Head-to-Toe Body Changes

As your cat ages, its body will change. Here are some common changes to expect.

By Cherie Langlois

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Cats age at different rates and in their own ways - depending on genetics and health care. Your cat will change in appearance, metabolism and organ function. Here's a look from head to toe.

1. The ability to see, taste, smell and hear declines.

2. Eyes may appear cloudy and, in very old cats, the irises take on a lacy look as they atrophy.

3. Tartar build-up on teeth commonly leads to dental problems.

4. Muscles atrophy, muscle tone and strength decreases. This may give your cat a flabbier appearance.

5. Bone and joint strength decline and arthritis - inflammation of joints - can become a problem.

6. Weight gain or loss, depending on any disease at work, may occur. The spine and hips could protrude with weight loss.

7. The coat thins and can become matted, flaky or oily because your cat grooms less often. Graying is less common in cats than dogs.

8. The body's metabolic rate declines.

9. Wounds heal more slowly and the body is less resistant to disease.
 
10. Organ function becomes less efficient, especially the kidneys.

11. Constipation may occur because of an aging, less motile digestive system.

12. Nails often require more frequent trimming as your cat becomes less active.
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Reader Comments

Janet    Bethlehem, PA

3/13/2010 5:57:46 AM

good article thanks

Donna    Austin, TX

5/26/2008 4:59:39 PM

Thanks for a heads-up on things to look for.

kino    Spring Valley, CA

3/5/2007 8:13:23 PM

my cat is 10 months old now. I need to take good care of him

CF    PC, FL

3/5/2007 6:12:25 PM

Information I need since my cat is 9 years old now.

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