The AAFP has recently published a new and very helpful brochure titled "Friends For Life - Caring For Your Older Cat" in conjunction with the issuance of its latest Senior Cat Care Guidelines for veterinarians.
From their website:
A Time of Transition
We all want to grow old with grace and dignity.And we want the same for our pets. Fortunately, expert understanding of cat health and advances in veterinary medicine mean cats can live longer, better lives than ever before. The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), a group of several thousand veterinarians committed to the best care for cats, recently appointed a task force to review the many complex health issues that affect cats. The work of this task force resulted in a set of new medical guidelines for senior cat care.
Those guidelines, developed for use by veterinarians, also provide the foundation for this handbook. As the companion who cares for your cat every day, there’s much that you can do to keep your cat healthy and happy. Whether it’s understanding the common signs of aging, deciding what to feed your cat, looking out for signs of common age-related diseases or ensuring your cat gets proper veterinary care, this handbook provides guidance on making the most of your cat’s senior years.
I wholeheartedly endorse the recommendations in the booklet, with one exception: rather than using tuna juice as a flavor enhancer and bribe, perhaps chicken or beef broth would be more appropriate!
The recommendation for twice-a-year wellness exams in older cats is not new, and is an excellent one, but I have enough trouble getting cat owners to bring their charges in annually in this economy. Twice a year is certainly best, and I recommend it, but I recognize that many cat owners simply won't comply, and that's sad for the many kitties whose health problems will go undiagnosed.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page at the link to download the pdf file of the brochure. You will need Adobe Acrobat. You can also send for a paper copy of the brochure.