They’re our closest companions and often, it doesn’t seem like two minutes since they were tiny furballs chasing things around the living room. But when they hit old age – which is generally considered seven years or older – cats will become less agile and take their time to get around. When this happens, you may have to make provisions to ensure they are happy and comfortable. So, if the days of tree-climbing have long gone, here are some tips on caring for older cats:
Keeping older cats stimulated
As they get older, our feline friends may be less interested in typical games you might usually play with a cat – and even less interested in foraging about in the garden for an unsuspecting frog.
When this happens, you should keep them stimulated by changing things in their daily lives – it could be something as simple as getting them a new brightly-coloured feeding bowl. Try rotating their toys or trying out different treats but most importantly, give them some more affection.
Consider your cat’s diet
You should feed your cat a low-calorie diet which contains lots of high-quality protein as this will keep them in good health. Amounts of fat they consume should also be carefully monitored because they are less likely to be doing as much exercise as they once were to burn off excess calories.
You should also ensure your cat gets all the key minerals for their ageing joints and immune system.
If your cat develops a health condition like arthritis, they may become lazier and you will need to groom them regularly. As arthritis affects the joints and causes major stiffness and pain, cats may find it tricky to groom themselves as they usually would, so you will need to do this for them.
Put their litter tray indoors
As elderly cats are more affected by the temperature, it’s likely that they will not want to go outside to do their business, particularly in winter. Equally, they will be less keen to venture out if they don’t fancy the exercise. You could try setting up a pet litter tray indoors in a warmer room of the house.
Taking your senior pet to the vet for a quick check-up will put your mind at rest as you’ll know that they aren’t suffering and have the best quality of life. When caring for elderly cats, you should keep an eye on your pet to see whether they are displaying unusual traits of behaviour, which may indicate a health issue, as many diseases they can contract are not physically apparent.
For example, if your pet is not drinking enough it could indicate kidney or lower urinary tract disease. If they are losing weight, it may that they have a dental problem. Struggling to jump or walk around might suggest a mobility problem – possible arthritis due to older, aching joints.
Hopefully these tips on looking after an elderly cat, have been useful. Always remember to consult your vet if you notice any unusual behaviour in your cat, as it may indicate a serious health problem. Cat insurance can be purchased to protect your animal and provide money for treatment of certain conditions.