Animals

Signs of aging in your cat

Cats are spectacular creatures that, as the years go by, seem to have drunk from the fountain of eternal youth. But, although they always look young and shiny, like all creatures in the world, they also age.

Although we do not realize, old age in cats is a process that occurs faster than in other animals, in fact, a cat is considered older when it reaches the age of 7 years. As with humans, once a cat reaches this stage its health begins to decline and show signs of aging.

As human companions of our pets, it is important to know when that phase begins to take appropriate measures and provide you with the most suitable lifestyle. We invite you to read this new Animal Expert article where you will know which are Old-age symptoms in cats.

Don't expect your cat to go from black to white, but know that cats also gray hair. This is a sign that your skin is aging, and although your fur will not necessarily change completely, you can see your cat's gray hair in the area of ​​the mouth and near his eyebrows and nose. Gray hairs will also begin to appear on the legs and spine and this will spread somewhat more.

Hearing loss does not happen in all cats but it is very common. So if you call your cat several times and he does not attend as quickly, it is because his ear is not as young as before. There are different levels of severity, while in some cases it is sometimes not as noticeable, in other cases, the cat will end up completely deaf.

If you notice any major changes it will be necessary go to the vet to rule out the presence of some other health problem. The same goes for vision loss and smell. The degeneration of the senses in your pet will bring a deficit of attention, and he / she could begin to present some clumsiness in their movements and to manifest changes in their mood, so it could be somewhat irascible.

3. Changes in eating habits, overweight or thinness

When your cat is aging you will see that he will eat slower than before and even eat less. He will no longer be as devouring of food as he was before, when he was younger. That is because your digestive system will work slower, and this could bring constipation problems. The speed will drop and digestion will become more difficult, so your cat could start losing weight. You will have to change the portions of your diet and restructure your nutritional life. On the other hand, because the physical activity of older cats decreases, many of them will have a tendency to gain weight.

The physical changes are very relative. The situation could be complicated when we do not attend to these signs since it is possible that they are also manifestations of diabetes. If, for example, your cat eats a lot and is looking for water all day and still losing weight, you should take it to the veterinarian because you may have this disease.

4. Slow movement

Is your cat no longer as jumping and active as it used to be? That is because he is getting older. Cats when they age they become more lazyThey prefer to sleep all day before chasing a mouse that escaped from their home. It will also cost you more to move around and perform those contortionist movements that you used to do and that captured your full attention.

He will continue playing but with less feline intensity and will get bored faster. You will walk stiffer and with less fluidity, this may indicate that you have a problem with joints or muscle, especially, by the area of ​​the hips and hind legs, these being typical signs of age.

5. Teeth problems

Old cats have their teeth weakened with age. They could be more sensitive, and if they have a tendency to tartar, it could accelerate problems of gingivitis, stomatitis (general inflammation of the gums and their supports).

Even, like humans, some cats, they could lose teeth, which will make the process of eating difficult. To help your cat and that this does not represent too much discomfort, you should replace your usual feed with a more natural one and consider oral hygiene.

Remember that elderly cats they need more care that an adult cat as well as a special interest in its feeding and state of health. For that reason, do not hesitate to visit our complete guide for the care of elderly cats.

This article is purely informative, at ExpertAnimal.com we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to The 5 symptoms of old age in most frequent cats, we recommend you go to our Other health problems section.

Teeth problems

further cat teeth weaken with age and they can even lose some piece, so it will cost them more to eat (and let's not say hunting, if it's a farm cat). Also, cats with a lot of tartar, can suffer problems such as gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) or stomatitis (generalized inflammation of the gums and their supporting tissues), which causes the feline to feel pain when eating and may even stop Eat food because of this pain. Ideally, check the cat's mouth from time to time to check for the absence of tartar and gum inflammation. In addition, they need a correct diet based on natural feed or raw food.

