How to Help Our Senior Cats Live a Long Life
3 September, 2013
Our cats, just like humans, are living longer healthier lives. It isn’t a surprise as we are feeding out cats better and have gained more knowledge as to what can make them thrive. However, as our cats age, we need to pay extra attention to them and their behavior. What used to pass as a simple cold or lack of appetite could sometimes lead to a bigger issue.
As you play with or pet your cat, make sure that you take a look at their bodies and overall condition. Does everything feel OK? Look right? Are there any abnormal lumps? Is your cat’s grooming less than ideal? These are all factors that could lead to a sign that something is wrong. And, if this is the case, make sure to see your veterinarian for a thorough examination.
Below are some tips to help your cat in his older years!
Make sure to brush or comb your cat daily to remove loose hairs and prevent your kitties from being swallowed and forming hair balls. Brushing also stimulates blood circulation resulting in a healthier skin and coat. Older cats may not use scratching posts as frequently as they did when they were younger; therefore, nails should be checked weekly and trimmed if necessary.
Feed your cat a healthy, suitable diet
As our cats age, they can become too thin as part of the normal aging process. But progressive weight loss can also be caused by serious medical problems such as kidney failure, cancer, diabetes mellitus, inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, hyperthyroidism, or some other condition. Subtle changes in weight are often the first sign of disease; ideally you should weigh your cat every month on a scale sensitive enough to detect such small changes. Keep a record of the weight, and notify your veterinarian of any significant changes.
Exercise is important, not only for weight control but overall health. Older cats frequently become less agile as arthritis develops and muscles begin to atrophy. Regularly engaging your cat in play sessions can promote muscle tone and suppleness and help reduce weight in cats that are too heavy. You might have to move your litter boxes to more accessible locations to prevent elderly cats from eliminating in inappropriate locations. Purchasing a litter box with low sides, cutting down high sides may help older cats gain entry more easily.
If you can reduce any stress whenever possible is very important since older cats are usually less adaptable to change. Try not to board your cat for a period of time as they are especially sensitive. If you plan to travel, try having someone you and your cat know to look after him or her. Moving to a new home can be equally stressful. However, some stress can be alleviated by giving the older cat more affection and attention during times of change or distress.
Watching out for the signs
Cats are known to hide their illness and elderly cats are the same exact way. It is common for a cat to have a serious medical problem, yet not show any sign of it until the condition is quite advanced. Since most diseases can be managed more successfully when detected and treated early in their course, it is important for owners of senior cats to carefully monitor their behavior and health. And, they really can live a very long time!