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Taking Your Senior Cat to the Veterinary Clinic

May 1 2024

Cats generally reach their senior years at approximately eleven years old. Nowadays, kitties often enjoy a long lifespan, reaching well into their teens or even twenties. However, just like older people, senior cats may need to see their doctors more often than their younger counterparts. In this article, an Urbana, IL veterinarian provides helpful advice on taking an older cat to the doctor.

How Do You Transport An Older Cat?

When you’re taking your cat anywhere, always make sure that Fluffy is safely confined in a crate or carrier. This ensures her safety and gives you peace of mind, as you won’t have to be concerned about your furry friend climbing onto your lap while you’re behind the wheel. 

Add comfy bedding to the carrier to make it comfy. You might want to consider including a cherished toy or spoiling your feline friend with some catnip.

As cats get older, they might start to feel some stiffness and discomfort, particularly if they have arthritis or other health problems. Fluffy may not appreciate being held. Older kitties can be quite stiff and sore! Be very gentle when holding, carrying, or picking up your pet. 

How Can I Keep A Senior Cat Comfy?

At home, you can follow a few steps to make sure your beloved pet remains content, in good health, and filled with happiness.

Let’s start with the essentials. Ensuring that your beloved pet has a nutritious diet, a comfortable living environment, and a clean litterbox will significantly enhance their overall health and happiness.  It’s also important to provide your feline buddy with plenty of toys and playtime. Playing with Fluffy not only helps to keep her physically active but also offers important mental stimulation.

You can also make minor changes to create a more accommodating environment for your meowing senior. You might want to think about getting pet ramps or steps to help your cat easily reach her favorite resting spots. In addition, night lights can help your furball find her way around the house after dark. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.

Lastly, make sure Fluffy feels loved and secure. Senior cats are utterly adorable, and their purrs really are special! 

What Changes Can I Anticipate As My Feline Companion Ages?

As previously stated, cats typically reach their senior years at around 11 years old. However, an 11-year-old cat can still have many years of purring and pouncing ahead of her. Fluffy won’t be considered geriatric until she’s about 15.

You might observe Fluffy sleeping more and not being as playful as before. Your cute little friend might also appear a bit messy. There’s a reason for this: Older cats may find it difficult to groom themselves thoroughly. In addition, their fur has a tendency to become oily. (Note: Regular brushing can be beneficial for your furry friend.)

Not all cats age at the same pace. Some cats may appear to be in good health, but then experience a sudden decline. Others may slowly begin to feel the impact of illness, disease, or the natural progression of time.

Pay close attention to your feline buddy and watch for any indications of discomfort. If you happen to notice anything unusual, please feel free to contact us immediately.

How Can You Tell If Your Older Cat Isn’t Feeling Well?

Cats can be mysterious about letting on when they are ill. Be vigilant for signs like sudden weight loss, frequent urination, stiffness, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, litterbox issues, and respiratory difficulties. changes in behavior can be a red flag as well. When cats are unwell or experiencing discomfort, they may vocalize loudly or become unusually silent. Your feline companion may also exhibit unusual behavior that just seems out of character.

Another sign to keep in mind is lethargy. Fluffy has the remarkable ability to sleep for up to 20 hours a day. However, even the most experienced napper can’t snooze all day. If your furry pal is constantly sleeping, there might be an underlying issue.

If you observe any unusual signs, contact your veterinarian immediately.

How Often Should Fluffy Go To The Urbana, IL Vet Clinic?

There is no definitive answer to this question: it will vary depending on Fluffy’s age, health, and lifestyle. Most kitties need to come in at least once a year. Your vet may recommend coming in every six months as your pet enters her golden years. If your furry companion has medical conditions, it may be necessary for her to come in for more frequent visits. Follow your vet’s advice.

What Are Some Common Health Issues For Senior Cats?

As cats age, they can experience a range of health issues. Many are similar to those faced by older humans. Kidney disease is a prevalent issue. Our senior patients are also at risk of diabetes, hyperthyroidism, cancer, heart disease, liver disease, osteoarthritis, and IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease). Another common issue that pet owners often worry about is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), which can result in urinary blockage, bladder stones, and kidney complications. It is also quite common to notice cognitive decline in older cats, even if they are generally healthy.

Ask your vet for more information.

Bringing an Older Cat to Her Veterinarian

Considering Fluffy’s strong inclination towards staying at home, it’s safe to say that she won’t be too thrilled when her nap schedule gets interrupted for an appointment. Man’s Second Best Friend also tends to dislike car rides. Cats may experience anxiety when they are separated from their usual environment. In fact, many of our feline patients are more distressed by the car ride than by their actual appointments!

There are a few steps you can take to enhance Fluffy’s travel experience.

Introducing a carrier is first and foremost. Everyone wants a comfortable ride! Timing can also help. If possible, try to choose a time when the clinic is less busy. Of course, quiet days are never guaranteed, as unexpected emergencies can occur at any given moment. That said, there are specific times and days that are more crowded than others. Of course, if you are bringing Fluffy in because she is showing signs of illness, then you’ll want to go with the first available slot.

A smooth ride will also help. Try to steer clear of sudden turns, rough terrain, and abrupt acceleration or deceleration.

Once you get home, give your kitty a toy or treat to get her motor going again.

Bringing an older cat to the veterinarian can be somewhat stressful, particularly when you’re uncertain about what you might find about your cherished pet’s well-being. Always keep in mind that your utmost concern should be guaranteeing Fluffy’s comfort and happiness for as long as possible. Veterinary medicine can help us treat or manage a wide range of health problems in kitties. We can’t overstate the benefits of early treatment, though!

Schedule An Appointment At Our Urbana, IL Pet Clinic 

Do you want to learn more about how to take care of an older cat properly? Do you want to make an appointment for your cat? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at your Urbana, IL animal clinic. We are always happy to help!

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