Joint pains

Another important sign is that the cat stops making its needs in the sand tray and makes them right next to it. This may be due to the fact that many mininos, when they get older, have joint or muscular pains in the area of ​​the hind legs and hip. Thus, the cat stops jumping to places where he used to climb, such as chairs, tables or even his scraper, and when he goes to the tray he feels pain in his hind legs and the type of sand prevents him from being in balance. The one who makes the needs next to the tray instead of it, indicates that the cat really wants to do his things in the sand, but for some reason he can't. In this case, it will be necessary to consider changing the sand.

Loss of senses

Older cats, like people, can gradually lose their senses, smell, hearing or vision. This would produce a lack of attention from our little friend, clumsiness in his movements and irascibility. In addition, older cats seek to be calm and scar if they are bothered, especially if they want to be caught all the time. You have to respect your hours of sleep and tranquility.

Renal problems

In addition, elderly cats can suffer from kidney failure and urinate out of their tray, on horizontal and soft surfaces. If this begins to occur, it is recommended to do a urine test to verify that it is indeed a renal failure. This coupled with the lack of hygiene that usually appears with age, makes it difficult to live with an older cat. The elderly devote less time to personal hygiene, whether due to physical pain, which prevents them from moving, or a problem in the mouth. Therefore, the fur of older cats is usually less shiny and soft than that of a young cat.

Thanks to the lack of activity older cats tend to get fat. You may also begin to have diabetes at this age. If you drink a lot of water, eat a lot, but still lose weight, you may have diabetes. In addition to taking it to the veterinarian, it will be necessary to strictly control the diet of our pet.

A final sign or danger of age is that unsterilized cats and cats have a greater tendency to suffer tumors, especially in females, females and males in the prostate. Felines sterilized at an early age have a lower risk of cancer.

There are many other symptoms that may indicate that our dear friend is getting old. Many of them are signs of diseases that cats suffer when they get older. Therefore, before any symptoms or behavior change in our pet, we must go to the veterinarian.

Symptoms of old age in cats

When to consider that my cat is older? What should I change?

Note: I appreciate you sharing this article, always citing its authorship at the bottom of the article and the original link.

The average age of a cat is usually between 10 and 15 years, but there are cats that have lived up to 25 years. There are many factors that influence the longevity of cats, especially cats that live indoors and are fed properly tend to live longer. Otherwise, cats that live in the streets have an average life of 3 to 6 years, since apart from the dangers they face daily (cars, poisoning, dogs), they are exposed to diseases such as feline leukemia and immunodeficiency, fights with other cats and being wild it is very difficult to catch them for veterinary assistance. Feral or wild cats that live in rural areas (farms, forest, etc.) can live the same years as any domestic cat that lives indoors.

A cat is considered an adult from approximately one and a half years (18 months), although usually from 5-6 months of age it is already fully developed and can reproduce. When the cat reaches 10 years of age, it is when we start talking about an older cat, and symptoms of old age may appear.

Possible symptoms that our cat starts to get older

There are cats that despite having 10 years or more do not appear, but usually we begin to realize by the following symptoms:

Activity drop

He prefers to rest, and there is a notable decrease in activity, spending more hours sleeping. You can continue to have some moments of play, but less frequent or less intense.

Problems when eating

Especially cats whose feeding has been based on soft food or homemade food without having had anything to gnaw, have a tendency to accumulate more tartar on their teeth. When they are older, cats with a lot of tartar can suffer from problems such as gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) or stomatitis (generalized inflammation of the gums and supporting tissues), which makes the cat feel pain when eating even leaving to eat for it.

Ideally, check our cat's mouth from time to time to see that it does not have tartar or swollen gums. A correct diet could be based on natural feed or raw / natural food (ACBA).

