Be alert for any changes in your cat’s
appetite –whether this is for the ‘better’
Some conditions seen commonly
in older cats can manifest as an increase in
appetite rather than a decrease, so both are
significant things to notice. It is also worth
noting whether their preferences for different
food types have changed – cats that have
always eaten dry food and now prefer wet, or
just lick at gravy, may be trying to tell us they
have some oral discomfort or dental disease.
Increasedwater intake (often accompanied
warning sign of a number of conditions we
– for example, kidney disease,
diabetes or hyperthyroidism. Blood and urine
tests, and sometimes further investigations,
can be necessary to diagnose the problem.
Many of the conditions will be treatable.
The signs of osteoarthritis in cats are
generally much more subtle than in dogs, who
are quicker to let us know there is a problem.
They tend todevelop amore generalised
‘stiff’gait rather than any obvious lameness.
Owners will often notice that they are more
hesitant to jump up onto laps and surfaces,
however, it is not uncommon for people to
simply report that their cat has become less
active, increasingly grumpy, or reluctant to
be handled. On clinical examination we often
find that there is a degree of muscle loss over
the hind legs and pelvis, as the cats are using
these muscles less due to joint pain.
are excellent medications now available
to help control the pain and inflammation
associatedwith this condition,sodobook an
appointment to see us if you’re concerned.
Sometimes weight loss can be rapid and
obvious, but in older cats it is often more
insidious. It is worth paying attention to
things like how they feel when you pick
them up, and whether their bones feel any
more prominent than they used to.
loss canbe generalised,or in conditions like
osteoarthritis, you may notice that they
seemtohave lost a disproportionate amount
of conditionover the back end.
hundreds of possible causes of weight loss,
many of which can be easily treated.
Winter is a nice time to notice subtle changes
in toileting habits as cats often use their
litter trays more when it is cold outside!
Look out for changes in the frequency
or volume of urination, or the presence
of any blood.Likewise try and keep an eye
on the consistency of faeces andnote any
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is not
uncommon in older cats and can result in
persistent or intermittent diarrhoea (and
sometimes vomiting). If a cat who has always
been well litter-trained suddenly starts
missing the tray or having accidents in the
house this is also worth mentioning.
We are always happy to see any of
our patients for a check-up and a
chat to make sure that everything is
okay with them, especially our older
patients – it is never a waste of time
and will give you a chance to raise
any questions or concerns you may
have. Let us know if you would like to
make an appointment - just call us on
0121 712 7070.
Care of your senior cat...
With the days getting shorter and cats starting to spend more of their time indoors, the winter is
a good time to spot subtle changes in their habits and behaviour which may not have been obvious
before. Keeping an eye on your cat, especially your older cat, may give you clues if anything is not quite right.
For further information on senior cats
please see our Looking after your Senior Cat
General Practice Service Clinician