Our pets are constant companions and we forget they’re ageing more rapidly than us! Cats over 7 years old generally are considered to be a senior cat and once they reach this age their needs are different to those when they were a sprightly youngster.
Arthritis in Cats
A common issue suffered by ageing cats is arthritis, with studies showing this is a particular problem in cats over 12 years. This can affect their level of activity, due to the pain associated with movement.
Tip: Help your old friend by providing easy access to all areas of your home.
Make sure that their favourite high spots have objects to assist any climbing required and that any pet beds and litter boxes are in easy to reach places. Comfortable resting areas with pet cushions and bedding are also a great way for your cat to have some much needed rest and relaxation when they require it.
Due to their slower metabolism and reduced activity levels as they get older, additional warmth can be beneficial for senior cats.
A decrease in mobility and metabolism can also lead to weight gain so it’s important to give cats an age appropriate diet to maintain a healthy weight.
A balanced diet that is protein rich is key for cats, even more so than dogs, because cats require nutrients only found in animal sources. In some cases, obesity in cats can also lead to diabetes which is another reason to ensure a healthy diet and lifestyle.
It’s vital that your cat drinks plenty of water as they get older to help with their bodily functions. Many owners find that a pet fountain can assist with this because a constant supply of fresh water encourages drinking. Take a look at our great range of Drinkwell® Pet Fountains and find out more about their benefits.
Vets or no Vets?
Regular trips to the vet for routine check ups are essential for all cats; but even more so for elderly cats for which it is recommended to visit at least twice a year. Cats are good at hiding tell tale signs of health concerns so it is best to have them checked by an expert to be certain! Diagnosing any issues early is key for senior cats to help prolong their life.
Dental care is another thing to consider as your cat ages, and dental disease can cause problems if it is allowed to progress. Dental disease is something that can occur from a young age but will produce more serious consequences if not dealt with at an early stage to prevent any teeth loss and problems eating.
Tip: Be sure to brush your cat’s teeth regularly with the appropriate brush and toothpaste, there are even ones available which are specially formulated for ageing teeth.
It might not be your cat’s favourite activity but if you persevere they will eventually become used to the task and it is for their own benefit in the long run.
Everyone loves Playtime!
Encouraging your cat to play as they get older is a good way to keep them active for longer and also provide mental stimulation; interactive cat toys can help with this to keep them active and engaged even when home alone.
Just as we hope that someone will be there to care for us in our old age, the same goes for your cats, so be sure to follow these tips and help them stay fit and healthy for as long as possible.
Have a story to share? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.