Cats are delicate and they are worth all the attention and care that you can give. This is especially true for pets who have reached their senior years. It is required that you are sensitive to their physical, mental, and emotional disposition. As owners, it is only proper that you provide these basic needs. They have served their purpose of being your companion for quite some time and now it’s only right that you give back and aid them.
A domesticated cat can live until 13 to 16 years. As soon as they reach the age of 12, they are considered senior cats according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). What should you do once your feline pal reaches this stage? We have compiled 5 tips on how to provide your elder cat a comfortable life.
- Mental and Physical Stimulation
As cats age, their drive for activity and movement decreases. They spend more hours sleeping. In fact, senior cats sleep for an average of 16 to 20 hours! That’s almost their whole day consumed in bed.
Although they need this much slumber, they also still have necessities to keep them healthy and functioning well. Look for enrichment activities that they can engage in without wearing their body out. You can look for treat-releasing toys that they can roll around the house. There are also several interactive toys that they can spend time figuring out. This will keep them entertained and curious.
- Provide Nutritional Needs
There should be a significant adjustment in the food that you are serving your older pet as they are more prone to obesity and all diseases that come with it. Your senior cat can develop joint pains because of their heavy built. Physical manifestations of their obesity can also surface such as non-allergic skin conditions. Worse, they can develop diabetes and immuno-incompetence because of this. These are health constraints that you do not want to plague your senior cats since it will take time for them to recover due to their weaker metabolism and disease tolerance.
A proper and well-balanced diet should be strictly followed plus supplements that can help defend their system. Mature cats with diabetes should stick with a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet at all times.
- Grooming and Proper Hygiene
Older cats have more specific grooming needs especially long-haired breeds. Brushing them daily is necessary to get rid of loose hair that they can possibly swallow and form into difficult hairballs. Moreover, when you brush your cat you help improve their blood circulation and the release of natural oil from their sebaceous glands. This will give them a shiny, flowing fur.
Senior cats slowly lose interest in scratching posts so you have to check their nails often and trim them when necessary. Untrimmed nails can cause accidents and this is something we can control altogether.
- Avoid Letting Your Cats Out Without Supervision
While we understand that cats need to roam about, older cats should not be allowed to go out unsupervised. Mature felines are not as sharp as they used to be and accidents can happen within the blink of an eye. It is better to train them to be contented inside your home. Create obstacles for them to go around on. Have enrichment exercises ready at their disposition. Train them to live a happy life indoors.
Having an older cat on the streets is like releasing a disease magnet too. Keep them from catching different bacteria which their bodies can no longer effectively fight.
- Regular Vet Visits
Ideally, a senior cat should be brought to the vet twice a year. This is to routinely check their weight, the efficiency of their diet, their bone structure, and their muscle tone. Going to the veterinarian can also keep their supplements and vitamins up to date.
It is highly appreciated if you can communicate with your cat’s doctor well. Be open with him or her about any behavioral changes, sleeping patterns, and any sudden and abrupt mood patterns. This can give them clues should there be any unusual manifestation of sickness.
Have their stool and blood checked too. This can further draw a picture of possible irregularities in your senior cat’s system.
It is spot-on accurate when we say that it takes a lot of effort to care for senior cats. It is also true that successfully doing so is rewarding. Giving our feline pals comfortable later years will always be the best way to celebrate their lives spent with us.