Petcast: Senior Cat Guidelines


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Cats are living longer than ever before, and now the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has created Guidelines for Senior Cats called Senior Cats Have Special NeedsMy guest in this Merrick Pet Care Petcast is the amazing Dr. Hazel Carney, feline practitioner and Co-Chair of the AAFP Guidelines Committee. HEAR our conversation HERE.

Cats experience lots of changes as they age as do people and dogs, but cats cover up signs of pain the best they can.

Dr. Carney is able to translate – how a 16-year old cat, for example, is the same as any 80-year old person and a 20 year-old cat must then be the same as William Shatner.

We cover LOTS of ground in this Petcast, from rattling off lots of very subtle signs of pain in cats you might not be aware of. Cats hide chronic pain; in fact, arthritis is underdiagnosed in cats. Dr. Carney reveals how you can tell if your cat is hurting. Using a multi-modal approach, pain can certainly be treated FAR better today than even five years ago.  Today, there’s everything from drugs to the Assisi Loop to massage therapy to gentle range of motion exercises. Some of the treatment may simply be cat parents adjusting their environments, by providing cozy and warm places to rest, for example. And also easy enough for the cat to get to these place.

Senior cats may conceivably suffer from feline cognitive dysfunction (sometimes dubbed ‘Kitty Alzheimers’). We talk about how learning throughout life and providing an enriched environment might even delay or prevent the onset of cognitive impairment with age. And how Dr. Carney has fun surprising older cats with crickets (her idea of fun might not be the same as yours, but cats enjoy it). We also discuss avoiding obesity and nutrition.