Sometimes as we see little changes in our mature adult and senior cats, we are tempted to attribute those changes to simple aging. Old age is not necessarily a disease, however. In fact, many conditions or changes that our older cats go through can be diagnosed and treated appropriately, adding high quality to our feline companion’s lives. Below are common issues in our older cats and a brief explanation of what can be done to further explore, diagnose, and sometimes treat these issues:
Weight loss or changes in appetite:
Is your kitty looking a lot thinner lately? Can you feel or even see the shoulders, spine, or hips, but couldn’t before? Unexpected, unintentional weight loss in your cat should always be discussed with your veterinarian. Eating less (or more, but accompanied by weight loss) is a flag for us to start with an exam and lab work to rule out common senior feline diseases, such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and kidney disease. Conditions that affect the liver, pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, or other primary or secondary gastrointestinal diseases should also be ruled out—sometimes we can diagnoses these issues through lab work and x-rays. Other times more advanced diagnostics such as x-rays, ultrasound, or endoscopy are required. Dental disease is another common issue for mature adult and senior cats and an exam should be done to make sure there are no signs of periodontal disease that would lead to weight loss or a decrease in appetite.
History of the Breed
The Maine Coon is one of the oldest natural breeds of cats in North America. It is the official state cat of Maine, hence the name, Maine Coon. No one knows for sure the exact origins of this breed, but likely it was ship cats that intermingled with local cats on ports of call along the eastern coast of the United States.
Maine Coons are noted for their large bone structure and luxurious coat. The males can reach 15-25lbs, and females 10-15lbs. They are slow growing and don’t reach their mature size until they are 3-5 years old. Their coat is soft and silky, and their tail puffy and raccoon-like. They come in a variety of colors, with the most common color being the brown tabby. They are also gentle and friendly in nature. They are loyal to their families, and tend to be relaxed around other cats, dogs and children.