New resource offers guidance on health care for senior cats

The American Association of Feline Practitioners has released new “Feline Senior Care Guidelines,” updated from 2009. The guidelines, which apply to cats 10 years and older, are available online and will be published in the July issue of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.

“The newly emerging concept of frailty is introduced in these guidelines and how practitioners can incorporate this into the senior cat assessment,” said Dr. Michael Ray, a co-chair of the task force that developed the guidelines. “They also detail common issues in aging cats, including pain management, nutrition and weight management, diseases and conditions, quality of life and end of life decisions.”

Discussion in the guidelines focuses on the importance of veterinarians and cat owners working together to make well-informed decisions for the care of the individual cat. Additionally, given the impact caring for an aging cat can have on the owner, the guidelines recommend veterinarians consider four “budgets of care” when making treatment plans: financial, time, emotional and physical.