Ah, the Golden Years, a bit of tarnish is to be expected, right? Kitty is getting “up there.” This is the time of life where many care takers say “Oh Kitty is just slowing down,” or “Kitty is showing her age.” We would really like to encourage those caring for the senior Kitty to bring issues like “slowing down” to the veterinarian’s attention.
Senior & Geriatric cats have several issues that confront them that might lead owners to think it is “just old age.” Issues confronting elderly kitties might be changes in mobility, example; she doesn’t sleep on the owner’s high bed anymore. Another change could be body condition, example; she seems much thinner or her face much rounder than before.
Veterinarians will bring issues such as accessibility of food, and ease of use in respect to litter pans and sleeping areas to the care givers' attention. We will ask owners to make sure Kitty’s bedding is easy to reach and that she gets less disruption in her daily routine than before. We will encourage owners to monitor cognitive function for signs of increased vocalization or confusion. Vets will also question care givers looking for their patients to display signs of pain.
Besides the more obvious medical issues, such as dental disease or declining kidney function, Kitty may suffer from declining mentation. Just like an aged human, her memory and thought processes may no longer be as sharp as they once were. Pain from arthritis or other age-related degenerative orthopedic diseases may also cloud her mind. Veterinarians stand ready to help ease the pain and discomfort of aging joints and can also help care givers deal with Kitty’s decline in mental functions.
More than anything else we want to encourage owners and care givers to seek help for their cats as they age. Age related problems can be confusing and heart breaking but they need not go unanswered. By involving the veterinarian’s health care team in Kitty’s life, we can offer assistance and solutions to many of Kitty’s age and health related issues. As Kitty has made her journey from a kitten to an elderly cat, these really are her “Golden Years,” and should be a treasure to her care givers and best friends.