Aging – Feline – Age +8yrs - Outdoor or Partially Outdoor Cat
Our Preventative Healthcare Plans allow our attending veterinarians to offer a reward program, based on professional services, for preventative screening. Your veterinary team will evaluate your pet’s predominant breed, age, medical history, lifestyle, and condition to create a Health Risk Assessment (HRA)—identifying your pet’s risk for potential disease. During this evaluation, we can have a family discussion, creating actionable items and a vaccination plan. Our goal? To guard your pet against infectious diseases, and allow us to manage other non-infectious diseases or conditions should they occur.
Components of this Life-stage Program
Characteristics: Senior cats are an average of 50-70yrs old in human years. They are experienced and independent. "Wear and Tear Diseases" often begin to present at this phase of life. Cats older than 8 do not compete as well for resources inside or outside of the home. 1 in 3 cats older than 10yrs can develop arthritis.
Elderly cats are average of 75 - 85 yrs old in human years. They may appear aloof or come off as a bit grumpy. This may be a sign of arthritis or sensory issues such as hearing loss. Elderly cats enjoy the here and now and are dependent on you for their care and comfort. 1 in 3 cats older than 10yrs can develop arthritis. 2.5% of all cats over 12yrs develop CDS/Dementia, though this figure may likely be much higher.
Aging Cats Are Prone to: Dehydration; kidney disease; urinary and bladder diseases, dental, odontoclastic and periodontal diseases, and endocrine disorders, diabetes, hyperthyroidism; cardiac disease; cancers; skin injuries; joint diseases; a more severe response to infectious diseases, such as upper respiratory viruses, due to a diminished immune system.
Outdoor Cats Are Prone to: Internal parasites (more common in kittenhood, less common in their prime, but common again during aging); Tick exposure, Heartworm Disease and Retroviral diseases (FIV/FLV) if partially to fully outdoors, dental disorders if FIV positive; Bullying by younger encroachers, Accidental injury due to decreases in reflexes and senses
In addition to healthcare: Indoor cats need new enrichment to keep fit since their environment does not typically change, and training them to exercise on their own can be difficult. Plan on re-assessing your cat's home enrichment and activity if your cat lives indoors. Renew all accessories every few years such as food puzzles, safe scratching items, etc. It's wise to consider a plan to retire cats from the outdoors as they age. They are also prone to further injury due to less elastic skin, joint degradation, and diminished agility.
Regularly engaging your cat in moderate to light play, depending on age and condition, can promote muscle tone, increase blood circulation, and help reduce weight gain. Add a pet fountain to encourage water and proper hydration. Make high-quality canned food available to your cat to increase dietary moisture content. Please consider introducing a new pet, before age 10 to minimize stress/anxiety. Consider adding treat-type supplements such as Feline Senior Vitality Pro, or Glyco-Flex begin talking with us about arthritis pain when present.
Safe zones and litter pan access/height should be re-evaluated to prevent pain due to arthritic changes. Your senior cat or elderly cat will likely need daily brushing at home or monthly grooming by a professional. Plan for sedation dentistry before your cat experiences advanced dental disease.
A special note for cats over 12yrs old (75+ human years): Introducing changes in family structure such as introducing a new pet, may be difficult for an elderly cat. New pet adoptions can be successful but should be very carefully planned to prevent stress on the elderly cat's immune system. A litter pan ramp, more than one litter pan per cat, and ensuring that a litter pan is on each floor of the home that your cat regularly accesses, should provide your cat with adequate hygiene resources to help avoid house soiling. Your cat may not groom him/herself well due to arthritis. You may wish to add holistic supplements or consider acupuncture or a cold-laser physical therapy regimen to manage pain.
Maintain a nutritious food appropriate for senior or aging cats, with your pet's lifestyle & energy needs in mind. Your aging pet's diet may need prescription help should they have a medical condition and we can help with that. We can even safely help you get your pet's food ship to your door via Purina ProPlan our Online Pharmacy, or HillstoHome for the best price without sacrificing value. Keep oral hygiene in mind. Plan for a separate dental exam twice yearly after age 12. Continue to practice safe, smart lifestyle-related activities--such as car travel with cat carrier training, etc. You do not have to struggle to introduce your older cat to a travel crate! There are lots of tips available online—some include video blogs to help introduce your cat to safer, saner travel.
Unfortunately, fleas do not care whether your cat lives indoors or goes outside, is 6 months or 16 years! Now more than ever your again cat will need more help to combat fleas because s/he may have more difficulty grooming a haircoat normally if arthritis is present. Adequate flea control is very important and planning prevention is worth the health and safety efforts that you can put into place. Revolution Plus, Bravecto Plus, or Provecta for Cats are safe and effective options. Revolution Plus or Bravecto Plus helps prevent ear mites as well as ticks and heartworms in cats. Zoetis Petcare Rewards are given in the form of a pre-paid visa card when you purchase certain quantities exclusively from a veterinary clinic in-house or online and can be used to pay for next year’s preventative care plan! Consider the HomeAgain Pet Recovery and TempScan Microchip system for your pet if you haven't already selected a microchip service yet. Your pet is never too old to have a microchip. The new TempScan technology allows us to instantly assess your cat's temperature by simply petting the cat with the microchip scanner!
Preventative Healthcare Plan Services for Cats
Our progressive reputation has led us to where we are today with our Preventative Healthcare Plan Services. Gregg J. Gormley, DVM, our Medical Director was an experienced sole practitioner in 2001 and he partnered with Carol A. Gormley, RN—Our Practice Manager at the time and now our Hospital Administrator--to create the first veterinary “Wellness Program” in the Evansville, Indiana area which bundled discounted screening and rewarded our patients with over 100 medical, surgical and boarding service discounts PLUS free core vaccinations every year! An entire generation of dogs and cats have partners with Highland to prevent heartworms, and monitor wear and tear diseases and have enjoyed a lifetime of prevention against rabies, distemper virus, and more without paying a dime for the vaccine.
At the beginning of this program, Molly Welch was their head patient technician, and in 2005 Melissa Gormley was their lead CSR. Molly and Melissa have since gone on to become the Practice Manager (PM) of Finance and Operations, respectively. Each PM can confidently say that today they have learned a lot by evolving these programs and working with Dr. and Mrs. Gormley to continue to customize them and broaden them—always taking advantage of the latest progressive screening techniques, technologies, immunizations, and preventatives to offer a spectrum of customizable and affordable bundles and plans for their patients. We always ask if this were my best friend—what is within reach? What would I want to know and how would I want to improve my pet’s life?