Sand Tray Problems

Many cats when they get older have joint or muscle aches, especially in the hind legs and hip. This causes the cat to stop jumping for example to places where it used to climb, such as chairs, tables, and even its own scraper. Likewise, it happens in many cases that the cat begins to make its needs out of the tray, but right next to it. This is identified with a problem with the sandbox. If nothing has changed at home and we suspect that the cat may have pain, it may be that when he goes to the tray he feels pain in his hind legs, and if the sand he uses is very thick, this justifies his feeling more comfortable doing his needs on the ground because you don't have to do so much balance and therefore have less pain. Doing it next to the tray gives us clues: the cat really wants to do his needs there, but for some reason he can't, and he does it next. If you make your needs elsewhere in the house, we may be talking about many other problems that should be studied.

Decreased senses

The older cat, like people, may lose olfactory, hearing or vision sensitivity. This can cause a lack of attention or clumsiness in their movements that should be observed.

Humor changes

The older cat seeks tranquility and can be irritable if he is disturbed, especially if there are younger animals at home trying to play with him, or if we are too overwhelming trying to catch him all the time. You have to respect your hours of sleep and tranquility. A partner too young and nervous is not recommended for an older cat.

Lack of hygiene

Lack of hygiene is a symptom of illness or pain, but if we talk about older cats, there is a decrease in their own personal hygiene, taking less time to wash themselves. Normally it is because you have some physical pain that prevents you, for example, washing the back area (caudal), or problems in the mouth. The fur of older cats is usually less shiny and soft than that of a young cat.

Renal problems

One of the major causes of death in elderly cats is a renal failure or failure. Normally this problem begins with the cat urinating outside its tray, on horizontal and normally soft surfaces (beds, sofas, clothes). In these cases it is recommended to make a urine test to the cat to see if everything is okay.

Weight gain

Due to lack of activity, older cats tend to get fat. It is when we must review your diet and give it adequate food. Our veterinarian can help us choose the ideal food.

Diabetes

It is a very common disease, especially in older and obese cats, so we must take care of our cat's diet. Obese cats are very predisposed to suffer from it. We notice that the cat drinks a lot of water, slims but eats a lot, etc.

Possible Tumors

Unsterilized cats and cats are more likely to have tumors, especially females in the breasts and males in the prostate. Also unsterilized females are more likely to suffer from pyrometers, which is an infection of the uterus. Sterilized cats at an early age have a lower risk of cancer.

Other symptoms

There are many other symptoms that may indicate that our cat begins to be older, many of them are symptoms of various diseases that cats suffer more frequently in old age. That is why before any symptoms or changes we see in our cat, it is important to consult the veterinarian.

Recommendations to have a healthy and happy cat

- From 8 years of age we recommend an annual visit to the veterinarian to check your general health.

- A correct diet is a good health insurance.

- It is ideal that we play with our cat on a daily basis so that he is always fit, mentally and physically, proposing games that involve the hunt of some object or food, never our hands. Propose mental stimulation games, in which you have to find the prize or hunt it. (Read the activity of cats as prevention of behavioral problems)

- Avoid causing stress or tension for our cat, always respecting his sleep hours and not bothering him.

Related Posts:

  • "The old cat"
  • "My cat urinates out of the sandbox"

Laura Trillo Carmona, Natural Cats Therapist and Feline Communicator

Feline Therapy

Treatment of the behavior of cats in Positive and with Natural Therapies. Courses, workshops and training on Feline Behavior, Bach Flowers for cats, Feline Communication, throughout Spain and online. Therapy to cats with problems and their people, prevention of behavioral problems, working the relationship between the cat and his person, holistically, with the Heart. Bach flowers, Reiki, Animal Communication Entrespecies, Light Codes, Akashic Records, always with respect and love for the cat as it is. Consultations and treatments - Courses of feline behavior and floral essences.

Possible symptoms that our cat starts to get older

There are cats that despite having 10 years or more do not appear, but usually we begin to realize by the following symptoms:

    Activity drop

He prefers to rest, and there is a notable decrease in activity, spending more hours sleeping. You can continue to have some moments of play, but less frequent or less intense.

