Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: November 1, 2022 by Crystal Uys
Cats are living longer and healthier lives, thanks to improved veterinary care, better nutrition, and the fact that most pet cats are indoor cats. A cat is usually considered a senior between the age of 11 and 14, cats older than that are considered geriatric. Senior cats usually require more care then younger cats, and when problems occur, they can often be more serious or more difficult to deal with.
However, age should not be a reason to not treat an illness. Dr. Kristopher Chandroo, a veterinarian practicing at Orleans Veterinary Hospital in Ottawa, Canada, frequently hears the words “he’s too old” from clients when discussing treatment plans. Dr. Kris believes that this may sometimes be an excuse to not treat a cat when he becomes ill, or to marginalize what potential for health they have left. Not too long ago, Dr. Kris was faced with this issue when his own 19-year-old cat Zach lost control of his hindlegs (also known as ataxia.)
I believe that there is no single right answer when it comes to making treatment decisions for a cat. So many factors come into play: the cat’s temperament, the guardian’s comfort level with providing any follow up care that may be required at home, and even finances. All any cat guardian can do is gather all the information related to the cat’s condition, and then take all of these things into consideration. Sometimes, the final decision comes down to listening to what your gut, or your heart, tells you. Because in the end, you’re the one who knows your cat better than all the veterinarians in the world.
Dr. Kris made a heart touching video about the decision process he and his family went through when he was faced with Zach’s illness.
Zach passed away in April of 2016. Dr. Kris created a beautiful video to celebrate his beloved cat’s life.
Have you had to make difficult treatment decisions for an older cat? What helped you make your decision?
You can find more information about Dr. Kris on his website, www.IWillHelpYourCat.com.
About the author
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.