Do you a cat at home and that has been around for some time, maybe for eleven years? Well, your cat is Senior and you may need to reconsider how you care for it. Just like humans, as cats become old, they become slower and less active. They also become more vulnerable to diseases because their bodies aren’t regenerating as fast enough. What that means is that their bodies become frail with time, and you need to handle them with care, almost the same way you could handle kittens, except when it comes to grooming. You don’t need to groom young kittens, because they are good at doing it themselves with help from their mothers.
Senior cats on the other hand will shed more fur, and generally acquire a smell due to physical and physiological changes. In this list, we are going to share tips on how to groom your senior cat to keep its skin, teeth, eyes, ears, and fur clean and healthy. While these tips may help to you to groom your cat with ease, there is a risk for you or your senior cat to being hurt if it’s fighting the grooming process. Such behavior could also indicate that it’s hurt somewhere on it body and needs a professional groomer or veterinary to examine it. You should therefore make an appointment and have it examined to be sure all is well.
As the cat ages, its skin will become thinner and less elastic. When grooming your cat, you will have to keep that in mind and be gentle. It will also mean that the cat can get easily bruised when outdoors, which can make it painfully to touch. If you notice that you cat recoils from you after you touch a section of its body, either it’s hurt or the skin at that point has developed some health problems. You best cause of action is to take it to a vet and have it examined, and get it groomed as well.
The best way to care for your cat’s fur is not actually to brush it. It’s through making sure that you change its litter box every day, and you give it a nice comfortable place to rest. A dirty litter box will mean you are exposing it fur to dirt. Since senior cats don’t groom themselves are often as younger cats, that will mean that the dirty litter box will contribute to matting of its fur. Therefore, while it is not practical to brush its fur every single day, you can make your work easier by simply making sure its litter does not cause problems for it fur.
Bathing Your Cat
Your cat doesn’t need you to bath it on a regular basis if you have kept its litter box clean. However, if you choose to give it a bath, then you should start by trimming it nails as discussed below. Older cats generally have longer and brittle nails, and you don’t want them to try and scratch you. When bathing your cat, make sure that you only use warm water, and not hot water. Furthermore, you should make sure that the water is only a few inches deep, say about three inches. Use the tip of your elbow to test the water temperature. You should be able to feel a warm sensation, not a burning sensation. While bathing it, you may use a sprayer or preferably a pitcher to wet its coat. Moreover, don’t let water and the shampoo get into its eyes, that’s one of the worst things you can do for your Senior cat. You should wash from the head region and work your way to the cat’s tail. Use only a shampoo that’s marked for use with cats and rinse its coat thoroughly with clean warm and clean water.
Brushing Your Cat
While cats don’t need you to groom them, you may choose to groom your Senior cat about once every week to supplement its own grooming. That will help to keep it free of dead hair and dirt it may have collected from its litter box or from outdoors. It will also help to get rid of matted or tangled fur. Furthermore, if you do it gently, you will be able to stimulate its blood flow, which will help its fur to grow faster and luxuriously. The steps for combing short far is to use a fine toothed metal comb, then follow it up with a rubber brush. That will remove its loose fur. On the other hand, if it has long hair, your best option is to first use a comb with widely spaced teeth, then use a gingerly comb. Finally, brush it to remove excess fur using a using a brush with bristles. Lastly, make sure that you only brush in the direction in which the fur grows.
When it comes to shampoos, there are no federal regulations that determine what a cat-safe shampoo is, and what isn’t. It’s up to the manufacturer to determine that. Therefore you best option when choosing a shampoo to use when bathing your cat is read the ingredients buying those that don’t include essential oils or toxic chemicals. Cats are unable to synthesize essential oils, which mean that the oils end up getting stored in their kidneys and livers. If used on a regular basis, their levels rise and start causing undesirable health side effects. Furthermore, some essential oils may irritate a senior cat’s skin as its thinner than that of a young cat.
As you groom your cat, keep an eye on the condition of its skin. The skin gives an overall health statement of your cat. As your cat ages, skin problems may occur and it will respond to the discomfort caused by licking, scratching, and chewing. Common causes of skin problems are changes in weather and seasons, stress, allergies, and parasites. Skin problems caused by parasites and allergies are usually the most stressful to a cat, while those caused by a change in weather are mostly temporary. If you notice that you senior cat is experience skin problems, it’s best to take it to the vet immediately. Moreover, there are chances that the cat will also react badly to treatment due to its age.