Problems when eating

Especially cats whose feeding has been based on soft food or homemade food Without having had anything to gnaw, they tend to accumulate more tartar on their teeth. When they are older, cats with a lot of tartar can suffer from problems such as gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) or stomatitis (generalized inflammation of the gums and supporting tissues), which makes the cat feel pain when eating even leaving to eat for it.

Ideally, check our cat's mouth from time to time to see that it does not have tartar or swollen gums. A correct diet could be based on natural feed or raw / natural food (ACBA).

Sand Tray Problems

Many cats when they get older present joint or muscle aches, especially on the hind legs and on the hip. This causes the cat to stop jumping for example to places where it used to climb, such as chairs, tables, and even its own scraper. Likewise, it happens in many cases that the cat begins to make its needs out of the tray, but right next door. This is identified with a problem with the sandbox. If nothing has changed at home and we suspect that the cat may have pain, it may be that when he goes to the tray he feels pain in his hind legs, and if the sand he uses is very thick, this justifies his feeling more comfortable doing his needs on the ground because you don't have to do so much balance and therefore have less pain. Doing it next to the tray gives us clues: the cat really wants to do his needs there, but for some reason he can't, and he does it next. If you make your needs elsewhere in the house, we may be talking about many other problems that should be studied.

Decreased senses

The older cat, like people, may lose olfactory, hearing or vision sensitivity. This can produce a lack of attention or clumsiness in his movements that should be observed.

Humor changes

The older cat seeks tranquility and can be irritable if he is disturbed, especially if there are younger animals at home trying to play with him, or if we are too overwhelming trying to catch him all the time. Must respect your hours of sleep and tranquility. A partner too young and nervous is not recommended for an older cat.

Lack of hygiene

Lack of hygiene is a symptom of illness or pain, but if we talk about older cats, there is a decrease in their own personal hygiene, dedicating less time to wash themselves. Normally it is because he has some physical pain that imp

Renal problems

One of the biggest causes of death In elderly cats it is a renal failure or failure. Normally this problem begins with the cat urinating outside its tray, on horizontal and normally soft surfaces (beds, sofas, clothes). In these cases it is recommended to make a urine test to the cat to see if everything is okay.

Weight gain

Due to lack of activity, older cats tend to get fat. It is when we must review your diet and give it adequate food. Our veterinarian can help us choose the ideal food.

Diabetes

It is a very common disease, especially in older and obese cats, so we must take care of our cat's diet. Obese cats are very predisposed to suffer from it. We notice that the cat drinks a lot of water, slims but eats a lot, etc.

Possible Tumors

Unsterilized cats and cats are more likely to have tumors, especially females in the breasts and males in the prostate. Also unsterilized females are more likely to suffer from pyrometers, which is an infection of the uterus. Sterilized cats at an early age have a lower risk of cancer.

Other symptoms

There are many other symptoms that may indicate that our cat begins to be older, many of them are symptoms of various diseases that cats suffer more frequently in old age. It is because of that before any symptoms or changes that we see in our cat, it is important to consult the veterinarian.

[You can expand information with the article Disorders in age-related cats]

Recommendations to have a healthy and happy cat

  • From 8 years of age we recommend making a annual visit to the veterinarian to check your general health status.
  • Proper nutrition is good health insurance.
  • It is ideal that let's play with our cat daily so that he is always fit, mentally and physically, proposing games that involve the hunt of some object or food, never our hands. Propose mental stimulation games, in which you have to find the prize or hunt it.
  • Avoid causing stress or tension for our cat, always respecting his sleep hours and not bothering him.

Laura Trillo Carmonacat therapist

Feline Therapy teaches Complete courses on the cat and its behavior throughout Spain, find out on the web www.terapiafelina.com.

Feline Therapy

Correction of cat behavior, advice to owners, courses on feline behavior, therapies to cats with problems, prevention of unwanted behaviors, working with Bach Flowers, Reiki, Animal Communication, always with respect and love for the cat as it is.

