‘Feline ok?’ – Complimentary clinic for older cats recruiting new patients

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A complimentary service dedicated to improving the health and welfare of older cats, run by the University, is seeking more patients from the local area for ‘impawtant’ research.

In 2017 the University launched The Feline Healthy Ageing Clinic, sponsored by pet food experts ROYAL CANIN, with the aim of gaining a better understanding about the ageing process and ultimately improve the health, welfare and quality of life for cats growing ‘long in the tooth’.

The clinic supports the University’s Cat Prospective Ageing and Welfare study (CatPAWS).

To date, there is very little research into the healthy ageing of cats and based on the current literature the ageing process is considered to start in cats from seven years of age. It is recognised that the prevalence of renal disease, hyperthyroidism, hypertension, diabetes, cardiac disease and osteoarthritis all increase with age in cats causing significant welfare concerns.

Age-related feline neurobiological diseases are not as yet well studied or understood but age related cognitive dysfunction is recognised clinically in the absence of other diseases in geriatric cats.

As a result the vet and nurse team who run the clinic want to recruit more ‘fur-midable’ mature cats (aged seven to ten) from the Liverpool and Wirral areas to benefit from complimentary and extensive health screening and to help with their ongoing research.

So fur, so good…

Since opening, the clinic has examined nearly 200 cats and found that:

  • 40% of cats have dental disease at the time of enrolment
  • 61% of owners have noticed changes in their cats behaviour and activity by middle age with ‘More demanding of attention’ and ‘Sleeping more’ being the most common
  • 21% of cats have become more affectionate with people as they have aged

The clinic also looks to see how accurate cat’s ages are. They have found that the ages provided for 70% of the patients examined were accurate or a likely close estimate (within a year) but 30% were potentially inaccurate.

Nathalie Dowgray, said: “One of the things we do is compare the cats presumed age with how old they look. We have found that cats who look older than the age recorded on their veterinary record, are more likely to be in poor health. As many cats are obtained without knowing their age, this tells us how important it is to have regular check-ups with a vet to monitor their health.

“A visit to the vet for a health check is a good idea for any older pet and will assist owners in gaining a better understanding of the impact ageing has on their four-legged friends.”

The clinic works in partnership with local vets and all its findings are shared with your cats own vet. If your cat is between 7 and 10 years old and you are interested in enrolling them please discuss it with your local vet. If they feel your cat is suitable you can contact the clinic on catpaws@liverpool.ac.uk or 07771388564 for further information. Contact can also be made through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by searching for ‘Feline Healthy Ageing Clinic’.