Caring for Your Senior Aged Cat
Pet ownership carries with it the responsibility of being proactive in health care. There are certain steps that you may take to prevent health problems. We recommend the following.

1. Have your cat examined bi-annually unless there are health problems in which case he / she should be examined more frequently.
2. Keep vaccinations current.
3. Brush teeth daily.
4. Brush coat frequently to keep from matting.
5. Clip toe nails as needed to prevent overgrowth
6. Keep plenty of fresh water available and monitor its consumption.
7. Keep other pets from preventing your cat from free access to food and water.
8. Keep indoors all the time if possible but at least at night.
9. Weigh him/her on the same scale and record results at least every 60 days.

Early Signs of Disease
As your cat ages it is important to watch for signs of disease. Some of these are so minor that they may not seem significant. However, our goal is to diagnose and treat diseases in their early stages when the success rate is much higher. Present him/her for an examination when any of the following occur:
1. Sustained increase in water consumption. (Abnormal intake greater than 50mls per pound per day or approximately 1.5 cups/day for a 9-pound cat.)
2. Sustained increase in urination or amount of wet litter.
3. Weight loss.
4. Decrease in appetite or failure to eat for more than 2 consecutive days.
5. Increase in appetite.
6. Repeated vomiting.
7. Diarrhea that lasts over 2 days.
8. Difficulty in passing stool or urine or prolonged sitting or lying in the litter box.
9. Urinating or defecating outside the box.
10. Limping, lameness or difficulty jumping up or down.
11. Increased hiding, sleeping or time away from family.
12. Increased activity level.
13. Noticeable decrease in vision, especially if sudden in onset or pupils that do not constrict in bright light.
14. Masses, ulcerations (open sores), or multiple scabs on the skin.
15. Foul mouth odor or drooling.
16. Patches of fur loss.
17. Breathing heavily or rapidly at rest.
18. Inability to chew or eat dry food.

SPECIFIC DISEASES

POTASSIUM DEFICIENCY:
New research indicates that many senior cats have low levels of blood potassium. Studies have shown as high as 37% of all senior age cats are affected. It has been shown that LOW POTASSIUM MAY CONTRIBUTE TO KIDNEY FAILURE IN THE CAT. Additionally low blood potassium makes kidney dysfunction much worse.
WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND ALL SENIOR CATS BE PLACED ON POTASSIUM SUPPLEMENTATION. TUMIL-K®: is available as a tablet, powder, or gel for owner administration at home. You will be much better off if you supplement with TUMIL-K® rather than cat laxatives, vitamins, etc.

HYPERTHYROIDISM:

Hyperthyroidism is an increasing more common disease of older cats. In most all cases, it is caused by a non-malignant growth of the thyroid gland that causes an increased production of thyroid hormone. The cause of this growth is unknown at this time. Excess thyroid hormone leads to very serious complications in other body organs, especially the heart and kidneys. Signs of hyperthyroidism include:
• Weight Loss
• Enormous Appetite
• Poor Hair Coat
• Hyperactivity
• Vomiting and/or Diarrhea

Hyperthyroidism is a progressive disease. Signs, if untreated, will continue to worsen until the cat dies. Any senior aged cat exhibiting the above signs should be blood tested for high levels of thyroid hormone to diagnose the problem. If the problem is diagnosed early, treatment is very successful.