Mental Exercises for Senior Cats

Cats age at a different rate than people do, and although 12 years old may be young for a human, a 12-year-old cat is like a human of about approximately 64 years old – a senior citizen. Staying physically and mentally fit as the aging process takes place is crucial for all species, including your feline. So keep your cat’s mind in shape by finding new and different ways to challenge her mind in her twilight years.

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The Health of Older Cats

An adult cat adopted from a rescue shelter may already have been neutered (altered) or you must sign a contract to have it neutered. If you have adopted an unneutered stray, you should have it neutered. Neutered cats live longer. Neutering tackles feline overpopulation as well as antisocial habits. Neutered cats are at reduced risk from Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), mammary tumors (females), pyometria (womb infections) and injuries sustained through fighting. Even later neutering can prolong your cat’s life.

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Diseases of Older Cats

The ageing process increases susceptibility to certain disease. An older body is less good at repairing damage or repairs are incomplete or faulty. This results in degeneration. Some organs start to malfunction due to accumulated wear and tear or to cellular changes so diseases due to degeneration and dysfunction become more common as cats age. The age at which degeneration begins and the rate of degeneration is mostly genetically determined, but is influenced by the environment and slowed by early detection and medical treatment.

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Caring for the Older Cat

Your own observations and prompt veterinary attention when required prolongs healthy life. Early detection of illness and early treatment are important for older animals whose resistance is often reduced. There are many excellent books on cat care available from bookstores and libraries. Many rescue shelters, veterinarians and feed suppliers also produce leaflets on cat care. This supplemental information is geared towards older cats.

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