Latest Comments on this article (15)

By tobbie on 03/18/2014 at 02: 21h

Hello, I would like to know what I should do with my kitten, because every time we play, he runs around the house and then he returns and grabs me by the legs, he argues them ugly, it's like he was not hunting his prey. Please help me I love him very much, he will be 3 years old.

By pata4blancas4 on 05/14/2013 at 08: 11h

By gatunita34 on 08/02/2013 at 03: 35h

I give him some care so that he has a good and quiet old age? Is my cat daughter named Lizzy?

By duka on 11/12/2012 at 3:16 p.m.

By duka on 12/11/2012 at 15: 14h

#0
The average age of a cat is usually between 10 and 15 years old, but there are cats that have come to live up to 25 years. There are many factors that influence the longevity of cats, especially cats that live indoors and are fed properly tend to live longer. Otherwise, cats that live in the streets have an average life of 3 to 6 years, since apart from the dangers they face daily (cars, poisoning, dogs), they are exposed to diseases such as feline leukemia and immunodeficiency, fights with other cats and being wild it is very difficult to catch them for veterinary assistance. Feral or wild cats that live in rural areas (farms, forest, etc.) can live the same years as any domestic cat that lives indoors.

A cat is considered an adult from approximately one and a half years (18 months), although usually from 5-6 months of age it is already fully developed and can reproduce. When the cat reaches 10 years of age, is when we start talking about an older cat, and symptoms of old age may appear.

How old will my cat live?

When does the third age of cats begin? While some felines begin to suffer the physical changes that warn of their arrival in old age after seven years, "do not become elderly until 12 years of age," point out the veterinarians of the Association of Feline Physicians.

And how old will the furry friend live? The average life expectancy for domestic cats ranges from 16 to 21 years, "although advances and veterinary treatments allow them to even overcome that barrier," concludes, for its part, the publication Animal Research, a huge international database of scientific data on animal health.

And the most important: old age of the feline is not a disease, even if it involves important physical and psychological changes for them and they are more vulnerable to ailments. The key to getting a senior cat healthy and happy as many years as possible is to take care of it as it deserves. And, for that, it is important to recognize what happens when you get older.

What happens when cats age?

The aging of the feline, like that of humans, implies a series of physical and behavioral changes that need to be known. "Compared to the body of a young cat, the elderly have an immune system less prepared to fight foreign agents, so it is normal for chronic diseases to appear"concludes a study conducted by Cornell University (USA). The dehydration, consequence of many of these pathologies, only aggravates the problem: it lowers the blood circulation and slows down the functioning of the pet's immune system. Therefore, the veterinarian should be visited more frequently.

Elderly cats get worse

An elderly cat wanders uneasily at home, meats more than usual and can get disoriented

The skin of an elderly feline loses elasticity and becomes thinner. This is normal, because it has reduced your blood circulation and explains why you are more exposed to infections and skin diseases. What can be done? It can help you take care of it with brushed. An elderly cat is less effective in its daily task of grooming itself, so it can also have more problems with hairballs - dangerous because they clog its digestive system - its skin has a more intense smell and skin diseases can appear.

But elderly mininos not only neglect the cleanliness of their skin. As well they forget to groom their nails as often as they used to. Therefore, it is not strange that they need to have their nails trimmed. These are several tricks to cut the cat's nails at home without stress.

Memory loss and Alzheimer's disease in cats

Elderly cats, like people, also lose memory, so it is not uncommon for them to change their personality and other alterations in their behavior related to old age. Some signs that the cat is getting old is that wandering uneasily through the house, meow more than usualcan even disorienting and avoiding interactions with other house cats.

But not only that. Cats, like people and dogs, also suffer from Alzheimer's disease. In cats, this degeneration of the central nervous system affects one in three children over 11 years old. Here are all the keys to recognize Alzheimer's disease in cats and to take care of it.

Elderly cats: less active, eat worse and with kidney problems

Elderly cats are less active than young cats, so your muscle tone is reduced and your desire to run or climb decreases. This lack of physical activity contributes to the degeneration of the joints and to greater associated pains (arthritis), so some refuse to climb to elevated sites or use their sandbox normally. The key? Gatify the houses for elderly cats, with ramps and fewer obstacles.

