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Caring for Aging Cats

Our cats’ behaviors change as they mature. As the rebellious days of youth fade, wiser, more leisurely companions emerge. Cats become seniors around age 10, and considerable physiological changes often occur. Slower and more relaxed movements replace the boundless energy they had as kittens. Decreased physical activity is to be expected; joint stiffness and reduced dexterity are normal parts of the aging process. Activity patterns may shift dramatically as your pet’s circadian rhythm changes, too, resulting in an altered sleep-wake cycle and more frequent daytime naps.

Elderly cats are prone to decreased cognitive function, meaning they may take longer to complete their daily routines and may become disoriented. A moderate degree of hearing and vision loss is to be expected. Your cat may begin spending more time in different areas of the home, usually areas that are centralized and well lit, as these spaces can make them feel more comfortable and secure.

However, not all behavioral shifts should automatically be attributed to aging. Sudden physical changes or rapidly decreased mental function may be indications of underlying medical conditions.

Twice-annual examinations and annual blood tests are the most effective way to determine if symptoms are the result of a treatable medical cause. If you notice abnormal behavioral changes in your elderly cat, please contact your veterinarian right away to rule out serious health problems. We want to help your pet age with comfortable grace.

Learn more about Northwest Neighborhood Veterinary Hospital’s senior pet care here.

If you have any more questions or concerns regarding your senior pet, please schedule an appointment at Northwest Neighborhood Veterinary Hospital by calling (503) 427-9148.