Caring for A Senior Cat

There are three groups that classify older cats:

  • 7-10 years (44-56 human years): Mature or middle-aged
  • 11-14 years (60-72 human years): Senior
  • 15+ years (76+ years for humans): Geriatric

With proper home and veterinarian care, many cats live into their late teens and early twenties.

It is important to understand aging changes, as well as what constitutes “normal” developments in additional to what signal signs of treatable conditions. This can be challenging because some owners might think that unlike dogs, cats do not need to visit the veterinarian on an ongoing basis. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Cats are masters at hiding disease. Despite underlying problems, they may appear well. The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends a veterinarian check-up every six months for a healthy, older cat.

What to Check for During a Routine Visit With Your Veterinarian:

  • Overall body and weight condition
  • Quality of the skin and coat
  • Teeth, mouth and gums
  • Ears and eyes
  • Lungs and heart
  • Abdomen
  • Muscles and joints

Please make your veterinarian aware of any changes in condition from your previous exam.

Obesity is about more than just being “fat.” It is considered by veterinarians to be a disease that alters metabolism and makes a pet more likely to develop certain conditions, including but not limited to: diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, breathing problems and lower urinary tract disease.

At the opposite end of the spectrum in the senior and geriatric age group is a cat becoming underweight. Some older cats have a decreased ability to digest protein and fat, or it may be caused by a disease. Also keep in mind the fact that cats lose their sense of taste or smell as they age and this can cause loss of interest in eating. A broken tooth, chronic kidney disease or memory problems can also impact the ability to eat.

One of the key elements to your cat’s continued good health is a proper diet. Older cats are prone to dehydration and constipation, so increased water intake is important for older cats. Also offering three or four small meals per day makes food easier to digest for older cats.

Dental care is important to maintain your cat’s oral hygiene to help ensure continued health. Neglected teeth and gums can result in severe mouth pain and even lead to infection in other organs. Untreated oral disease and dental pain in your cat can cause her to experience emotional and physical decline.

A range of illnesses can occur as your cat ages. The most common are mentioned below:

Chronic Kidney Disease

Kidney disease often begins in middle age but is most common in older cats. Some signs may include:

  • Mild behavior changes
  • Changes in drinking frequency or location
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased volumes of urine
  • Constipation
  • Appetite decrease
  • Muscle decrease and weight loss


Diabetes is most common in obese male cats. It is a significant disease in older cats. Nearly half of all diabetic cats range in age from 10 to 15 years.
Signs include:

  • Excessive hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive thirst and urination

Other diseases that affect older cats are listed below but not limited to:

Thyroid disease

  • Hypertension
  • Gastrointestinal Conditions
  • Cancer (About half of all deaths in cats aged 10 and older are caused by cancer)
  • Arthritis

Even with appropriate treatment and regular veterinary care, many senior cats eventually reach a point where illness significantly affects their quality of life. If and when that time comes, it is important to include your trusted veterinarian in decided the best course of action for your pet.

Peace and Love are present in my world now,

Lovin Pet Care
Melanie Lovett

Pros and Cons of Vaccinations for Your Dog

Vaccinations are very important weapons in the fight against infectious diseases in animals. However, vaccines are not without their limitations and there are failures. In some cases the reactions or side effects can be worse than the disease they are being used to prevent!

Luckily there are vaccines to help prevent many illness that affect your dog. It has long been considered one of the easiest ways to help him live a long, healthy life. There are different vaccines for different diseases, and different types and combinations of vaccines.

Here are answers to some most frequently asked questions regarding vaccines:

What exactly are Vaccines?

They help prepare the body’s immune system to fight the invasion of disease-causing organisms. If your dog is ever exposed to the real disease, his immune system is now prepared to recognize it, fight it off entirely or reduce the severity of the illness.

How Important Are Vaccines?

Vaccines are very important in managing the health of your dog. However, not every dog needs to be vaccinated against every disease. While most veterinarians highly recommend administering core vaccines to healthy dogs, factors that should be examined include age, medical history, environment, travel habits and lifestyle.

What Are Core Vaccines?

Core vaccines are considered vital to all dogs based on risk of exposure, severity of disease and transmissibility to humans. They include canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis and rabies.

Non-core vaccines are given depending on the dogs risk exposure.

What Vaccines Should My Puppy Get?

They must be vaccinated against rabies. They should also receive a series of vaccinations with a combination that protects against parvovirus, distemper and hepatitis.

Are Any Vaccines Required By Law?

Each state has it’s own laws regarding the rabies vaccine. It is a legal requirement to have an up-to-date canine rabies.

How Often Should My Adult Dog Be Vaccinated?

Your veterinarian can best determine a vaccination schedule. It depends on several factors:

  • Type of vaccine
  • Dog’s age
  • Medical History
  • Environment and Lifestyle

Some vaccines are required annually, others every 3 years or longer.

When Should My Puppy be Vaccinated?

Starting at 6-8 weeks of age a puppy should start receiving a series of vaccinations. If the mother has a healthy immune system, a puppy will most likely have antibodies from the mother’s milk while nursing. At 16 weeks the final dose should be administered.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Vaccines?

There is a small chance of side effects with any medical procedure. You must discuss your dog’s medical history before he is vaccinated.

What Symptoms Should I Look For?

  • Fever
  • Sluggishness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Facial swelling and/or hives
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain, swelling, redness, scabbing or hair loss around the injection site
  • Lameness
  • Collapse
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures

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Side Effects and Adverse Reactions

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Autoimmune hemoltyic anemia
  • Local reactions
  • Systemic reactions
  • Nervous system problems
  • Reproductive problems
  • Musculoskeletal problems
  • Post vaccination sarcomas
  • Respiratory disease
  • Virus shedding
  • Maternal antibody interference
  • Certain drug therapies
  • Fever or hypothermia
  • Stress

It is best to contact your vet immediately if you suspect your dog is having a reaction to a vaccine.