued good health of your cat, and in all likelihood, your cat will need injections of insulin twice a day. This is a simple procedure that your vet can train you how to do. Once the diabetes is under control, you may be able to reduce the amount of insulin. In the meantime, the best routine to develop is to give the injection to your cat every morning and evening right after its meal.

Special Diet

There are cat food formulations that have been optimized for diabetic cats. If your vet recommends this as an approach to controlling your cat's diabetes, you may need to keep your cat indoors to control its diet.

Untreated Diabetes

Feline diabetes that remains undetected or untreated can have drastic consequences. Typically, the cat becomes less and less active and falls into a coma. So iff your cat is manifesting any of the symptoms described here,  get it checked by your vet as quickly as possible. Doing so can save your cat's life.

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Thursday 15 September 2016

Does Your Cat Have A Healthy Diet?

Post by guest contributor Dr Matthew Homfray

THEY say we are what we eat. This applies to your pet as much as it applies to yourself. A good diet means less health problems, less trips to the vet and lower veterinary bills. But how much thought have you given to what your cat should be eating to maintain optimum health? Ask yourself the following questions.

How many times a day do you feed your cat?

Since cats cannot be exercised like dogs can, the only way you can influence your cat's weight is by controlling the amount and type of food he or she eats. If the cat is being fed individual meals several times daily, there is often a tendency by the owner to offer the daily supply of food on several occasions rather than divide up the daily feed into several meals. This can also occur with cats fed dry food ad lib. Cats usually regulate their food intake, but continual exposure to large quantities of food may lead to over-eating and subsequent obesity if too many calories are consumed. In short, both several individual meals a day and ad lib feeding are fine, it is the total amount offered per 24 hour period which is the important figure.

Kittens should be fed small meals at regular intervals due to their tiny stomachs. Four or five meals are recommended at eight weeks of age, decreasing to two at six months of age.

Is your cats diet manufactured specifically for cats or do you give human food?

Some cat owners like to spoil their cat by feeding them human food as the bulk of their diet. Others have tried feeding their cat regular catfood, but find their fussy cat will not touch it, and prefers to wait for the inevitable human food offering, which soon becomes the staple diet.

Is it really unhealthy to feed cats human food though? Of course it depends what food. Remember that cats are carnivores, and require a high proportion of meat in their diet. They simply cannot adapt to a low protein diet, and will lose bodyweight if deprived of it. In fact, as a species they are relatively unique... a deficiency of the amino acid, arginine, in a single meal can lead to symptoms of lethargy, hypersalivation and vocalisation. Arginine is required by the cat to produce urea, a waste product resulting from the breakdown of protein.

Another essential nutrient for the cat is the amino acid, taurine, which the cat cannot manufacture sufficiently by itself to meet its needs. The cat's diet must therefore contain taurine in sufficient quantities. If a deficiency develops there is a high risk of serious and irreversible damage to major organs such as the heart and the eye. Taurine is found almost entirely in meat, confirming the fact that the cat is a compulsory carnivore.

Another disease of nutritional origin is that caused by cats eating raw liver regularly, who can suffer from a condition called hypervitaminosis A. Cats suffering from this can present with signs of lethargy, unthriftiness, a stiff neck and other skeletal problems. To play it safe, do not feed your cat liver more than once a week.

Reputable cat foods are formulated after extensive trials by pet food companies to provide the mixture of protein, carbohydrate and fat that suits feline physiology best. It is easier, cheaper and possibly more healthy for your cat to be fed a reputable cat food diet, with occasional treats if desired (tuna, liver etc).

Which is better out of dry cat food or wet cat food?

Most vets recommend complete dry biscuit based cat food. This is because studies have shown that cats on dry food diets are less likely to suffer from dental disease than those on wet food from a tin or pouch. The physical motion of biting these biscuits helps prevent tartar from adhering to the surface of the tooth. However, even cats with no teeth can eat biscuit based food without a problem, as they just scoop up the biscuits with their tongue and swallow them whole. Another advantage of dry food is that it does not spoil as quickly which is useful for cats that are fed ad lib.

There are occasionally reasons why a wet food is preferable, as a method to increase the water consumption in a cat with a urinary problem such as cystitis.

