Owning a cat comes with a great deal of responsibilities. One of the most important is taking positive steps to ensure that your feline friend is as healthy as possible, and one of the best ways to do this is to follow a robust preventative care routine including parasite prevention. This is something that is important to maintain throughout the lifetime of your cat, but especially when she reaches her senior years.
Why does my senior cat need parasite prevention?
Many people mistakenly believe that after a lifetime of preventative healthcare, their older cat has built up a natural immunity to the many diseases and illnesses that she was previously at risk from. As such, they tend to let some or even all of her preventative treatments slip, including her parasite protection. Unfortunately, this is far from the case.
The natural deterioration in her health and body systems that is unavoidable and stems from the ageing process means that she will find herself unable to fight disease as well as she once did. This does not only put her at increased risk of suffering illness, but means that the effects that she experiences as a result of a parasitic infection could be all the more severe. Damage to her health could happen at a much faster rate and in many cases, this is irreversible and could compromise the remainder of her years with you.
Unfortunately, this issue is made all the worse by her natural instinct to hide any sign of vulnerability from you. This means that you may not notice symptoms right away and by the time your cat makes it clear that she is unwell, her condition may be advanced and even terminal.
Parasites to protect your feline from
There are two distinct forms of parasite that could affect your cat regardless of her age – internal and external parasites.
The main difficulty with internal parasites is that, since they live inside your pet, they are impossible to spot unless they come out in her feces or vomit. This means that your feline is entirely reliant on you recognizing the signs that she needs medical help. There are many types of internal parasite, all of which can have serious consequences for the health of your kitty. Some feline worms are transferable to humans including tapeworms, roundworms and hookworms so it is essential that you take extra care in your hand hygiene if you come into contact with a cat with an internal parasite infestation.
External cat parasites include mites, ticks and fleas. These survive by drinking the blood of their host and rarely cause serious problems in themselves unless there are large numbers feeding on your cat. However, external parasites can spread some serious and even deadly diseases including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis and Lyme Disease. If your senior cat is bitten by an infected carrier, she could be at significant risk of becoming ill.
Ask your vet for advice on which preventative is right for your senior cat
The good news is that it is fairly easy to protect your older cat from all types of parasite thanks to the wide variety of preventatives that are now on the market. From collars and topical spot-on ointments to oral medications and even vaccinations, your vet will be delighted to support you in finding the most suitable preventative for your senior cat. Remember to check exactly how long your chosen product is effective for. You will need to top-up before your it ‘runs out’, so that your cat isn’t left vulnerable to disease. You can also buy products that are specifically designed to protect your property from external parasites such as fleas and ticks.
If you are concerned that your senior cat may not have adequate protection against parasites and would like to arrange an appointment to have her seen, or if you simply have further questions, please contact or visit our animal clinic in Kerrville, TX.