Senior Cat Care Challenges tips -part 2
By Claude West (Cat Man)
In part one, this blog covered why diet is so important for your senior cat. It also covered the concerns of comfort from arthritis and weather conditions. In this blog, we will look at two of the most common feline diseases plus preventative measures.
Senior Cat Health Care Challenges: the number one condition is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) or Chronic Renal Failure (CRF)
Most senior cats will have some degree of kidney disease unless you perform some preventative actions discussed in another blog. You should read my best tips to prevent kidney disease in cats before the disease starts. When cats advance in age, some of the first symptoms are increase drinking and urination. The tissues of the kidney scar reducing its ability to balance minerals in the blood, remove toxins and absorb water.
The cat will lose weight and muscle mass during the progression of the disease. Dehydration is also part of the process since they start losing their appetites and output exceeds the input. Keeping your cat well hydrated is very important during the progression of kidney disease. This is done by IV with either normal saline solution or lactated ringer’s solution. Most veterinarians recommend special diets with reduced protein in an effort to reduce phosphorus intake to the body.
Phosphorus is a mineral found in your bones. Along with calcium, phosphorus helps for building healthy strong bones, as well as keeping other parts of your body healthy. Normal working kidneys can remove extra phosphorus in your blood. With Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) the kidneys do not remove phosphorus very well.
Senior Cat health care challenges: understand that an appropriate diet is best for your cat:
High phosphorus levels are toxic and can cause damage parts of the body. Extra phosphorus in the blood will remove calcium out of the bones making them weak. High phosphorus and calcium levels in the blood can lead to dangerous calcium deposits in blood vessels, lungs, eyes, and heart.
I am not a big fan of prescription kidney diets since the sources of protein are poor. This will put more strain on the kidneys causing further failure. The best plan is a high quality protein diet and mix in a phosphorus binder. You can add the binder with wet food to tie up the phosphorus that naturally occurs in meat.
Binders are available from online stores, your veterinarian, and some health food stores. Reducing the protein in the cat’s diet will only cause more problems. The body will start breaking down muscle tissue to get the needed protein. This creates further weight and muscle mass loss. In taking care of your senior cat feeding them a wet meaty protein diet far outweighs low phosphorus diets.
If you really want to nail it, convert your kitty to a raw diet. Most cats initially resist since they have imprinted the food you feed them as what they should eat. Time and patience to convert to a different diet is required. Here is a link to my blog with tips about a raw diet.
Chronic kidney disease has no simple cure. Kidney transplants are available but only to the best candidates since it is major surgery. Often with kidney diseases, the treatments may cause other problems making it difficult to choose the right course. You will need to plan on regular checkups with your veterinarian so they can monitor the progress of this disease with blood and urine analysis.
Senior Cat Health Care Challenges:
I recommend keeping your cat very hydrated with wet canned foods and raw meaty bones. You should give your cat the proper supplements that support the immune system and the kidneys. Here is my recommended list of quality online stores found on my website. They have formulas for cats that give you the correct dosage levels. Your veterinarian or a certified animal naturopath should be involved with this process because other medications may not mix or perform well with the herbal supplements.
Senior Cat Health Care Challenges:
This is one of the most prevalent reasons pets go to see the veterinarian. After the age of three gingivitis begins to cause many oral problems. Most cats fed a dry food high in carbohydrates will suffer poor oral health. Your ideal meal to help a cat’s oral health is eating raw meaty bones.
The crunching of raw bones causes a scraping action in their mouth and helps reduce tartar and plaque. Consider brushing kitty’s teeth daily using enzymatic toothpaste designed for cats. Another option is having the veterinarian do a thorough cleaning. This is an expensive process requiring general anesthesia just like a surgery patient.
Applying organic coconut oil can help reduce oral bacteria that cause gingivitis. You can use gauze or a Q-tip to apply along the gum lines of kitty’s mouth. Having a helper when doing this is a good idea because cats are so defensive about this process.
Gingivitis can cause disease in many other organs and it only makes sense to include at least two yearly wellness checkups with your veterinarian. The older the cat the more important it is to have these examinations done more often than once a year. A senior cat is any cat that is twelve years of age or older.
Senior Cat Health Care Challenges
Because the topic of taking care of your senior cat is large there is a sequel to this article. Reprint requirements: Article reprinted in its entirety without alterations. Author and source required with the article.