More Cat Care Information:

As cats age and come in to that middle age period from around 7 – 8 years of age, it is important for owners to keep an eye out for symptoms that could indicate the beginnings of a disease or syndrome. Middle aged to older cats are very prone to developing diabetes, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, arthritis and sometimes sadly, even cancer.

General Cat Care #1: Before You Bring Your Cat Home
You will need food, food dish, water bowl, interactive toys, brush, comb, safety cat collar, scratching post, litter and litter box.
General Cat Care #2: Feeding
An adult cat should be fed one large or two smaller meals each day. Kittens from 6 to 12 weeks need to be fed four times a day. Kittens from three to six months need to be fed three times a day. You can either feed specific meals, throwing away any leftover canned food after 30 minutes or free-feed dry food (keeping food out all the time).

Feed your cat a high-quality, brand-name kitten or cat food (avoid generic brands) two to three times a day. Kittens can be fed human baby food for a short time if they won’t eat kitten food softened by soaking in warm water. Use turkey or chicken baby food made for children six months and older. Gradually mix with cat food. Cow’s milk is not necessary and can cause diarrhea in kittens and cats. Provide fresh, clean water at all times. Wash and refill water bowls daily.

Symptoms:

Thankfully many geriatric cat diseases can be picked up early on by watching out for several symptoms.

The main one to look out for in these cats is what we call in the Veterinary world PU/PD – otherwise meaning excessive urination and excessive drinking. This is a symptom associated with a number of diseases, but particularly diabetes, hyperthyroidism and kidney disease. Keep an eye on your cat – is he or she always at the water bowl? If your cat is drinking more than 100ml per kg per day, then he or she is definitely drinking excessive quantities of water and this definitely warrants a full check up.

Weight loss is another major symptom that while being easy to pick. This weight loss however, is generally only realized once the at has lost a large amount of weight. This is another good reason for regular check ups with your Vet as it is very important to monitor weight loss as this can be associated with all of the diseases listed above. Also be aware that cats who are overweight are also prone to diabetes AND arthritis so be sure to try and get your cat to his or her optimal weight before they reach 'middle age'.

General Cat Care #3: Grooming
Most cats stay relatively clean and rarely need a bath, but they do need to be brushed or combed. Frequent brushing helps keep your cat’s coat clean, reduces the amount of shedding and cuts down on the incidence of hairballs
General Cat Care #4: Handling
To pick up your cat, place one hand behind the front legs and another under the hindquarters. Lift gently. Never pick up a cat by the scruff of the neck (behind the ears) or by the front legs without supporting the rear end.
General Cat Care #5: Housing
Cats should have a clean, dry place of their own in the house. Line your cat’s bed with a soft, warm blanket or towel. Be sure to wash the bedding often. Please keep your cat indoors. If your companion animal is allowed outside, he can contract diseases, get ticks or parasites, become lost or get hit by a car, hurt in a fight or poisoned. Also, cats prey on wildlife.

Inappetance is another obvious symptom to look out for and if you notice your cat won't eat his or her food despite trying several different options, then get this kitty to your Vet sooner rather than later. Whilst this can also be associated with all of the above, inappetance alone can cause a problem called 'fatty liver' or 'hepatic lipidosis' which can quickly become fatal.

While there are many other symptoms that are associated with the diseases mentioned above, these are the major ones to keep an eye on in your middle aged to geriatric cat. If you notice any of these, it would definitely be worth getting your cat to the Vet for a full check over as well as blood and urine tests.

Diabetes

Feline diabetes is more common than most people realize and is definitely more likely in an overweight cat. The first symptoms noticed are excessive drinking and urination, increased hunger and lethargy. Diabetes is a syndrome where the body doesn't produce or respond to insulin and as a result glucose remains in the blood rather than being utilized by the cells. As a result most of this glucose also spills over in to the urine causing your cat to urinate more (and hence want to drink more too). Thankfully we can test for glucose in the urine of cats and check the blood for the glucose level. Diabetes is definitely treatable and there is a product now that requires you to give your cat only one injection of insulin per day. This insulin helps drive the glucose into the cells to be used! In some cases insulin injections are no longer needed after several months, but this has only been seen in some animals on a certain type of insulin. Ask your Vet for more details. If you have a question that needs to be answered straight away, check this page: – Ask the Vet.

General Cat Care #6: Identification
If allowed outdoors (again, we caution against it!), your cat needs to wear a safety collar and an ID tag. A safety collar with an elastic panel will allow your cat to break loose if the collar gets caught on something. An ID tag or an implanted microchip can help insure that your cat is returned if he or she becomes lost.
General Cat Care #7: Litter Box
All indoor cats need a litter box, which should be placed in a quiet, accessible location. A bathroom or utility room is a good place for your cat’s box. In a multi-level home, one box per floor is recommended. Avoid moving the box unless absolutely necessary. Then do so slowly, a few inches a day. Cats won’t use a messy, SMELLY litter box. Scoop solids out of the box at least once a day. Dump everything, wash with a mild detergent (don’t use ammonia) and refill at least once a week, less frequently if using clumping litter. Don’t use deodorants or scents in the litter or litter box (especially avoid lemon scent).
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