Here’s What You Need to Know about Caring for Your Senior Cat
Cats are the most playful of all household pets. If they are not eating or sleeping, chances are that they will be moving around, looking for something (or even someone) to play with. Whoever said that curiosity killed the cat was right. Cats are usually very curious and will investigate anything that crosses their line of vision. But apart from being up and about, cats can also offer companionship and comfort to those who would rather sit still and contemplate. It’s no wonder, then, that the cat is among the most preferred (if not the best preferred) pet for senior citizens.
Related Article – How Long do Ragdoll Cats Live?
But cats get old too, don’t they? Sometimes age catches up with your most beloved pet and, suddenly, they can’t run around anymore, or even jump from the table top to rub against you as you work.
So what should you do, if this happens? Should you just sit by and watch as your family’s best friend struggles with old age? Definitely not!
There is much you and other family members can do to make life easier for your senior cat. The love and affection you have for your favorite pet should be enough motivation to want to do all it takes to make her age gracefully. This article gives you some pointers on how to go about it so that you are not totally in the dark.
Helping Friends Grieve
Although no one likes to really talk about it there are those times when we lose a furry member of the family. Cat’s typically live longer than dogs, but they don’t live forever. If you have a friend that recently lost a pet one of the best ways to support them is to send them a card. It shows you care and the person grieving doesn’t feel like they need to talk about it.
One of our favourite places to get these types of cars is Wrinkle and Crease. It’s a stationary store in Calgary, but they have the best cards, ones that you won’t find at the grocery store. These cards stand out…they show that you put a little extra effort into getting something that sends the right message.
Here is what you needed to do in caring for your senior cat.
- Find ways of stimulating your senior cat
Senior cats usually suffer from osteoarthritis. As the cat ages, she tends to patrol and hunt less, choosing sleep instead to fill up the void. But encouraging activity and exercise can help minimize the challenges that come with old age in your cat. Regular exercise has been found to aid in circulation, retain the mass of muscles (which is normally affected by osteoarthritis), as well as aiding in the bowel movement for your senior pet.
You can choose either solitary or interactive forms of activity such as patrolling, foraging for food and even predatory play activities. But be careful to match the activity to the age of your pet, otherwise, you will end up hurting her.
- Make the home environment cat-friendly
Where young cats may find pleasure and enjoyment in things such as obstacles and long winding stairs, older cats may not be so enthusiastic. Senior cats may increasingly find it difficult to negotiate bends and stairs and may spend some time on one level. This is usually a signal for you to do something that will make their lives much more convenient.
Sometimes it may call for restricting their movement to only one floor while ensuring that all their needs are catered for right where they are. The cat litter, bed, flooring, scratching posts and food and water bowls should be positioned appropriately to avoid straining the cat. Simple adjustments around the house may be all you need to make your senior pet’s life better.
- Take your cat for regular veterinary checkups
Ensuring that they are doing well health-wise is among the best gifts you can give to your senior cat. With old age comes the risk of contracting many diseases that may render the cat’s life quite unbearable. And just like we humans, senior cats need regular visits to the vet so that these conditions can be discovered and taken care of early enough. The American Association of Feline Practitioners even recommends a visit to the vet every six months for the older healthy cats1. This regular testing will ensure that anything abnormal is detected and treated early before it becomes very serious. Remember that cats are normally adept at hiding disease and making it appear as if everything is okay.
The vet will examine your senior cat and give recommendations on the best way to take care of him to ensure an active and healthy life. These recommendations may also include advice on the proper dietary program to implement.
- Observe proper nutritional program
We humans usually do all it takes to cultivate a healthy lifestyle. An important component of healthy living is healthy eating. Unfortunately, we are not as careful when it concerns the nutritional health of our pets. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention reports that 58% of pets were found to be obese in their recent survey2. As it turns out, obesity in pets is much more common than we think and can equally cause challenges to the senior cats.
This is why you need to be careful with what you give your senior pet. And the fact that cats become extremely picky and fussy with food as they grow older makes it much more critical to take this matter seriously. Ensure that all the necessary nutrient requirements are met in the diet program you adopt for your cat. Consult with your vet to discuss the most appropriate nutritional program to implement.
- Keep your senior cat indoors
With age comes the loss of mobility. Senior cats will always tend to stay indoors more. You should encourage this because, statistically speaking, cats that stay indoors exclusively have longer lifespans than those who roam around3. Running about outside may present challenges that your senior pet may not be prepared to handle. These include running into other pets that may attack her or even catching an infection that may bring her down.
- Observe proper cat hygiene
Proper hygiene for the senior cat can go a long way in keeping diseases and infections at bay. Because of the reduced immunity to diseases, a simple infection may have serious implications for your beloved pet.
Gum health maintenance and dental cleaning can be a great way of keeping your cat healthy and clean. Ensure that her surroundings, including the bed, feeding and watering bowls and all the play toys are clean and disinfected thoroughly. The cat can also do with regular grooming and hair brushing, particularly for those with long-haired coats.
Proper care and love shown your senior cat can go a long way in improving the quality of life so that she can age gracefully. And it can actually be considered as a sort of payback for all those years she has been by your side as a faithful companion. And, it doesn’t require a lot. A willing heart and enthusiastic spirit are all it takes to keep your senior pet happy and healthy.
1. American Association of Feline Practitioners brochure. http://www.catvets.com/public/PDFs/ClientBrochures/FriendsforLifeBrochure-Purina.pdf
3. American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care