Your Cat Is a Senior – What to Expect Next!
1 September, 2016

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 become seniors, around 9 – 10 years old,  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?  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!

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.  Wet food is preferable to dry in their senior years as it has extra water and easier to digest.

Daily Brushing

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.

Exercise is still as important in older cats

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.

Try to reduce any stress for our senior cats

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.

As cats age, they sometimes cry in the middle of the night or at unusual times

As cats age, you will sometimes here them cry in the middle of the night but it’s usually not due to pain, just a yelp.  It’s their way of releasing.  Sometimes your kitty will act confused or won’t relate to family members in the usual way. These also can be signs of aging. But they can also be signs of arthritis or dental disease or kidney disease, so you don’t want to write them off as just old age and have your cat checked out.

Watching out for the signs in our cats

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.

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