Like humans, cats are living longer lives. In fact many cats can now live into the upper teens and in some cases 20’s (in human years). However, that doesn’t mean a longer life doesn’t have its drawbacks. After the age of 15 a cat has a high probability of developing feline cognitive disfunction which is like a cat’s version of Alzheimer’s disease. This disorder can leave cats disoriented, crying, pacing, getting lost, having trouble sleeping, as well as problems with the litter box. While there is no cure for FCD, like Alzheimer’s, there are things you can do to improve your cat’s brain function. And you can start these things at a very young age. You can even extend their lifespan by keeping their brains “young.” Here are 10 tips on keeping your cat’s brain young. Thanks to Vetstreet for these great tips.
1. Start early – you want to make sure your cat is mentally and physically engaged but you want to make sure it’s from day one. That means kitty training. Keep them occupied. Try playing games. Do whatever you have to do but start them right away.
2. Consistent Playtime – one of the most important aspects of a cat’s life is their routine. They thrive on it. Playing is a huge part of this routine and to ensure their active lifestyles in their later years you’ll want to establish a daily playtime with your cat. You can play with toys, homemade or bought, scratching posts, obstacles, you name it.
3. Watch their weight – if you want to keep your cat active then keep your cat in shape. Overweight cats prefer sleep to playtime and tend to be less mobile. If your cat is overweight then you need to address that first before moving on to the exercises we’re listing here.
4. Kitty Entertainment – television, bird feeders, fish tanks, you name it. You want to provide your cat with some brain stimulating entertainment that they can enjoy on their own.
5. Obstacle Courses – you want to encourage your cat to climb and explore. This is helpful in stimulating the brain. So you can set up indoor trees, obstacles, paper bags, tunnels, whatever gets your cat going.
6. Get them a friend – sometimes the introduction of a younger pet can inspire your older cat to “turn back the clock.” And like humans, cats tend to live longer when they have a companion or someone to play with, even in old age.
7. Use a leash – while using a leash has its obvious benefits as far as keeping your cat safe and close by, there’s the added benefit of them trying to get out of the leash which in turn stimulates the brain!
8. Train your cat with treats – call out your cat’s name, when they come running, turn on the can opener and then give your cat a treat. Kind of like Pavlov’s dogs.
9. “Brain” Toys – there are plenty of cat “puzzles” out there on the market. The more “brain” games you can get for your cat the better off you are.
10. Hide food but make it fun – Hide saucers full of small amounts of food all over the house – and place them at different levels, so your cat must seek out the morsels.
Thank you to Vetstreet for these vital tips.