In cats the onset of old age is early - around the 7th year - but with good care and regular medical care, life expectancy of cats today often allows them to blow out their 20 candles, almost fit as a fiddle.
Regular check ups
With advanced age comes the more frequent occurrence of a cancerous disease, which is an uncontrolled proliferation of cells. Depending on which organ is affected - skin, blood cells, kidney, udder - the impact is more or less serious and often quickly affects the general condition of your cat. A health examination once a year, between 7 and 11 years, and twice a year after 12 years is a wise precaution.
Your veterinarian will complete a check-up and search for possible irregularities. If when stroking your cat, your hand feels a mass with abnormal definition, you should take it to the vet immediately.
As for humans, oncology, the branch of medicine devoted to cancer, has made much progress in feline medicine. The earlier the cancer is detected, the better the prognosis. When the cancer is in the form of a mass on the skin, for example, surgery can generally cure your cat. Some tumours, however, such as fibrosarcoma, which unfortunately can affect cats over 13, have an unfortunate tendency to recur and need radiation or other therapies.
Tumors of internal organs such as the lung, for example, can sometimes be surgically removed. When cancer affects one kidney or both ( with the development of lymphoma ), the situation is often much more dramatic, with a systematic search of leukosis virus and feline immunodeficiency.
With limited side effects
In cancers of the blood cells, such as in the forms of skin cancer, chemotherapy is often necessary. The most constraining for your sick cat is to accept the obligation of intravenous injections. However, the side effects of the products used are less disabling than for humans. The main side effect to suffer during chemotherapy is loss of appetite.
Palliative care is now widely practiced by veterinarians, who can offer you the most worthy and most comfortable solutions to maintain quality of life for your cat despite their illness.
Participate in the medical care of your cat
From the age of 7 years, you must check your cat's renal functions. If your cat starts to drink plenty of water, it is a warning sign. However, regular urinalysis will help you prevent any problems and is an easy procedure.
Also ask your vet to regularly check your cat's blood pressure after 7 years old.
Good to know:
During chemotherapy, cats do not lose their fur (just long hairs, and their whiskers that will regrow afterwards). Their coat is much softer and pleasant to touch and facilitates support from their owners during this difficult time.