Which is the best cat food to choose?

There are so many different brands of cat food on the market, the best one is basically a matter of opinion. Certainly palatability is a factor, there is no point in purchasing a particular food if your cat cannot stand it, although this is occasionally a necessity in cats requiring prescription diets. Rather than recommending you a specific brand, we suggest that you choose one which adheres to the criteria below.

Cat foods labeled as complete and balanced must meet standards established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), either by meeting a nutrient profile or by passing a feeding trial. There are now two separate nutrient profiles for cats - one for growth (kittens) and one for maintenance (adults). Maximum levels of intake of some nutrients have been established for the first time because of the concern that overnutrition, rather than undernutrition, is a bigger problem with many pet foods today. The standards include recommendations on protein, fat, fat soluble vitamins, water soluble vitamins, and mineral content of foods. If you are prepared to get technical, you should choose a food that comes closest to AAFCO recommendations.

In summary, consider the following points:

Choose a food that suits your cats age. Most big pet food companies will have different foods for kittens vs adults. Cats with medical conditions may be recommended special prescription diets.

Choose a food that come closest to AAFCO recommendations.

The ingredients contains the truth about a particular food. Everything else is there only for marketing purposes.

There are no legal and scientific definitions for the terms "premium," "super premium," "quality," or "natural."

Use dry matter numbers to evaluate and compare foods.

The source of ingredients (e.g. animal vs vegetable) does not matter, except in the case of food allergies.

Avoid supplementation. All commercial cat foods have more than enough protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Feeding your cat a good food incorrectly can lead to significant problems.

My cat is overweight, but no matter how hard I try I cannot get him to lose weight. What can I do?

Your cat is almost certainly being fed too much. Below some common mistakes are listed. Have a good look at these and make sure none of them could apply to your cat.

Not following the guidelines on the packet when measuring a portion. Most cat foods will have a table on the packaging suggesting daily portions for cats of different weights. The weight of food suggested is per 24 hrs, not per portion! Use your kitchen weighing scales to measure out the portion until you are sure of the correct amount.

Using a complete dry diet as a replacement for regular biscuits, and mixing it with wet cat food. If it says complete, you should not mix it with anything or you will overfeed.

Offering inappropriate food that is high in fat, or cream/full fat milk to drink.

Several members of the household feeding the cat at different times, whenever the cat is meows for food.

Giving the cat regular treats in addition to its main meal.

The cat is getting fed by neighbors, who think they are being kind by feeding it and enjoy the attention it gives them.

The cat is scavenging food from outside sources, such as other peoples bins.

The cat is part of a multi-cat household and is stealing food from the other cat(s), or even the dog.
Keep an open mind. If there is a possibility that any of the above scenarios might be the case with your cat, investigate it. If you are still at a loss, consider starting a prescription diet (see below).

I have heard you can get special light diets, or prescription diets for fat cats. Do they really work?

Yes they do, if used properly. These types of cat food are available in complete wet (tinned or pouches) form or dry (biscuit) form, and are growing in popularity amongst conscientious pet owners. They are low in calories and high in fibre, and often contain high levels of L-carnitine. L-carnitine has been used to help with fat metabolism in other species and recent scientific work indicates that it helps reduce weight in overweight dogs and cats. The real benefit of these low calorie diets though is that because of its low calories, cats can still eat reasonable sized portions and therefore feel full. This means they are more content and less likely to beg and look for extra food.
These diets are perfectly healthy for normal sized cats to eat too, so if you have a multi cat household and it is unfeasible to separate the cats during feeding time, you can safely feed all of the cats the prescription diet together.

Where can I buy this low calorie food from?

Many of the big pet food companies are waking up to the problem of pet obesity, and adding light versions to their range. However, they are unlikely to be as effective as the traditional prescription diets that are on the market.

They are known as prescription diets, because they are a specialist food normally prescribed by a veterinarian. However, you do not need a prescription to buy the food as it is a general sales list product. These foods are rarely available in supermarkets as many supermarkets are keen to sell their own brand, or have deals with the big pet food manufacturers. Many owners but their prescription diet from their veterinary clinic for convenience, whilst others prefer to shop around to get the best price. Many online pharmacies and pet stores are now offering these prescription foods, but whilst they may appear cheaper online, watch out for delivery charges added on top.

