Cats generally live longer than dogs – it’s not uncommon for veterinarians to deal with cats over 15 years of age.
However, their life expectancy is influenced by genetics and the environment. As a result, the actual age of a cat does not always coincide with the physiological age.
An important role in maintaining the health of an aging Maine Coon is feeding. But in this article, we will discuss the medical aspects that affect the life expectancy of a cat.
Veterinarians identify several pathological conditions that are most common in cats over 12 years of age.
This is a disease of the thyroid gland, in which the gland produces an increased amount of thyroid hormones. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism do not appear suddenly. They grow gradually, so many owners associate weight loss, dullness of the coat with old age. And only when digestion is also affected (increased appetite and regular diarrhea), the owner comes to the veterinary clinic.
To establish the diagnosis, it is necessary to examine the hormone T4 (total fraction) in the blood.
Chronic kidney disease
Chronic kidney disease is a disease of these organs that lasts at least three months. It is characterized by serious irreversible changes in the structure of the kidneys. Hyperthyroidism, which we have already discussed, is one of the causes of chronic kidney disease. But it can also develop spontaneously.
External symptoms are quite common for many diseases: weight loss, refusal to feed, weakness, vomiting, constipation. Of the specific signs, an unpleasant smell of urine from a cat can be noted.
For diagnosis, they examine the blood, urine and make an ultrasound of the cat’s abdominal cavity. It is very important to diagnose the disease at an early stage. This will avoid serious damage to the kidneys, which can no longer be restored.
Weight loss is a non-specific sign often seen in aging cats. It can occur against the background of vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst and urination.
A cat can also lose weight from the fact that it eats poorly due to a decrease in appetite or because of a problem with its teeth. In addition, a cat may eat well, but she has diseases of the digestive tract, due to which nutrients are poorly absorbed.
Cats older than 8 years often have diabetes. If an older cat lives in a family of other cats, you need to check if they are pushing her away from the bowl. In order to figure out why a cat is losing weight against the background of a good or bad appetite, it will be necessary to conduct a comprehensive examination.
Owners most often say that their old cat leaves excrement in the wrong place or meows at night. Most often, these cats suffer from other diseases, which leaves an imprint on the behavior of animals. The most common causes are cognitive dysfunction syndrome, osteoarthritis, systemic hypertension secondary to hyperthyroidism or chronic kidney disease, deafness, and brain tumors.
Examinations that veterinarians recommend for cats older than 8 years 1-2 times a year:
- General clinical blood test
- Biochemical analysis of blood, including phosphorus and potassium.
Currently available is the measurement of SDMA in the blood, an enzyme whose
level allows you to catch kidney disease at the earliest stages.
- General urine analysis.
- T4 thyroid hormone is common.
- Determination of antibodies to viral leukemia and feline
immunodeficiency, if the cat has been outside at least once.
- X-ray examination of the chest and abdomen and joints.
Owners of aging cats very often mistake changes in the cat’s condition for “normal age-related changes”, so many dangerous pathologies remain unrecognized and are not treated. Regular preventive examinations by a veterinarian will keep your beloved Maine Coon healthy for as long as possible!