Published on July 31st, 2014 | by Debbie Martin0
Health Tips – Caring For Your Elderly Cat
When your loveable feline friend starts to get a little bit older, their health needs will change and they will need a little bit more looking after. Caring for your eldelry cat in its golden years will require a little extra care, so it is important that you keep a close eye on its condition.
One of the most essential things you can do for your aging cat is to make regular observations of them and how they are getting on. Notice any changes to their well-being or their behaviour? Perform a weekly physical examination and check them for lumps, bumps, skin problems and other issues. Keep an eye on their breathing patterns, water intake, toileting habits, appetite, grooming habits and other behaviours to get an idea of how they are feeling too.
If you notice that your cat is acting unusual, you can call your vet for advice. Also your cat should visit the vet every year for a standard check-up to make sure everything is running smoothly.
How long do Cats Live?
Cats can live a lot longer than most people think. If your feline friend is given proper care and nutrition, regular veterinary care and is kept indoors, they can live as long as 21 years or more. Of course, this is if they do not have any serious medical conditions or accidents in their long life.
The average age of domestic cats is 12-15 years. This average is lowered by the fact that many cats experience traffic accidents, fighting with other cats, poisoning, diseases, death by predators and other factors. By keeping your cat indoors more you can protect them from any of these untimely ends and help them live to a ripe old age. That said you still need to ensure that they get their exercise if they are not allowed out on their own anymore.
Tips for Caring for Your Elderly Cat
Here are some tips to keep in mind when you are taking care of a senior cat:
You May Need to Change Their Diet
As your cat gets older their ability to digest and chew certain foods can change. Consider changing your cat’s diet for one that is more suited to their age. Perhaps consider feeding them wet food as this has a higher water content and will help them to avoid being dehydrated.
Keep them Hydrated
Speaking of hydration, you should make sure that your cat always has fresh water to drink. If your cat has mobility issues related to their age, make sure that they can reach their water. Also as your cat gets older they can be fussy about their water so you might want to consider a cat fountain which can make the water more appealing.
Give Them a Comfortable Place to Sleep
Your older cat will have tired joints and bones, so give them a comfortable and quiet place to sleep. The bed should be in a warm and draught free area. Some cats like to sleep in high areas as they feel safer, so provide access to the sleeping area with a step and clear the area underneath (especially of sharp items). Your cat might also like to stretch out, so consider a hammock bed.
An older cat will need a quiet area to escape to and spend time alone. Consider this when children are around or if you are adding another pet to the family. An old cat might not be welcoming to a new playmate.
Mobility Issues and the Cat Flap
Sometimes older cats can have issues with the cat flap if they have limited mobility (or have gotten too fat). You might need to provide them with a step to reach the cat flap and then prop it open so that it doesn’t hit them on the way out. This can be the reason why many arthritic cats will stop using their cat flap.
When your cat gets older their claws will not retract as well, so they can become caught in the carpets. Make sure that you keep their claws clipped so that they will not become a problem. You should gently groom your pet regularly which will help to keep their coat healthy and clump free.
Monitoring Your Cat’s Weight
As your cat gets older they will be more likely to become overweight because they are less active than they were when they were younger. Make sure that you regularly weigh your cat and monitor their food, treat and water intake. If you see that they are becoming overweight, talk to you vet about a special diet that will keep their weight at a healthy level.
These were just a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to taking care of the health of your elderly cat, so that they can live a long and happy life.