Is Your Senior Cat in Pain?

While our cats are generally living longer than ever before, a feline is still considered mature/senior at age 7 (the mid-40's in human years) and geriatric at 15 (76 years for a human). So although your kitty may be young at heart, it's important to remember that senior and geriatric cats are more at risk for arthritis, especially in the hips and spine, and, therefore, may have problems with chronic pain.

 

As we've discussed before, cats are masters of disguise and often don't show signs of pain until it's severe. Signs of orthopedic pain are subtle in cats and often not picked up unless the owner is probed with questions about the kitty’s behavior.

 

Because cats usually don't complain, it's especially important to be watchful. Have Kitty's behavior and activity patterns changed? Cats who once jumped up onto window sills or counter tops but now seem happy to sit on a low chair or the floor are suspicious for lower back pain. Cats who once bounded up the stairs but are now reluctant to go up or down might actually be painful. Inappropriate urination or defecation outside the litter box may also be due to lower back pain as it becomes painful to posture to eliminate.

 

senior cat pain

Radiographs (X-rays) are indicated to assess a cat's spine and hips. If arthritis is present, treatment may include weight loss, pain medications, glucosamine supplementation, therapeutic diets, or laser therapy. Our goal for your aging cat is to be pain-free and to have an excellent quality of life throughout his/her senior years.

 

If you think your senior cat may be in pain, contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians. 

 

This blog post originally appeared on The Drake Center.

Blog Category: