If you have ever had an older cat then you know, one day they’re perky, bouncy, and almost kittenish, and then suddenly, they seem downright elderly. Even though they do their best to hide it, elderly cats are just as prone to the aches and illnesses of old age as older dogs are. Cats can become affected by arthritis, thyroid conditions, and diabetes.
Experienced cat parents know that cats are masters at hiding illnesses and injuries. Cats are so good at disguising when they aren’t feeling well that their illnesses can become serious before they ever show any symptoms.
Even though they can mask their pains and sickness, even the best actor has signs that you can learn to recognize. Keep reading to learn of the signs to look for so you can help your senior cat stay mobile, healthy, and feeling their absolute best.
How To Tell If Your Older Cat Is Under The Weather
1. They just don’t seem right. There’s an abbreviation in veterinary medicine that is sometimes used on charts - “ADR”. This is short for “ain’t doing right.” As silly as that phrase may seem, there are many instances where an owner notices that their pet just doesn’t seem to be acting normally, but they can’t quite put their finger on why. This can definitely be a sign that your cat is in some kind of distress. You know your cat and their behaviors better than anyone, so if you notice they just seem “off”, then you should trust your intuition and investigate further.
2. They’re eating less. It’s natural for cats to eat less as they age. This is why feeding an appropriate diet for seniors is important. If they’re losing weight or struggling to chew or swallow, this can even mean more than just old age.
3. They’re looking a little scraggly. If your formerly neat and tidy cat has suddenly stopped grooming, this is a sign of illness or decreased mobility leading to pain and difficulty when grooming. Other signs to look for are a dry coat, dry flaky skin, and increased shedding.
4. Their bladder and bowel habits have changed. If your cat suddenly seems to have forgotten where the litter box is, seems to be straining, or is making noises during bathroom visits, these are all signs you need to take seriously. Sudden changes in bathroom habits can indicate actual bladder or intestinal issues. These can also be signs of muscle strain or spinal problems.
5. They’ve gone from a cuddle bug to a saber toothed cat. One of the biggest signs that your cat is suffering and in pain is behavioral changes. If your cat is usually friendly and outgoing and is suddenly hiding, if he’s gone from loving being petted to shrinking away from pets, this is a sign he’s in pain or discomfort.
6. They’ve started hiding. The best way to hide that you aren’t feeling well is to not be seen. Sick or injured cats will find a place to hide and attempt to avoid human contact. Cats are all individuals and hiding doesn’t always signal illness, in fact, there are cats that exhibit the opposite behavior.
7. They’ve started being clingy. While some cats hide when they aren’t feeling well, other cats become excessively clingy. If your cat has gone from aloof and untouchable to tripping you every time you get up or refusing to leave your lap, this could be a sign of a problem they should have checked.
What To Do If Your Older Cat Is Acting ‘Odd’
Regular veterinary visits are especially important for older cats. Regular appointments will keep you familiar with your cat’s health status so you can quickly and easily notice if they start acting strangely. For a senior cat, the recommendation is twice a year for health screenings.
If your cat is showing any ‘under the weather’ signs, it’s time for a trip to the vet. Some people are afraid they may be bothering the vet, especially if their pet is not showing more obvious signs of illness. Even if you can’t pinpoint why your cat “ain’t doing right”, don’t be afraid to make an appointment. It’s important not to doubt your intuition when it comes to your cat’s health.
Your vet may want to do bloodwork or run panels, similar to those run for an older person. These tests will rule out any serious illnesses and help your veterinarian come up with a treatment plan.
There are health problems that can happen in cats of any age but are more common in older cats like:
- Kidney problems
- High blood pressure
- Dental disease
- Upper Respiratory infections
If your cat is suffering from joint pain, anxiety, or other discomforts of aging, and you’re looking for an all-natural option, try one of our cat wellness products. These were developed with the help of veterinarians, so they’re safe for your cat.
If your cat is suffering from decreased mobility or joint pain, our Mussel Mobility Complete is an incredibly powerful addition to their daily life. Loaded with anti-inflammatory powerhouses like turmeric and green lipped mussel plus Broad Spectrum Hemp Extract CBDA which promotes relaxation, Mussel Mobility is a fan favorite for older pets.
Calming Relief Hemp & Turmeric Oil is a great addition for pets suffering from inflammation and general aches & pains.
Getting old can be stressful and confusing for our pets, so adding a relaxation supplement like Restful Pet into their day-to-day routine can help alleviate stress and keep your cat content. This is also an excellent option if seeing the vet is a stressful event.
Not sure what to try? Or not sure exactly what your cat needs? These three products come in a sample set, too! That way, you can try things out and see what your cat responds best to!
It’s hard watching our pets age and even harder to see them endure the discomfort that comes with growing older. If you pay attention to changes in their moods and behavior and work with your veterinarian to develop a treatment plan, you can help your cat grow old gracefully. And at the end of the day, that’s all we could ever ask for!