"In addition, it is common for elderly felines don't want to eat so much, since their senses of taste and smell also lose with age, "add veterinarians of the Feline Medicine Group. They are also very frequent loss of vision and tooth problems, so the pain can explain that they put resistance to eat.

Failures in the functioning of the kidneys also grow with age. Here are tricks to understand how stones are formed in the kidneys of cats and how to care for them.

Text: Dr. Oscar Alexander Roa Acosta (M.V. USL)

Due to the technological advances that have been experienced in recent years and especially in the area of ​​veterinary medicine and animal nutrition, a gradual increase in the average life span of our pets, whether cats or dogs.

The maximum life of a domestic cat is believed to be up to thirty years, but on average it is fourteen years, thanks to the control of infectious diseases, nutritional improvement and also in the genetic and environmental aspect, which is why the increase in the population of geriatric animals is increasingly evident.

It is then of great relevance that all the efforts we make to provide these cats with a better quality of life are few, due to the great affection and attachment they have developed with their owners throughout their lives. Therefore, in this article I intend that we give due importance to veterinary medical assistance and to the adequate nutritional part to this very important fraction of the feline population that we now have as pets.

THE NORMAL PHYSIOLOGICAL CHANGES THAT CAN BE PRESENTED BY AGING OUR CAT
When the age of our cat is advanced, its organism presents a gradual decline in the functional capacity of its organs, which begins shortly after it has reached maturity. Different organic systems age with different speed and the degree of commitment of a function that is manifested before showing obvious clinical signs of a possible failure, depends on many factors of the animal's life, although an animal can manifest serious pathological effects of aging after seven years, others being 11 years old do not manifest them, as it is also common for an animal of geriatric age to have several types of disease both.

As can be deduced, this variability implies that old cats must be assessed individually, verifying what functional changes in their various organic systems have occurred and not the chronological age to classify them within the population. geriatric

Changes in tissues:
Over the years, the skin loses elasticity and is less flexible as a result of the increase in calcium and pseudoelastin content of elastic fibers. This loss of elasticity is often accompanied by an increase in keratin (hyperkeratosis) in the skin and follicles, the latter being able to atrophy and cause loss or loss of hair. La p rdida de las c lulas pigmentarias en los fol culos pilosos produce la aparici n de pelo blanco (canas), que se observa muchas veces alrededor del hocico y la cara. La incidencia de neoplasias cut neas aumenta con la edad.

Cambios en el sistema alimentario:
El efecto del envejecimiento puede afectar directamente a la capacidad del gato para consumir, digerir (afecciones buco dentales) y metabolizar el alimento. La aparici n de placa bacteriana en los dientes, la enfermedad periodontal, p rdida de piezas dentales y el declinar en el funcionamiento de las gl ndulas salivares pueden contribuir al descenso de la ingesta de alimentos. Adicionalmente, el descenso normal en la motilidad intestinal (colon) propio de la edad, puede predisponer a algunos animales viejos al estre imiento, de tal manera que, actualmente, las dietas para felinos viejos vienen con niveles m s altos en fibra, mejorando el tr nsito intestinal y con nutrientes
de mayor digestibilidad.

Cambios en el sistema urinario:
La insuficiencia renal es una de las principales causas de enfermedad y mortalidad en los gatos geri tricos. La enfermedad renal en los gatos viejos afecta directamente a la nutrici n y al manejo diet tico, porque la insuficiencia renal cl nica se asocia con p rdida de peso, degradaci n de la masa muscular, alteraci n del perfil de prote nas plasm ticas, disminuci n en la ingesta, mala absorci n intestinal y reducci n en la asimilaci n y uso de nutrientes. Se produce tambi n la acumulaci n de productos metab licos de las prote nas, de los cuales la urea ejerce gran importancia porque contribuye al desarrollo de anomal as cl nicas y fisiol gicas en la insuficiencia renal. Por tal motivo, las modificaciones diet ticas que se hagan a estos animales intentan reducir la acumulaci n de aquellos en el torrente sangu neo, aportando, por otra parte, una cantidad adecuada de prote na y de energ a para mantener el peso y disminuir la degradaci n muscular asociada a la avanzada edad y a la alteraci n de la funci n renal.

