What is a Senior Cat?
According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) there isn’t one specific age that classifies a cat as senior. Like people, some cats age faster than others. Generally speaking, however, older cats can be placed into one of three groups:
- Mature or middle-aged: 7–10 years (44-56 years for humans)
- Senior: 11–14 years (60-72 years for humans)
- Geriatric: 15+ years (76+ years for humans)
You can increase your cat’s chances of living into his teens or early twenties by providing good care at home and regular veterinary care.
As your cat ages, be prepared to see physical changes. It’s important to discuss these changes with your veterinarian to determine what is “normal” aging and what may be a sign of illness. With regular check-ups, illnesses can be diagnosed early and age-related health conditions can be delayed or managed.
Some common aging changes include:
- Changes in vision
- Appearance of brown spots in the iris
- Decreased sense of smell
- Brittle or fragile nails
- Decreased lung reserve
- Heart or circulatory problems
- Decreased digestion and ability to absorb nutrients
- Loose, less-elastic skin
- Reduced ability to handle stress
- Changes in behavior
We all want to grow old with grace and dignity, and we want the same for our pets. Fortunately, expert understanding of cat health and advances in veterinary medicine means cats can live longer, better lives than ever before. As your cat’s caregiver, there’s much you can do to keep your cat healthy and happy. The AAFP has additional tips for caring for your senior cat.
This article is from the American Association of Feline Practitioners. Just Cats Veterinary Clinic has been a proud member since 1994.