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What are the signs of advancing middle age?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Sam is still a fairly active cat, given enough motivation. I've had him for almost 2 years now. I was told when I adopted him that he was 5 years old, but I have no way of knowing if that was true. And I sometimes wonder if they underestimated his age to make him more adoptable. So he could be almost 7, or somewhat older than that.

So, I am wondering if there is anything I should look for, other than calendar years, to know when to consider changing his food to a senior cat formula. Or to start monitoring for some of the medical conditions of an aging cat.
post #2 of 4
You're a great cat caretaker to ask that. *s*

Veterinarians usually recommend that at about age 7-8 you have a blood profile panel run on the cat. This offers a good baseline reading of "normal" values, so that if/when anything changes in the future, you'll know.

Pet food companies design "senior" diets to be fed starting at about age 7. Senior diets typically have fewer calories, but a higher quality protein, and more digestible ingredients. Some products include added nutrients and they'll also adjust for urine pH. As some readers know, most "regular" cat foods are designed to promote an acidic urine--and that helps prevent the formation of struvite crystals.

However, an acidic urine PROMOTES the formation of calcium oxalate crystals, and that type of stone is much more common in older cats. For that reason, a number of senior cat diets now promote a more moderate, less acidic urine pH to prevent this.

A number of physical changes happen on the inside of the cat before we ever detect them. So a screening blood test, and transitioning to a senior cat food, can be a proactive way to prepare for your mature cat's needs.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks Amy. I will ask my vet to run a blood panel. He has not had one since I got him, because he was supposedly a healthy pet and we were not worried about disease. Would that give an indication of his age? Will that also indicate whether he needs a "lower acid" senior food, or is that just something that we do proactively?
post #4 of 4
The blood tests/baseline studies won't give you a definitive read on age--because cats are so different. Older cats ARE more prone to kidney insufficiency and to diabetes, but just because these tests are negative won't mean he's younger than 7, for instance. *s*

Your vet is the best person to make the judgement call on senior diet needs. S/he actually examines Sam, puts hands on the kitty, and interacts with him--

I'm just guestimating here. PLEASE always take the word of your vet over cyber-opinion, LOL!

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