Did you know that veterinarians see 50% fewer cats for annual wellness exams than dogs? An even sadder statistic from a recent survey shows that 77% of cats over 12 years of age are not being seen in the 18 months before being euthanized. This week I will discuss the difference between a senior cat and a geriatric cat and how you can help them before it is too late.
The difference between a senior cat vs. a geriatric cat:
- A senior cat is any cat over the age of 10.
- Just as in human medicine, senior is just an age classification. Once people reach a specific age, they are considered a senior.
- In human medicine, a geriatric person has more to do with the person’s health status and not their actual age. A geriatric person must exhibit three of the following signs to be considered geriatric:
- Weight loss
- Slowed mobility
- Regardless of a cat’s age, a cat is classified as geriatric when they become fragile and are more susceptible to illness. Geriatric cats are typically in the last 10% of their lifespan.
You are treating your cat like a second-class citizen if you don’t take your cat to the vet every year. I understand that your pet may not need vaccines if it is inside only, but it still needs a physical exam annually. Annual exams are more important for a senior cat because one out of every ten cats over the age of ten will have heart, kidney or thyroid disease.
If your senior cat is healthy, there are dietary and environmental changes that can be made to help slow the aging process. Last week, I discussed sarcopenia which is a serious problem with senior patients. When your senior cat starts losing muscle mass, they become less mobile. Feeding a high protein diet can prevent or slow the loss of muscle mass.
Let Guthrie Pet Hospital help manage your senior cat and its age-related changes that you are facing. We want to see your pets live a happier, healthier life.