Cambios en el sistema m sculo esquel tico:
Al avanzar la edad de nuestros gatos, se inicia una disminuci n en el porcentaje de fibras en el organismo y en la masa sea. Tanto el n mero como el tama o de las c lulas musculares disminuye con la edad y la sustancia compacta de los huesos largos se hace m s fina, densa y brillante. Esto puede ser ocasionado por la inadecuada
absorci n de calcio a nivel intestinal. Algunos animales viejos pueden sufrir de artritis, siendo esto agravado si tambi n hay obesidad al mismo tiempo.

Cambios en el sistema cardiovascular:
Las enfermedades cardiacas son una de las causas m s frecuentes de mortalidad en animales viejos. El rendimiento cardiaco disminuye hasta en un 30 por 100 entre la etapa media de la vida y la vejez. Tambi n disminuyen de forma significativa la frecuencia cardiaca m xima y el consumo de ox geno durante el ejercicio. Otro efecto que se manifiesta con la edad es una inflamaci n del endocardio de origen bacteriano, ocasionada por un inadecuado manejo diet tico y de la salud oral de los mininos (enfermedad periodontal cr nica). En felinos con cardiopat a iniciada en edad adulta, la fibrosis y la necrosis mioc rdica interferir n eventualmente con las v as de conducci n normales y se producir n arritmias.

Un cambio que se presenta en los vasos sangu neos es el engrosamiento de sus paredes y el aumento de dep sitos de calcio en los mismos. Todos estos cambios contribuyen a un aumento progresivo de la carga de trabajo del coraz n, que, eventualmente, puede llevar al desarrollo de una insuficiencia cardiaca congestiva.

Cambios en los rganos de los sentidos:
Al pasar del tiempo se van reduciendo las reacciones generales a los est mulos y se produce una p rdida parcial de la visi n, el o do y el gusto. A menudo se observa en los gatos esclerosis y cataratas, al igual que en los perros, y tambi n una disminuci n en la
precisi n del sentido del gusto, que puede llevar a un descenso en el inter s por el alimento, una reducci n en la ingesta y a la consecuente p rdida de peso.

Cambios en la conducta:
La mayor a de los cambios de conducta que presentan los gatos viejos se originan o son consecuencia de enfermedades degenerativas.

Varios de estos cambios pueden afectar la capacidad del gato en su deseo de obtener una nutrici n adecuada.

Otro cambio conductual que presentan algunos gatos se refleja cuando hay ausencia o p rdida de un ser querido (animal o humano), produci ndose anorexia grave y disminuci n en su sistema de defensa inmune, haciendo que sea m s susceptible a la aparici n de enfermedades. Los cambios en la estructura social de la familia, normalmente debidos a la introducci n de otro animal, pueden producir cambios en los patrones alimentarios, es decir que pueden originar consumos excesivos de alimento, llev ndolos a la obesidad, o a un grado alto de disminuci n del apetito.

Uno de los cambios m s notables de la conducta de los animales geri tricos es su resistencia a los cambios de la rutina diaria. El cambio de residencia, la introducci n de un animal nuevo o los cambios en el esquema de trabajo del propietario pueden acompa arse de depresi n, alteraci n en el proceso de deposici n y orina, y cambios en los h bitos alimenticios. Es importante ser conciente de que los gatos geri tricos est n particularmente predispuestos a los problemas de conducta cuando se altera su entorno. Por tal motivo, es recomendable introducir los cambios de forma gradual, permitiendo al animal adaptarse f cilmente y disminuyendo el grado de estr s que se pueda originar.

