Veterinary medicine has come a long way over the past few decades. Many new procedures are available for testing and treating pets, including ultrasound, laser surgery, electro surgery, and endoscopy.
These new methods are often excellent choices for older cats because they take less time and are less invasive than their predecessors, or they require local rather than general anesthesia. As we shall see later, holistic and alternative approaches to veterinary medicine also have become more popular.
Another aspect of animal health care that has improved a lot in recent years is pain control. In the past, chronic or post surgical pain was usually treated conservatively or ignored altogether, leaving cats to suffer in silence.
Although many pain relievers cannot be used for cats, new pain relief medications have been developed that are safe and effective, especially for elderly cats. Some changes that come with the years affect your cat’s ability to handle her environment.
She will be less able to regulate her body temperature than when she was younger, and changes in her internal temperature can damage her heart and lungs. Her hearing and vision will become less acute, and her reaction time, slower, putting her more at risk of accidents or of being attacked by other animals.
She also may become disoriented at times and could become lost. If your cat has been used to going outdoors, you may not want to confine her all the time. Nevertheless, there is no question that cats live longer, healthier lives indoors.
At the least, consider limiting the time your older cat spends outdoors, especially at night or when the temperature is very hot or cold. Good health care, daily attention, and regular vet visits are essential if you want your senior cat to stay healthy as long as possible.