There are two aging cats in our house: Aria is 13, and Gizmo is 15, and we expect them to actually start showing their signs of aging anytime now. In fact, Gizmo has begun to show one those signs (beyond her formerly black whiskers) – she has arthritis in her left shoulder. However, neither of them has shown any indication that they’re seriously slowing down. To us, that means we have two cats that are aging well.
Signs to watch out for in aging cats
There are certain signs that indicate your cat’s health may be failing in her old age. Weight loss and lack of interest in playing are two of the biggest. Disorientation, interaction problems, sleep/wake disturbances,, house-soiling, and serious activity changes (DISHA) are other signs that your senior cat isn’t really aging well.
If she is, then she’ll be like Gizmo and Aria. Gizmo, despite her bad shoulder, still loves to play what we call “her game.” When she was a kitten and a young adult cat, she loved to chase us through the house and “catch” our ankles. She’d let us go, and then do it all over again. She doesn’t play it as often anymore, but she hasn’t stopped altogether.
Aria has a toy she still loves to play with – she was never really big on play aggression like Gizmo. She also shows heavy interest when we’re playing with our other cats, and she’ll lunge and pounce and chase with the best of them. She, too, belongs in the lofty class of aging cats that are doing so gracefully, although not as gracefully as Gizmo, we think. Why is that? She tires out far more easily than Gizmo, and she seems to have some difficulty moving already – something Gizmo didn’t show at age 13.
Changes in certain behaviors and looks may be still be normal for aging cats
Your cat’s appearance might change somewhat, even if she is aging well. One of the biggest telltale signs of an aging cat is something called lenticular sclerosis, which presents as a blue-white cloudiness of the eye pupil. Both Gizmo and Aria show this sign.
Decreased mobility and a decline in vision can also be normal things for aging cats, even though it may not appear so. Changes in eating and sleeping patterns may be present also. Basically, if your cat isn’t showing any DISHA signs (listed above) then she’s probably aging well. She might live to her 20s, or even longer!