On average, cats spend 2/3 of every day sleeping. That means a nine-year-old cat has been awake for only three years of its life! And cats tend to sleep more as they get older…
As cats age it’s not surprising that they like to take life a little bit easier. There’s a bit less rushing around and a bit more lazing around to be done! Cats reach ‘old age’ around about 10 years old and some cats will start to show the signs of ageing at about 7 years of age. As vets we tend to think of cats as being in their senior years once they reach around 7, and that’s often when specialised diets can be useful to keep cats in good shape as they get older.
A 7 year old cat is no pensioner, and they shouldn’t be in need of a bus pass to get around! But you might find that they’re not climbing to the tops of trees or balancing quite so well on narrow walls or fences. If you start to see your cat struggling to jump up on furniture or having difficulty getting through the cat flap or into the litter tray, this could be a sign of age related joint pain or arthritis. There’s plenty that can be done to help you keep your older cat moving so it’s always worth getting them checked out.
More time sleeping and a less time chasing around can cause cats to put on weight as they age. That middle age spread can also put cats at increased risk of diseases such as diabetes, so the right diet can make all the difference. It’s equally common to find that older cats can start to lose weight – but this shouldn’t be put down simply to old age. There are a range of diseases which can cause weight loss in older cats, but many of these can be treated effectively if caught early. That’s another reason why regular health checks are invaluable for an older cat, as their weight can be monitored over time.
With all that time asleep, the life of a cat should be pretty laid back and relaxed! If you do start to notice any changes in the behaviour, mobility or weight of your cat as they get older then get it checked out for free during Senior Cat Month.