On the whole, the pet family cat today enjoys a better quality of life than at any time in the past. Due to advances in veterinary care, good nutrition and freedom from the stresses of reproduction, many pet cats pass onto a contented old age and may live to be sixteen or seventeen.
However, older cats require a little more care since some diseases are more likely to arise in old age. An old cat is less active and adventurous, and it will spend a lot of time sleeping in a warm and comfortable place. Warmth is much more important for an old cat and he or she should be able to get out of the cold and wet. An old cat is often more susceptible to infections as its immune system probably becomes less efficient at this stage. Hence it is advisable to keep vaccinations well up-to-date and seek early veterinary advice if your cat shows any sign of ill health.
Worming is very important as elderly cats may have less resistance to internal parasites and become debilitated as a result of their presence.Remember too, an old cat needs less feeding once its activity declines but, at the same time, it may become a fussy eater and refuse food that was previously enjoyed. There is mo harm in coaxing the cat and indulging it a little at this stage in its life by offering tastier, highly-flavoured foods from time to time.
However, one should first check that there is nothing wrong with the cat’s teeth as dental problems are quite common in old age. Sometime it is necessary for teeth to be removed under a general anesthetic but a cat can manage to eat very well as longs as its gums are firm and healthy.
Canned commercial foods are obviously the best for a cat that has dental problems as they are soft. Constipation can be so severe that an animal may fail to pass any motion at all; it can be a problem in an elderly cat. This is sometimes by loss of normal body tone in the bowel and veterinary attention is needed to improve the situation.
Cancerous Tumors are again more common in older cats and symptoms and treatment depend on the site and Nature of the malignancy. Regrettably, treatment by means of surgery, drugs (chemotherapy) may not be a cure but much can usually be done to alleviate the symptoms and improve the quality of life. However, with all these conditions, the time may come when it is kindest course of action is to have it put to painlessly sleep.
Arthritis is more common again with older cats, often noticed as stiffness, particularly on getting up from resting.
Claws too should be kept in good order and trimmed from time to time.