Once a cat has entered its senior age, they begin to develop certain health issues that can affect their everyday life. Find out here what special care does senior cat require to help your cat live a longer and healthier life.
Many of these senior health issues can be preventable if you follow these simple steps:
- Be sure to deal with health issues as soon as they arise.
- Take your pet to the veterinarian once a year for routine wellness care. These visits will include parasite prevention, vaccinations, and dental care/weight management.
- Switch to a senior diet based on the guidelines provided by your veterinarian
- Encourage your cat to play games and exercise. This will help your furry pet maintain a good muscle mass and flexibility
A SENIOR DIET
Some of the most common problems in older cats are a reduction in their olfactory sense, damage to their teeth or a slowdown in the digestive system’s function. These problems can be treated by changing their diet and always putting the advice of our veterinarian into action. So, if we do not give them any other food that will harm them, we will help our cats live longer and healthier lives.
This specific diet will contain better quality proteins than those offered to an adult cat. The food will include a higher percentage of fiber that will help to improve intestinal activity and helps control the tendency to gain weight. Weight control will also reduce issues with diabetes. You will need to have clean and fresh water always at their disposal as senior cats are more prone to suffer from dehydration. We recommend you consult with your veterinarian on what energy requirements your cat has because they vary depending on your cat’s age, health, level of activity and weight.
DISEASES OF THE ELDERLY CAT
As mentioned before, once a cat becomes a senior, they become more prone to certain health issues and diseases. The best way to treat a health issue is prevention, so this is why yearly checkups are recommended.
Some of the issues that arise with age in cats are:
- Sensory decline. Older cats stop smelling as well as before and this affects their appetite which can then lead to them losing Also, they no longer hear and see as well as before, so they tend to react less to their surroundings and play less.
- Kidney failure. This is one of the most common conditions that face senior cats. The main problem is that it does not offer obvious symptoms until the disease is quite advanced and then treatment is much more complicated.
- Digestive system changes. Digestive problems start off in the mouth, periodontal disease, tooth loss, and other problems. Dental pain can hinder eating. Digestion will no longer be the same, there will be a reduction in liver function, there is a tendency toward constipation.
A SENIOR CAT CAN ALSO CHANGE ITS BEHAVIOR
An older cat can not only suffer physical pathologies but if we are close to them, we’ll also notice changes in their behavior. Here are some examples:
- As cats get older, their activity level decreases too. They may avoid exercise, and this is due to a slower metabolism and bone, joint and muscle changes.
- You may notice that your cat no longer is as clean as before. Musculoskeletal issues may make it hard for them to get in and out of their litter box which ca make their litter area a bit messy. You’ll sometimes even notice they don’t use the litter box.
- Physical or neurological issues may affect your cat’s behavior. Older pets may have the urge to attack you, even though your pet has always been very affectionate towards you. You should visit your vet if there is any extreme change in their behavior.
- Your cat does not stop meowing and yowling. This can be caused by stress or an underlying medical issue.
- Your cat no longer sleeps as before. All species when they grow older sleep less and less deeply than at a younger age. Cats are the same and they may suffer changes in their sleep-wake cycle. If your cat starts to prowl at night, you can consider waking it up from its naps during the day and keep your cat active, so it sleeps at night again.
OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOUR SENIOR CAT
Keep your senior cat indoors if you can. If you cannot then they shouldn’t be outside without supervision. Cats that live indoors live longer and healthier lives, just make sure they have a nice stimulating environment and places to be alone too.
Grooming & Hygiene. It’s very important to keep your cat’s teeth and gums healthy. Your vet can give you recommendations on what you can be doing at home to help with cat’s oral health. Older cats also need more help when it comes to grooming their fur, especially if your cat has long hair. Regular gentle grooming will mean a happy healthy cat.
Keep them alert and stress-free. A healthy senior life will require a stress-free environment and day to day stimulation to keep them alert and mentally active. Don’t forget to provide them with a safe and soft sleeping area.
Cats with age become more dependent on relationships and require more of your attention. As with older people, cats don’t deal well with change very well, so try to stick to normal routines so they feel safe and less stressed. Senior cats enjoy spending time with their human family, so always remember to give them extra love and care so they enjoy their golden years even more.