Looking at a range of aspects of cat-based aging, including their musculoskeletal health and cognitive abilities, they define a healthy cat as one that shows none of the “DISHA” patterns of negative signs observed in dogs: disorientation, interaction changes, sleep disturbances, house soiling, and changes in activity. Any of these signs in isolation are possible causes of concern, but more than one occurring at the same time is a clear indication of degenerative processing occurring with advanced age.
However, they do point out that “it can be difficult to determine if a cat is displaying age-related changes that are appropriate for age or if they reflect an abnormal process or condition.” They go on to say that, as an example, “degenerative joint disease may be present in the healthy [aged] cat without causing any clinically evident signs.”
Cats that age will naturally begin to take on a few new characteristics, many of which are inevitable, but not serious. They will most likely have a reduced stress tolerance, their eyesight and sense of smell may be somewhat diminished, and they may even change the way they vocalize.
Aging well, as the authors define it, seems to mean that they are still very much cognizant, of a healthy weight, and relatively mobile by the time they reach the twilight of their lives – and there’s plenty of evidence to show that cats are indeed living longer and healthier lives than ever before.
Whatever you think of cats, science has shown that they mostly think that you’re nothing but an idiotic kitten or a malfunctioning landlord. Now it seems that you’ll have to put up with their disdainful looks and mischievous plotting even longer.
Science has proven that cats are essentially liquid. Nataliya Kuznetsova/Shutterstock