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Your old cat’s best helper – a good vet


Prompt treatment for any wounds, disorders or diseases by a vet will keep your cat healthy into its old age. In the past both cats and dogs were often put down because their owners could not, or did not want to, pay out large sums for veterinary treatment. Pet insurance has benefited many cats and dogs, making veterinary treatment affordable even for people on a relatively small income. Choose an insurer that will continue to insure your cat after the age of eight. No insurer will take on an already elderly cat and some of the cheaper insurers refuse to insure animals after the age of eight. In this, as in other areas of life, you get what you pay for.

Health care for cats has improved immeasurably in the last decade and it is now possible to measure cat blood pressure and detect many diseases at an early stage. Most good veterinary clinics offer, not just regular vaccinations, but regular health checks for elderly cats. Blood tests can detect the early stages of kidney disease, liver, and thyroid disease. This preventive treatment is not covered by insurance but any subsequent veterinary treatment, needed as a result of these tests, will be.

Finally, do not hesitate to seek a second opinion for all serious or chronic health problems. Just as general practitioner doctors refer patients to specialist consultants, so ordinary vets can refer their animal patients to specialist vets. This is a much more effective way of getting further help for a cat with a specific health problem, than simply changing vets. The veterinary department of the local university or a nearby specialist veterinary hospital will be able to offer more up to date diagnosis and treatment. Pet insurance will usually pay for this.

Proper control of parasites also benefits cats. Regular worming against tapeworm is important for cats that catch mice. Regular de-fleaing is also needed, since tapeworms are spread via fleas. Most people don’t realise that treating the animal is not enough. It is essential to treat the house at regular intervals too. Otherwise a reservoir of flea eggs and larvae remain unharmed and will grow up into adult fleas. Most owners nevertheless still don’t treat the house, confining themselves to treating the pet! There are now very effective anti flea preparations, many of them with growth inhibitors that attack the flea’s ability to reproduce.

Be careful when you choose a flea or parasite product. Never, ever, use a flea treatment sold for dogs upon a cat. These can be literally lethal. Remember that prescription medicines from a vet may be more expensive but they are likely to be more effective than over the counter products. Buying cheap medicines online from unknown websites may result in your cat being poisoned or just being dosed with a pill that looks OK but is made of brick dust.

Caring for an elderly cat

Does your elderly cat need a special diet?