Caring for Senior Cats

senior cat
Thanks to advancements in veterinary care, today’s cats can live well into their teen years. It is not uncommon for cats to live to be 18 or even older. However, in order for cats to live a long full life, they need proactive veterinary care to stay healthy.

As cats age, they are at greater risk for chronic diseases and health complications. However, cats are also masters at hiding illness. Semi-annual veterinary appointments are the best way to monitor a cat’s well being. For a senior cat, six months can be the equivalent of two years – a number of health changes can happen during this period.

During a wellness exam, a veterinarian will check a cat’s weight and body condition, skin and coat quality, eyes, ears, thyroid, heart, lungs, joints, mouth and abdomen. A veterinarian may also conduct diagnostic blood work and parasite screenings. While physical changes are easily noticed (e.g., weight loss or change in coat quality), internal changes are more difficult to detect. Diagnostic tests provide an important snapshot of a cat’s internal health and can detect problems such as hyperthyroidism and kidney disease.

Feline hyperthyroidism and kidney problems are the most common health conditions affecting older cats. Hyperthyroidism affects many organs in the body, including the heart. Hyperthyroidism can lead to secondary heart disease as well as hypertension (high blood pressure). Kidney disease can also cause hypertension. Your veterinarian can check for this during your cat's exam. Blood tests during a semi-annual wellness screening are the best way to detect hyperthyroidism and kidney problems. With early diagnosis, medical treatments can be very successful in managing these disease. These are examples of why proactive veterinary care is so important for senior cats.

Wellness exams are also an opportunity to evaluate a cat’s dietary needs. As cats age, their nutritional needs change. For example, cats with kidney problems should have a diet low in protein and phosphorus. Less active cats may need to be fed less in order to prevent weight gain and obesity. Other cats may become disinterested in food, resulting in weight loss. Cats that lose their sense of taste and smell may also lose interest in eating. Unfortunately, gradual weight loss can also go unnoticed, especially for longhaired cats. This is why nutrition evaluations and regular weigh-ins are so important.

Just like humans, cats will have different wellness needs as they age. Some cats may need a special diet while other cats may need medication to manage a chronic disease. Your veterinarian will make specific recommendations based on your cat’s wellness needs.

Sources:

American Association of Feline Practitioners. Friends for Life, Caring for your Older Cat.

Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine. Hyperthyroidism in Cats.

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Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Thursday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

7:30 am-12:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Please contact us at the clinic with questions or to schedule an appointment.

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "I love the fact that the office opens at 7:30 am. I am able to get in before work whenever I need treatments for my cats. Everyone in the office is super friendly and gentle when handling my pets. I was seen very quickly after my appointment time. Thank you all for a fantastic visit!"
    Sassy Lane
  • "Wedgewood Pet Clinic provides phenomenal care to our dogs! The veterinarians at Wedgewood have been the exclusive providers of medical care for our dogs for 20 years. Dr. Belcourt, Dr. Heintz, and the Wedgewood staff really care about their patients, and it shows! I highly recommend Wedgewood Pet Clinic."
    Brian Fagan
  • "I recently had to say goodbye to the best furry friend on the face of the planet! It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do! They were so great with the entire process! They handled everything with such grace, empathy, dignity, and respect at a time when I could barely put a sentence together without crying! They made time for us when they were very busy, and yet took the time to let us say goodbye properly! I cannot thank them enough! My entire family has taken our pets there for years and will continue to do so! We can't say enough great things about them! Thank you Wedgewood for being so great!"
    Ashley C
  • "I've trusted my cat's delicate and unique health conditions to Dr. Heintz for the past 7 years and have nothing bad to say. He cares for the animal's health and is easy to communicate with; he's always responsive and upfront. Everyone in the office are friendly and provides wonderful care. I highly recommend this clinic even if it's a little out of your way."
    Sarah Smith
  • "Dr. Heintz is hands down the most compassionate & kind person. I've been going to him for years and wouldn't ever stray. He is thorough and does what is necessary. 10 out of 10 recommend."
    Leah Rose
  • "Wedgewood is always fantastic! They are very friendly and do an awesome job with even the most nervous pets! They are timely and efficient and truly care about your pet!"
    Alissa B
  • "We drive 30 minutes to have our dogs seen by Dr Heintz. He's amazing and the staff at Wedgewood is always friendly. Highly recommend!"
    Laura Chambers
  • "Wedgewood is now our forever vet! Dr. Heintz and staff helped us through a very difficult time with two sick puppies. I've never had a veterinarian show so much care and concern for our puppies, our situation, and all of our questions. The staff was always courteous and helpful. Wedgewood went above and beyond, and we're extremely grateful!"
    KL
  • "I've been using Dr Heintz for about 5 years now. He takes the time to explain what is going on and to answer questions. The whole staff is wonderful. Hands down this is the best vet clinic I've ever been to!"
    Kat F.