At our 5 Star Cat Hotel we never deny a guest access because of age. Many kennels and catteries (cat kennels) have an age limit for their guests. Whilst one of the reasons we are able to care for our seniors is that our cat hotel has Veterinary Technicians on staff, the other is the changing fate of senior felines. As with us humans where 50 is the new 40. So too can 12 be the new 8 for many cats. Senior Cat health has changed.
With the advances in feline medicine, mostly early identification and preventive medicine combined with new therapies, we are able to provide a longer and healthier life for our cats.
Often we hear of senior cats being taken into veterinary clinics for initial diagnosis of advanced liver or kidney disease. Pet parents will admit that they saw the signs of aging and egnored them because “it’s just a part of getting old”, or they were fearful of being asked to “put their pet down”.
How many senior people do you know who are on regular medication for conditions that you or I can’t see but would be considered something that happens with age ? I personally won’t be just accepting the discomfort of arthritis as just one of those things. I will take the medication that allows me to continue living! The question of a pet going to sleep is not one your Vet will ever force upon you. The goal is to enjoy life to its fullest. Early detection through regular wellness checks can allow your Vet to give advice on diet and lifestyle choices that can improve your cats wellbeing and participation in activities they have always loved.
Senior screening done at your Vet through regular blood tests can help spot changes in your cat’s liver, renal and cardiac function. Remember the older your cat gets the more difference even 6 months can make. A year for your cat is like many years for us. The difference in someone’s health at 90 vs 94 could indeed be great and most of us would assume an annual check up at that age to be a good idea.
At the Cat Hotel we do like to see a senior health test has been done regularly for our senior guests. It means that issues that have been identified are already being handled through diet, lifestyle or medicinal means. Information equips our caregivers with the knowledge to better address issues or even distinguish non issues. They are monitoring all our guests whilst lovingly caring, playing with and pampering them all day. Understanding that a guest at the cat hotel had an excellent liver function test a few months ago can help us better identify an acute situation vs a regular part of this cats particular senior state.
The best advice is always work closely with your veterinarian but remember a lot of situations have a very common and treatable condition behind them. Here are just a few examples.
– Loss of appetite – turns out still hungry but teeth hurt.
– Stops grooming (hair seems patchy in some spots (back, area above tail) – arthritis, just can’t twist that way anymore, simple pain medication prescribed by your veterinarian can completely transform your cats life.
– Missing the litter box – arthritis (pain at assuming certain positions,), renal issues or simple hormonal changes.
The means are out there to practice the same level of preventive and intervention medicine as you would for yourself. Your senior can have a long and healthy life ahead of them. We look forward to seeing them at our 5 Star Cat Hotel and working with you to understand how neither of your lives have to slow down or drastically change just because we’re all aging.
Jenn Dahinten hasbeen involved in health and pet care for over 20 years and is currently a part of the caring team at The Royal Cat Hotel & Spa, a 5 star Cat Hotel just north of Toronto in Barrie, Ontario.