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Getting ready for a senior

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hi Amy!

My oldest cat, Squirt, has just turned seven. Is there anything special I should be doing for him now....change in food, etc.? He in no way looks or acts as though he is ready for the senior home, but I guess I am wondering what subtle changes I should look for that indicate I should sign him up for AARP.

BTW, I would just like to thank you for taking the time to run this special forum for us. What a treat for TCS members!
post #2 of 4
(what a great kitty name...)

Seven years is right on the cusp of middle age. (Bet Squirt doesn't seem like a middle-ager, though *s*) Think of Squirt as being the equivalent of about a 45-year-old human.

Between 7-10 years, it's important to get some baseline tests run at the veterinarian, so you have a good "normal" to compare any future tests against. A blood test will show how well the kidneys and liver work, as well as other functions. There is a healthy range for "normal" but some cats (like some people) will be outside this range and still be healthy--it's important to know that.

Because cats age more quickly than people do, an annual exam may not be enough as your cat gets older. If one human year equals seven cat years, then twice-yearly checkups would mean Squirt is seen after aging about 3.5 years each visit.

There are a number of senior cat foods on the market. The biggest changes between these foods and "adult" maintenance formulas is the senior diets reduce calories, increase protein quality and increase digestibility. Some cats continue to do fine on a regular maintenance food--others greatly benefit from switching at age 7 or so to the new food. I'd suggest staying within family/brands -- if you've fed Iams, then switch to Eukanuba Mature Care, for example. If you've fed Cat Chow, switch to Senior Cat Chow.

Always switch foods gradually, of course--mixing 50/50 of the old and new for the first week, then slowly increasing the amount of the new food. Some cats (my Seren is one!) will gulp anything that doesn't move faster than they do. Other cats are more particular, or have "ify" tummies that get upset with change.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much, Amy. If he is on a light formula adult food right now, is it ok to stick with it?

The issue is that I also have 4 year-old Joey. He's not quite ready for the senior diet yet, and it's tough to dictate to 2 cats who is supposed to eat what.
post #4 of 4
If he's on the lite diet and doing well...don't mess with success! *s*

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