Author: Dr Matthew Homfray

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Tuesday 14 June 2016

Dangerous Plants For Cats

Tiger Lily: beautiful but poisonous to cats

THERE are many common household plants, both indoor and outdoor, that are poisonous to cats. Several of these plants can cause your beloved cat to become quite ill, including vomiting, diarrhea, and convulsions.

In some cases, these plants can cause your pet to have complete respiratory failure, kidney failure, or other fatal illness. For this reason, it is important to assist your cat immediately if it eats a toxic plant.

Perhaps the most toxic and common form of plant that can be fatal to your cat are lilies. Pretty much every form of lily can cause death to your pet. This includes the Tiger lily, the Easter lily, the Japanese show lily, the Rubrum lily and the Day lily. If your cat ingests any part of one of these plants, even a small amount, it will result in complete kidney failure in about 36 to 72 hours.

After ingesting a lily, your cat will begin to show symptoms within a few hours. Symptoms include a lack of appetite, lethargy, and vomiting. As the damage to the kidneys worsens, the symptoms will become worse. If your cat has ingested any part of a lily plant, it will need prompt attention from a veterinarian in order to prevent kidney failure.

Although Lily-of-the-valley has “lily” in its name, it is not the same as the lilies already discussed. Nonetheless, this small, sweet smelling flower is also toxic to your feline friend. If your cat eats any part of the Lily of the valley, it can eventually die from cardiac dysrhythmias. After eating a portion of a Lily of the valley, your cat might start to vomit and diarrhea.

It also may show signs of confusion and weakness and even collapse prior to death. If you are certain your pet has eaten a part of a Lily of the valley, you should induce vomiting (as discussed later) and administer activated charcoal, which will help soak up the toxins and prevent them from getting further into your pet's bloodstream. You should then take your pet to see a vet to ensure its safety.

Foxglove, also known commonly by its Latin name Digitalis, is also potentially fatal to a cat if eaten. Not only is the entire foxglove plant toxic, so is the water from the vase if the plant is cut and brought indoors.If your cat ingests foxglove, it may begin to vomit and salivate excessively. Its pulse may become slow and strong early after ingestion, then later become rapid and weak.

Ingestion of foxglove causes cardiac disturbance that can lead to hypotension, collapse, and shock, which can ultimately lead to death. (More on how to treat shock in your cat will be discussed later).

The pupils of your cat may become dilated after eating foxglove and you cat may become delirious before slipping into a coma. While some of the symptoms of foxglove poisoning can be treated at home, your pet still needs to be taken to the vet to flush the foxglove out of its system and to help regulate its heart.

All parts of the monkshood plant, including the water in its vase, are toxic. Contents of the monkshood plant cause disruption in the nerve impulses when ingested in low doses. When ingested in large doses, it completely inhibits these nerves.

Monkshood also causes irritation to the mucus membranes when ingested, which can lead to vomiting and excessive salivation. Some animals appear to go blind after eating monkshood, which is followed by cardiac dysrhythmias and death. Your cat needs to visit the vet right away in order to recover from monkshood poisoning.

The entire anemone plant is toxic. It is irritating to the mucous membranes and often causes blisters to form after it is chewed. If it is ingested entirely, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis can occur, which can lead to shock, convulsions, and death.If your pet ingests anemone, administer activated charcoal and see the vet immediately.

Help For Your Cat:
Inducing VomitingInducing vomiting is generally appropriate after your cat ingests any toxic plant. To do this, mix 1 teaspoon of Hydrogen Peroxide with one cup of water and administer it to your cat. Or you can mix 1-2 tablespoons of salt with one cup of water or administer ½ mil of Syrup of Ipecac per pound of your cat. Of course, the vet should still be contacted immediately.