The common signs that point to a clear skin problem are scabs, rashes, hairballs, inflammation and redness, excretion of blood or pus, constant scratching, chewing and licking of the skin around the neck, bald patches, and hairballs. Some of the common parasites that are known to cause skin problems are fleas, ringworms, and ear termites. Other causes of skin problems are food allergies, yeast, and bacterial infections. Food allergies mostly cause itching, while bacterial and yeast infections occur once another skin disorder takes places and causes the skin to break, exposing the underlying tissues. The simple and effective solution is to take the senior cat to the vet if you notice any abnormal skin appearance or itching.
Shedding is normal for a cat of any age because it the natural way to get rid of dead hair. Senior cats shed more hair, but the replacement rate is much lower than in younger cats. You will therefore notice that as the cat ages, it sheds more hair. You will therefore have to vacuum your home more, especially the carpet and the seats where your cat spends most of its time. However, that does not mean that bald patches or significant hair loss for a senior cat is normal. If you notice such symptoms, they could be indicative of a worse underlying health problem. it’s best therefore to seek the help if you local vet immediately. Common causes that may lead to excessive shedding of hair for a cat are fleas, allergies, ringworm, fleas, stress, sunburn, certain medications, bacterial infection, hormonal imbalance, and lactation or pregnancy. Once your cat is treated, you will need to feed it well and groom it on a regular basis to help it restore its healthy look.
You cat’s ears need as much attention as the rest of its body. They may be able to pick the faintest sounds from the kitchen but that doesn’t mean they should be neglected. You should monitor your Senior cat’s year at least once each week to remove wax, infection, and debris. That will help your cat continue to stay alert and free from ear infections throughout its advanced age. Some of the signs that could suggest your Senior cat has an ear infection are sensitivity to touch, scratching and pawing of the ears, constant shaking of the head or tilting, disorientation or loss of balance, swelling or redness of the ear canal or flap, hearing loss, unpleasant odor, bleeding, accumulation of ear wax, and yellowish or black discharge. If you notice any of those signs, then you should contact the vet immediately to have the cat examined and treated.
If there is a part of the cat’s body that’s exposed to wear and risks, it’s the paws. Cats need them to land, play, climb surfaces, and walk around. It’s therefore important to examine and clean them on a regular basis and make sure that they are free of any wounds or sores. The paws need regular attention each day; you need to wipe with a soft damp cloth and check between the toes to ensure nothing is wrong with them. Moreover, you need to keep the floor and other surfaces where the cat may access free of sticky substances as well as debris. That will ensure that your cat paws stay clean at all times. Furthermore, your cat will not soil your seats or fabrics with dirt because you will have provided it with a clean surface to walk on. If you check the paws and spot swellings, splinters, cuts, or sores, you should take it to the vet to have it examined. It’s possible it has an infection and will benefit from an early treatment.
Cats don’t like it when you trim their nails because the process creates a sensation in their bodies. Furthermore, they feel that you are disarming them and they may want to resist it. Trimming the nails is different from declawing of cats, which is considered cruel by ASPCA. Moreover, don’t clip the pink part if the nail, that region of the toe has nerves and blood vessels, making it very sensitive. You need to find a quest room where you can sit with the cat on your lap. The room should allow it to calm down. Any birds or dogs will excite it, and it will want to get out and enjoy some action. To get started, you will need to massage each paw gently for about 3 seconds. You can then hold the paw, and clip the tip of its nail. Give it something it likes immediately after that and repeat the process. If your cat does not resist, then you may take it to the vet and ask to have its toes trimmed.
Your cat’s dental health is important for its overall wellbeing, which is why you need to help it by regular brushing of its teeth. Without sharp teeth and healthy gums, you cat will not be able to feed properly. Any injury or damage to the teeth, tongue, palate and gums may lead to severe health problems for a senior cat. Strong odor is sometimes an indication that your cat is having digestive problems or a gum condition. Some of the signs that could indicate gum problems are pus, swollen or red gums, excessive drooling, excessive pawing of the mouth, loose teeth, ulcers on the tongue or gums, and dark red lines on the gums. If you notice any strong odor coming for your cat’s mouth or the above signs, you should contact your veterinary immediately to have it checked.
