The cat population seems to be going the same way as the human population, meaning that there are more older cats nowadays. This increase in cats that are considered older can be directly linked to the improvement of their care, which includes not only better cat food, but also better health care. This is great news for those who have an aging cat that lives with them, but also opens up new concerns that will have to be addressed sooner or later. One of the questions that may arise with an aging cat residing with the family is “Is my cat sick, or is it just old age?”
Aging or older cats will often have changes in their behavior that are very noticeable by their owner but unfortunately these changes will often go unreported to the cat’s veterinarian and put off as the cat “getting older”. Changes in an aging cat’s behavior will usually include the cat not being as alert and playful as it once was, the cat may not be as litter box trained as it once was or the owner may notice changes in the cat’s sleeping habits as well as it’s eating and drinking habits. Even though it is true that the aging cat’s mental capabilities may be diminishing and the behaviors that the cat may be exhibiting can be related to each other, it is still a good idea to have a veterinarian check out the cat because the change in behavior could also be contributed to a disease that may need to be dealt with.
Some examples of a change in behavior are:
An aging cat that is usually shy and withdrawn begins to show aggressive behavior, it could just be that it is getting older and more ornery or it could be that it is in pain from some disease.
An aging cat may have been a very active young cat, but as it gets older it could become less mobile. Of course, this could very well just be a natural occurrence due to the cat getting older or it could be from arthritis which could be aided with medication from the veterinarian. This can also cause problems with the cat using the litter box as it has more trouble getting into it.
There may be an increase in trips to the litter box as the cat gets older. This change in behavior can often be connected to a health problem such as diabetes mellitus, kidney failure or other diseases. This change will also cause the cat’s litter box to need to be changed more frequently and if it is not changed enough the cat may decide to find another “litter box” somewhere else in the house.
These are just a few of the behavioral changes that may be seen as a cat ages. Even though they are common in aging cats, it does not mean that they are directly related to the cat aging and it certainly does not mean that a trip to the veterinarian won’t make the situation better. If a trip to the veterinarian improves the cat’s life, isn’t it worth it? Certainly it is so do not hesitate to visit the veterinarian at the first signs of behavioral changes.