If you have adopted a senior feline or your cat has gracefully aged by your side, there are certain things you need to be mindful of. Here are a few tips that will help you give your ageing feline a loving home in his golden years.
1,) Understand that your feline’s needs will change:
You may have to make some adjustments in your immediate environment for your senior cat. As cats grow older, they often need extra padding and warmth for comfort, so provide soft sleeping places. Make their preferred sleeping and resting spots easily accessible by using stepping stools, ramps, and other ways to assist.
2.) Know how much your cat is eating:
Nutritional needs change chronic diseases and with age for some healthy older cats as well. Discuss your cat’s diet plan and nutritional needs with your vet in detail. Cat parents are often unaware of how much their cat is actually eating on a daily basis, especially if you have multiple cats. It’s almost impossible to know how much which cat is eating. So, make an added effort to know how much your senior cat is eating. Monitor his food intake so that you know immediately if his eating less. This helps your veterinarian understand his health-related problems.
3.) Regular Health Check-ups:
Cats need to visit their veterinarian more often as they age, usually about every 6 months, even if your cat appears healthy. Please remember that 6 months in cat years is roughly equivalent to 2 years for a human and a lot can change in that time.
4.) Make the vet visits comfortable:
Reduce the stress of veterinary visits in a few small steps. Make the carrier cozy with soft, familiar bedding. Leave early so that you don’t have to rush things. Find out if they have a cat-only waiting area, cat concierge service, or if you can go directly to the waiting area. This helps keep your cat calm. Prepare a list of questions to ask your vet and keep the list handy.
5.) Pay attention to what your cat is up to:
Cats are masters at hiding illness. Signs are often subtle and easily missed. And if they fall ill, they usually go into hiding, like the basement or behind the couch. Therefore, it’s important to keep an eye on them. If you notice a difference in behavior, such as sleeping more or hiding, don’t ignore it! Call your veterinarian. You can keep a track of their appetite, bowel movement, any irregularities by maintaining a diary. It helps during vet visits.
6.) Monitor his weight:
Both weight gain and unplanned weight loss of your cat should raise alarm. Weight gain increases the chance of chronic diseases and may shorten the life span of a pet. On the other hand, weight loss in senior cats is usually a sign of something gone wrong. Some of the most common diseases causing weight loss are hyperthyroidism, intestinal disease, and diabetes and these may occur with a normal or even increased appetite. Monitoring your cat’s weight is one of the most important reasons for routine examinations by your veterinarian.
7.) Note if they are slowing down:
Slowing down is often a sign of underlying discomfort or pain. Arthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is present in most older cats. Correct diagnoses and treatment can help them remain active and engaged. If your cat has difficulty climbing up or down the stairs or he does not jump like he used to or is not using the litter box, it’s time to talk to your vet.
8.) Is your adult cat peeing outside the litterbox?
Your adult cat may suddenly stop using the litterbox due to several reasons and some of them may be medical. Urinary infections, constipation, arthritis, and muscle weakness are just a few of the reasons an older cat can develop litter box issues. Talk to your vet can and find out what medical issues or environmental concerns are contributing to the change in your cat’s behavior. You can evaluate certain things on your own. Is the litter box easy for your elderly cat to get into or is it too high/low/ kept in a narrow area? Does the location of the litter box make it easy for your cat to access so they don’t have to go up or downstairs? Is the litter box in a quiet area, protected from other pets that may scare your older cat? Is the litterbox clean enough? Are you scooping and cleaning the litter box often enough to keep up with that increased urine output? Is the litter gentle on your senior kitty’s paws?
9.) Pay attention to his litterbox contents:
Is your cat defecating daily? Are your cat’s stools softer, harder, or changing color? Constipation is a common sign of dehydration in older cats. Has the amount of urine in the litter box changed? Increased urine output can signal some common illness in elderly cats – from diabetes or an overactive thyroid gland to kidney disease and high blood pressure.
10.) Enjoy your bond with your feline:
Bonds with aged pets are always special. They rely on you and as elderly cats, they often crave for your attention more than earlier. This gives you an opportunity to forge a special bond with your ageing pet. Provide physical and mental stimulation by petting, playing, and interacting in your special ways. Help him groom himself by gently brushing or combing. Keep his nails from overgrowing with a regular nail trims. The nails of older arthritic cats sometimes overgrow into the paw pads, and this is painful.
Lastly, make your ageing cat feel loved and welcomed. There’s nothing more wonderful than making their golden years special and full of happiness.