Los efectos en el metabolismo durante el envejecimiento:
Los cambios en la composici n del organismo incluyen una disminuci n de la tasa metab lica, reflejada, a su vez, en disminuci n en el porcentaje de tejido fibroso (m sculo) y un aumento en el porcentaje de grasas, sumado a la reducci n voluntaria de actividad f sica a medida que pasa el tiempo. Esto conllevar a tambi n a la disminuci n de los requerimientos energ ticos entre un 30 y un 40 por ciento en el ltimo tercio de vida. Por tal motivo, el exceso de niveles energ ticos se almacenar a en dep sitos grasos y de ah la tendencia a ser obesos muchos gatos viejos.

CONSIDERACIONES NUTRICIONALES EN GATOS DE EDAD AVANZADA
Los principales objetivos de la alimentaci n en gatos geri tricos son mantener la salud y un peso corporal ptimo, disminuir o prevenir el desarrollo de enfermedades cr nicas y minimizar o mejorar los signos cl nicos de enfermedades que ya puedan existir. Los cuidados que se deben tener rutinariamente son el control del ejercicio, mantenimiento de la salud y chequeos m dico veterinarios constantes.

El peso corporal ptimo debe mantenerse y la obesidad prevenirse empleando un control adecuado de la ingesta cal rica y un seguimiento de un patr n de ejercicio regular, aunque la alimentaci n de los felinos se ha acostumbrado a que sea a libre voluntad, en ocasiones es necesario que se controle, sobre todo cuando el paciente
es obeso o tiende a ello, por lo tanto, se recomienda que sean alimentados con dos o tres raciones peque as al d a, ya que esto permite mejorar el uso de nutrientes y disminuye la sensaci n de hambre entre comidas. Tambi n debe regularizarse estrictamente el momento y el volumen de comida a suministrar, nunca debemos dejar de lado que estos animales siempre necesitan tener agua limpia a disposici n constante.

Por todos es sabido que los gatos no gustan de que les hagan cambios de alimento luego de que se han adaptado a uno en particular, sin embargo, en muchas ocasiones cuando llegan a la edad geri trica es necesario modificar la dieta, ya que las necesidades nutricionales, como expliqu antes, son distintas, pues sus niveles energ ticos se reducen al igual que los de prote na. Por dicha raz n existen dietas especiales que ofrecen estas caracter sticas, las cuales se conocen como dietas Senior, por otro lado, si nuestro gato est afrontando una enfermedad de tipo degenerativo o cr nica, como los de tipo renal, cardiacas, hep ticas, pancre ticas, etc tera, muy seguramente el m dico veterinario le recomiende el consumo de un alimento de prescripci n de los que elaboran diferentes fabricantes muy conocidos, que son de f cil adquisici n a trav s de nuestro veterinario.

Por lo general, este tipo de alimentos poseen ingredientes de alta calidad, f cil digestibilidad y con los nutrientes que requieren los gatos en esta etapa de vida.

En el gato geri trico es importante un cuidado adecuado de los dientes y las enc as. Si el propietario es incapaz o no desea cepillar y examinar los dientes de su mascota, es necesario que un m dico veterinario se encargue de su revisi n. En algunas cl nicas veterinarias se encargan del cepillado de los dientes de los mininos, al igual que, cuando ya poseen enfermedad periodontal, los m dicos veterinarios odont logos son los encargados de instaurar el tratamiento odontol gico adecuado.

Finalmente, es importante recordar que una buena forma de mantener en una buena condici n f sica al gato viejo es jugando con l, ya que esto, adem s de permitirnos un buen rato de distracci n mutua, nos deja ver si el animal presenta alg n tipo de afecci n en la piel o esta bajando o subiendo mucho de peso.

Espero que estos consejos sean de mucha utilidad a todos los propietarios de gatos que son viejos o que pronto lo ser n, que, muy seguramente, habr n de afrontar muchos problemas como los mencionados.