Cats are amazing creatures. They can be playful, loving and loyal. However, as they age, things change – their food intake decreases, their energy levels decline, and they may start to experience some health issues that require special care.
Cats were once considered “senior” at eight years, but due to the progress in nutrition and veterinary services, cats are now expected to live well into their teens. But even so, they are considered seniors at the age of seven, and it is essential to think of them in the right part of their life cycle so that they get the rest and care they deserve.
Usually, as the cat ages, she begins to show signs of ageing. She may become less active and more sleepy – less interested in climbing and jumping onto high places as she once used to. Some older cats gain weight as they age; others may lose weight.
And while most of these symptoms are simply signs of your kitty slowing down, they may sometimes indicate underlying health issues. That’s why you should always take your cat to a vet clinic to determine whether it’s just the process of ageing or something serious. You can visit our vet clinic in New Hamburg for pet diagnostics if you’re in the area.
Remember that most problems faced by senior cats are the same as in humans. Your old cat will be more prone to and may develop: arthritis, obesity, vision problems, dementia, hearing issues, diabetes, thyroid problems, kidney or liver disease, gum disease, or feline tooth resorption.
You can identify any of the above issues by your cat’s behaviour, such as reluctance to climb up on high furniture, excessive yowling, diarrhea, loss of appetite, cloudy eyes, or bumping into furniture.
Once you know that the changes in your cat’s behaviour are because of her change in status to “senior” cat, here are some things you can do to make her old age easier:
Make sure you feed your cat with a proper diet that’s been specially formulated for senior cats. Good pet nutrition for senior cats ensures that your cat is getting all the nutrients it needs at their new stage in life. If you’ve been to the vet and have identified an underlying health condition, you may be asked to switch your cat to a prescription diet.
Older cats tend to be less active, so it makes sense to make your home more senior pet-friendly. Your cat will stay mentally stimulated if she has places to climb and hide, things to scratch, and ways to hunt. But as she grows older, these things will become more difficult for her, so you need to make your home more accessible.
Make sure that your cat is getting plenty of water. Lack of sufficient water may lead to kidney problems or constipation. If you feel she forgets to drink, consider switching her to wet food to increase her water intake and prevent dehydration. You may also consider increasing her water stations around the house and placing them on low heights or on the floor to make them more accessible as she ages.
As your cat gets older, she should be taken for regular dental checkups. Oral health can affect cats’ overall health because infections in the mouth enter the bloodstream and damage the liver, kidneys, and heart. Make sure you regularly brush your cat’s teeth at home and keep an eye out for signs of dental disease. The level of pet dental care can help save your cat from many diseases.
Cats are experts at hiding their pain, which is why any problems might be unnoticeable until they become too painful. Regularly visiting your vet is vital so that they can spot the signs pet parents often miss out on and recommend the proper care. If your pet is in a severely painful state, your vet may also recommend pet end of life care.
And while it may be a tough decision to make if the vet suggests euthanasia, you must remember that a life well-lived is better than a life in pain. You can arrange good pet aftercare and say your goodbye in a beautiful way.