Tips to Help Your Senior Cat Live a Long Time
14 May, 2013

If you have an older cat, like I do, you might start thinking about taking some extra steps to help ensure your cat a long and happy life.  Sammy, my cat, is now sixteen, and luckily our cats can live a very long time.  But, as they get older, just as in people, we need to take extra care of them and be more mindful of their daily routine.   Below are some tips to help your senior cat live a long time.

Keep your cats active

As our cats get older and tend to sleep even more, we can sometimes forget to play with our older cats.  However, it is certainly worth putting in the extra effort to get them up and active.  Take out their favorite toy, put some catnip on it and toss it around.  I’m sure you will get a reaction from that.   And, not only is this a great time to bond with your kitty, you will keep your cat in better health and shape.  It is also a good way to monitor if and when your cat does slow down, that there is a health or bone issue at stake or something is slowing him down.

Water is very important for older cats

As our senior cats tend to get illness that are related to dehydration, it is really important to keep your older cat hydrated.  I know that my cat, Sammy, loves to drink water from the sink.  Not ideal, but I want him to keep hydrated.  It is really important to keep your older cats hydrated to keep the kidneys functioning properly.   If your cat isn’t a water drinker, try to buy a fountain that pours out water and makes it more of a game for your kitty.  If this doesn’t work, make sure that your older cat eats wet food as this will help hydration more than dry food.

Make sure to keep an eye on your cat’s dental health

As cats get older, they tend to have dental problems.  As it is difficult to tell if your feline companion is in pain, make sure to schedule regular dental check ups with your vet.  Your senior cat can have an abscessed tooth or other dental issues that you don’t even know exists.   If your cat has problems with his or her teeth, he or she will eat less and our senior cats need to keep their weight up.

Make sure your senior cat is well groomed

We all love to have our cats’ fur nice and groomed.   In a senior cat, the benefits are even greater and more important than simply keeping your cat’s fur clean.  Senior cats sometimes have trouble cleaning themselves and usually end up with a lot more loose hair leaving them much more vulnerable to hairballs. Grooming your cat daily will help you learn your cat’s body to check him or her often to see if there are any bumps or lesions.  And, of course, it will give you even more bonding time.  Most cats love being brushed and treated like a queen or king.

Keep your senior cat warm

Many older cats tend to feel the cold more than a younger cat.  Make sure to keep them warm by giving them a warm place to sleep with a blanket.  A heating pad also works well for them and your cat will love it.

Make their life easier

As our cats age, they have difficulty climbing (sometimes) and even completing daily functions.  You might look around your home and see what you can do to ease their life.  Try putting a litter box with lower walls attached to make sure they can get in easily and make sure that the food and water bowls are easy to get to.   Easy access helps them keep all their normal functions in check.

Try to keep their environment controlled

We all know how difficult change is for our cats.  It might be best not to make any significant changes in your cat’s life, if possible.  Even though I am always an advocate of adoption, if your cat is very old, it might not be a great time to add a kitten to his or her life.  It could exhaust and or frighten your cat, especially if she’s or he has been your only cat.    However, each cat is different and your cat might like another sibling; just make sure they meet first!

Think about switching to a senior cat food

Talk to your vet to see if your kitty would benefit from switching to a senior formula cat food.  There are many different types of senior cat food that provides your cat with the right balance of protein, fat, calories, vitamins and minerals.  Your vet, depending on your cat’s agility, might recommend some kind of bone supplement to keep your cat’s bones stronger.

I hope your cat lives a long, healthy life.  If you follow the above, it should help make your senior cat’s life a little smoother and happier in the end.   That’s the goal!

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