What to Do For Shock:
If a cat is in shock, its heartbeat might be escalated. Or, it might have an irregular pulse or a very little pulse. In addition, its tongue might appear to be curled and its gums might be pale and have very little color. When a cat experiences shock its body temperature is often below normal.A cat that is in shock needs to be seen immediately by a vet so it can have medication and intravenous fluids administered. While driving to the vet, it is best to have someone hold the cat and try to sooth it along the way. The cat should be kept warm, as loss of heat only increases the severity of the shock.
Cat article courtesy of

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Wednesday 11 May 2016

Cat Exercise

Here's a video of cats exercising. Made me laugh!

I AM very lucky because I live in a quiet village in a house with a  garden so I have a cat flap for Miss Toffee to come and go as she pleases.  But I know there are many cat owners who keep their pets indoors because it's just not safe for them to go out.

The consequence is that more and more cats are getting overweight. A recent study showed that in the UK, around one in four cats were too heavy. This can create health problems including heart disease and diabetes. But there is a lot owners can do to keep their cats in tip-top condition.

Take time to play with your cat. You can buy cat toys, of course, but you don't have to spend any money if  you don't want to. Toffee can spend ages batting a scrunched up piece of paper around the house.

You can tie objects to string and get your cat to chase them. Warning: make sure you don't leave pieces of string lying about for them to swallow.

They love to climb so put a treat on something high to so that they have to scramble up to get it (only a 'little' treat, otherwise it defeats the object of losing weight!).

Cardboard boxes, balls, stones or marbles in secure containers to make a noise are all ideal for a cat to play with.

There are some ideas here for homemade toys and here is a homemade cat tree.

Take a look at the book below - written by Toffee, the sassiest cat in the world!

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Monday 13 July 2015

Hair Loss In Cats

Hair Loss In Cats

IF you have always regularly brushed your cat and made sure they have all their inoculations and flea and tick treatments, it can come as a shock to find they are scratching constantly or losing hair in frightening amounts.

When my cat first came to me she suffered from eczema and would scratch herself raw in places. I took her to the vet who said she was extremely allergic to the cat flea. We treated her with Frontline and then treated the house. Her eczema cleared up practically overnight. She was fine for about a year and then it came back. It seems she had become immune to Frontline so we switched to Advantage. That was six years ago and since then, fingers crossed, she has had no trouble at all.

We groom her at least once a week with a fine-toothed flea comb, which she loves, to make sure no little strangers have hopped on board.

Many cats possess flea bite hypersensitivity, where an intense reaction to the saliva of the flea is experienced. Common symptoms include extreme itching, redness, scaling, and hair loss. An infection may also develop as a result of saliva contact with the flea.

But it's not only sensitivity to fleas that can cause a cat to scratch.

Hair Loss In Cats

Allergic and Irritant Contact DermatitisA cat may experience an allergic reaction when they become exposed to a variety of substances and objects that comes in contact with the skin. This may include metals (such as nickel), rubber, wool, plastic, and chemicals (dyes and carpet cleaners). Irritating substances, such as poison ivy, may also cause the inflammation that can lead to hair loss in cats. Additional symptoms include cat skin redness, small bumps and blisters, and itching.

Atopy (allergic inhalant dermatitis)When a cat inhales house dust, pollen, or mould, an allergic reaction may follow. As a result, they may display redness, itchiness, inflammation in the ear, and hair loss. In some cases, an infection develops or a cat experiences hot spots.

MangeIt is a particular mite species that causes the infection that leads to itchiness, scales, and some hair loss in cats when the condition is severe.

Facial Alopecia
It is normal for cats to lose hair located between the eye and ear when suffering this condition. Usually, facial alopecia is seen when cats are between 14 and 20 months old. Shorthaired and dark-haired cats are the most affected.

If an area of the cat's body is painful she may lick the specific area. If it is a disease that causes itchiness the licking will cover a wider area. As cats lick a lot anyway, under these circumstances she will over-lick causing a potential hair loss.Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine refer to cat doing this as "fur mowers". The area(s) licked help in diagnosis. Fleas, for example can infest areas around the neck (where a cat can't lick) and also at the base of the spine before the tail begins. If a cat over-licks there it could be fleas. An allergy to pollen or food may in result in "fur mowing", the back and abdomen for example. Licking is normal but when it results in hair loss it is not and there will be an underlying problem. If you can't identify and cure an obvious problem, then take the cat to the vet.