Just before you start grooming your cat, a good examination of the eyes can tell a lot about its overall health. You will be able to detect any cloudiness, crust, inflammation or other tearing problems with ease. To get started, you should face it towards a brightly lit area, and then look at its eyes. They should have be bright and clear, moreover, the area around the eyeball should be white, and equally important, the pupils should be if equal size. Next, you should gently roll down each eyelid; you should be able to observe a pick color, not white or red. Once you observe all is well, you should wipe away any gunk using a dump ball of cotton. If you notice any discharge, tear-stained fur, red or white eyelid linings, watering, or visible third eyelid, you should take it to the vet immediately. Due the age of your senior cat, any eye problems could easily lead to blindness if they get the treated on time.
You should set a regular time for grooming your cat, and make it a habit to give it a treat before and after grooming. That way, the cat will associate the grooming experience with your good nature even though it may not like it that much. Moreover, the cat will be able to adjust its internal clock to your grooming routine. That way you will not have to wake it up from sleep just so you can groom it. You will also not have to worry about missing to groom it because you had other issues that couldn’t wait when it finally woke up.
Keep it Short
Grooming your cat should not take more than 15 minutes, even when you are washing it. Naturally, cats are hygienic animals and they don’t like feeling over touched. To avoid irritating your cat, don’t keep its fur or body soaked in water or shampoo for over 10 minutes. You will therefore have to work faster but gently to make sure you groom it gently and in a timely manner. Moreover, don’t try to achieve everything in a single session, more so if this is your first time. You will do well if you break the grooming into several short sessions for trimming nails, giving it a bath, and brushing its teeth. If you aren’t sure how to work faster, you may take it to the vet and ask to be shown how to groom it. It may cost you more but you will get a firsthand experience of how to groom it professionally
Create a Tranquil Atmosphere
Who doesn’t like to be groomed in a nice serene environment? I guess we all enjoy having a great time in the barbershop, which is the same with cats. Make sure that they feel at home and safe before you start to groom them, especially if this is its first day for you to groom it. It also helps if you can judge its mood so that you will can start grooming it when it’s inclined to tolerate invasion of its personal space and tranquility.
You need to be gentle with your senior cat, it’s unlikely that it will let you work as you please throughout the grooming session. However, when restraining it, be gentle and don’t try to hold it down forcefully or pin it down. Instead you should hold them softly, give them a treat if you notice it’s getting agitated. Moreover, it will find more comfortable on your lap when you are seated than if you try to groom it while standing and pinning it to a counter top or bathtub. If you choose to groom it while you are standing, find something warm as a towel and place it on the surface you choose. Generally, you want to make it feel comfortable, a cold surface will not help in that regard.
Call the Vet if You Need Help
Grooming a senior cat needs patience and care, at its advanced age, hurting it will mean it won’t recover easily. You therefore don’t want to clip it nails and end up clipping the pink area and cause bleeding. If you aren’t sure how to get started or you have never done extensive cat grooming before, just take it to your vet. They will do a comprehensive grooming for you and you will get to learn how they make a connection with animals.
We all love the happy-endings to movies, or anything that takes effort or sacrifice to achieve. The happy-endings give us something to look forward to during the hard times of the struggle. It’s the same with other animals such as cats. Giving your aging cat treats before and after the grooming will endear it to you. As much as grooming will be a tough time for both of you, it will stick around, just don’t take too long.
Know Your Cat’s age
Today cats are getting to live to be as old as 21 years old, which is equivalent of 80 years for human beings. That’s an advanced age and it’s body will not have the same vitality it used to have at three years of age. That calls for extra care while grooming it. A simple cut will take time to heal and if it gets an infection, the cat will suffer a lot more compared to when it was say one to two years old. A cat that is three years old is at its prime, it equivalent to being 25 years to 28 years.
Keep it free of parasites
You may choose not to groom your senior cat on a regular basis to avoid giving it accidental injuries. However, you also need to make sure that it doesn’t have any parasites on its body. External parasites are easy to identify, and you can use any form of treatment that a vet will recommend. To deal with internal parasites, you will need to take it to a vet for physical examination. Moreover, you may use symptoms we discussed above to check for early signs of an infection.
We hope that you found this list on how to groom and care for your senior cat to be helpful and informative. We wish you all the best as you work to care for your aging cat.