Stress displacement behavior
Any number of reasons can cause stress in cat, for sure cats like stability and routine. For example it can take many months (perhaps up to a year) to fully settle into a new home. In the meantime she may be stressed. Licking can be a form of displacement behaviour. When we are uncertain and trying to think through a difficult problem we may scratch our heads, bite our nails or fiddle with something! Cats do the same. The classic is to lick their nose (the human equivalent of head scratching). If it goes beyond that it can indicate severe stress and a habit. The root cause must be addressed. It will most likely be something that we have done to break the routine of destabilize the environment. These should be easy to rectify. It might be separation anxiety, for example. A vet will probably prescribe a mild sedative and a change in lifestyle.

Pregnancy and Nursing Hair Loss
When a stressful situation (such as giving birth) takes place, a cat may experience hair loss. Sometimes a loss in hair can surface as a sudden symptom, which can spread across the entire body. When the underlying condition is treated or is no longer a concern, the hair will grow back.

HyperthyroidismHair loss and strands that are easily pulled out are common symptoms of hyperthyroidism, which causes skin lesions in about 1/3 of affected cats.

Psychogenic DermatitisThe constant licking that some cats possess as a habit can lead to hair loss. Some of the possible causes of this condition include stress, boredom, and a reaction to changes in their environment, such as a new member in the household. Symmetrical hair loss is a common symptom.

RingwormSeveral different kinds of fungus can cause the ringworm infection, which creates crusts, scales, and hair loss in cats. Cat ringworm is the same as human ringworm and it is transmittable from a cat to a human (zoonotic). This is a reason why (some say) a cat should not sleep on your bed (I totally ignore this).

Rare or Uncommon Hair Loss Conditions in Cats
Sometimes hair loss in cats is not easily detected or beyond the remit of the average pet owner and it requires the assessment of a veterinarian in order to receive effective and accurate treatment. Below are a few instances that may or may not offer a straightforward remedy:

Apocrine Sweat Gland CystAlthough a rarity in felines, water-filled nodules may appear in the head, neck, and limbs, which can cause hair loss in cats.

Alopecia AreataWith alopecia areata, patches of hair loss in cats are seen about the head, neck, and body. Itching is not a symptom of this condition. Usually, cats are able to recover from this suspected autoimmune disorder without any medical treatment.

Bacterial Infection
Hair loss in cats may take place when they are battling a bacterial infection caused by parasites, allergies, or a condition that affects the hormones.

ChemotherapyWhen a cat undergoes chemotherapy as a treatment for cancer, they lose hair that eventually creates a soft and fuzzy appearance about their coat. Some cats may even lose their whiskers. After chemotherapy treatments are discontinued, the hair will grow back. Interestingly, the new hair may appear a different color or display a dissimilar texture.

Congenital Hypotrichosis
Kittens born with congenital hypotrichosis possess little to no hair. Any signs of hair are lost by the time the kitten reaches the age of four months.

Cushing's Disease
When a cat produces or comes into contact with an increase of corticosteroids, they may experience a thinning of the skin, as well as hair loss.

Drug or Injection Reactions
Hair loss in cats sometimes occurs when they suffer a rare skin reaction to a drug that has been given orally, topically, or when inhaled. This type of reaction is most often seen when a cat comes in contact with penicillins, sulfonamides, and cephalosporins. Symptoms usually occur within two weeks of receiving the drug, which may also include itching, redness, swelling, ulcers, the formation of papules, and wound drainage.

When an infection has attacked the hair follicles of a cat, pustules develop and open up to create crusts, which may itch and cause hair to fall out. Symptoms of folliculitis often surface on the face, head, and neck.

Solar Dermatosis
Some cats are more susceptible to the sun, where a reaction causes redness, scaling on the nose and ears, crusts, ulcers, and hair loss. This condition is mostly seen in cats with white ears.
Additional considerations that can lead to hair loss in cats include food allergies; feline acquired symmetrical alopecia (the symmetrical loss of hair on the on back of thighs, abdomen, and genital areas); granulomas (solid nodules); hair loss at the site of a vaccination (can last for months); infestation of lice; sebaceous adenitis (the unknown deterioration of the sebaceous glands); and seborrhea, which is inherited or part of a secondary infection.

Friday 11 April 2014

How To Care For An Elderly Cat

IF you have an elderly cat you will want to look after it to the best of your ability. So at what age is a cat considered “elderly”?

You may have seen changes from about the age of seven, but by the time they are 12 they may have some age-related conditions. So you will need to be vigilant to ensure your cat enjoys they best health it can. If you catch some conditions early, they are controllable or curable.

The immune system of elderly cats will not be so efficient and some conditions will dehydrate your cat so you will need to make sure he or she has plenty of clean water always available.

You may notice that your cat is not such an efficient groomer and that their fur is becoming matted. They may suffer from skin odour and inflammation. Regular brushing or combing will become necessary.

Their claws may thicken and become more brittle so you may have to clip them.

They more become more senile, appearing to become disorientated or wandering more.

You must check their ears for hearing loss and their eyes to see if there are any changes. Conditions like high blood pressure can affect sight.

Elderly cats are also prone to tooth decay, so get them checked regularly.

Some elderly cats get kidney disease, arthritis or bowel disease.

If all this sounds like a litany of despair, don’t worry. There is much you can do to ensure your cat has a happy and healthy old age.

What can you do to help your senior cat? Here are some tips:

Schedule regular visits with your veterinarian. Your cat needs to be examined at least yearly if it appears healthy, as many diseases are hidden and not apparent.  Remember it is much cheaper to prevent disease than it is to treat it.

Ask for a body condition evaluation during each vet visit. Body condition is crucial to determining whether your senior cat is overweight, underweight, or at an ideal body weight. In fact, you should also ask your veterinarian to show you how to evaluate your cat's body condition at home.

Feed your older cat a diet with adequate protein levels. Avoid vegan or vegetarian diets. Cats are obligate carnivores. They require nutrients such as taurine and arachidonic acid that are only found in animal sources. They also require a higher protein level than dogs, comparatively. Learn to read a pet food label and feed a cat food that is appropriate for your cat’s age and lifestyle.

Feed your cat to remain at its ideal body weight. Overweight cats have a higher incidence of diseases such as diabetes, liver disease, skin disease, even cancer. Your veterinarian can help you choose an appropriate diet for your cat. Your cat must be fed carefully to make sure all his nutrient needs are met. Some obese cats may require a specialized diet that is lower in calories but nutrient rich. Diets that are high in L-carnitine can be helpful in weight loss. The level of carbohydrates in cat food are controversial but a proper carbohydrate blend can help keep your cat feeling satiated.

Consider fortifying your senior cat’s diet with fatty acids such as DHA and EPA.They have been shown to be useful for cats with mobility issues due to arthritis or other joint diseases. Supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin are also beneficial for senior cats.

Consider a special diet if your older cat has heart or kidney disease. For example, diets lower in sodium are sometimes advocated for cats with heart disease, while diets which help control phosphorus, calcium and other electrolyte levels are given to cats with kidney disease. Your veterinarian can help you choose the best food for your cat based on your cat’s individual situation.

Ask about special diets for cats with hyperthyroidism. Diets with restricted iodine levels are now available as a potential management method for cats with hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland.) However, it is important that cats with normal thyroid function not consume these diets. If you have questions, ask your veterinarian for advice.

Take care of your cat’s mouth. Brushing your cat’s teeth may seem like a silly idea but it can help keep your cat’s mouth healthy. If you cannot brush, consider cat dental treats that help keep the teeth clean.

Environmental enrichment is important for cats of all ages and should not be abandoned for senior cats. Cat interactive toys, food puzzles (particularly for overweight cats), even supervised access to the outdoors through the use of "catios" or cat leash walking can help keep senior cats entertained as well as helping to burn excess calories and keep muscles and joints healthy.

Provide your older cat with special accommodations. For instance, cats with arthritis might benefit from cat litter boxes with lower sides for easier access into and out of the box. Providing soft bedding for your cat, either with a cat bed or with towels or blankets to rest on, can help your cat be more comfortable. Be sure that food and water are easily accessible. Don’t force your arthritic senior cat to go up and down stairs to eat, drink or use the litter box.

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