Offering Some General Advice On How To Best Care For Your Senior Feline Friend
As we and our pets age, we all must gradually adapt to a different and slower lifestyle. The lifestyle of a senior. The lifestyle of a senior can still be fun and exciting, but it’s important to know your limits and pay closer attention to your physical well being. This applies to our pets as well. It’s easy for many cat owners to overlook the needs of their senior cat as cats are notoriously good at masking their pain and/or emotions.
Here at Cool Cats Cat Sitting, we want your feline friends to age gracefully and live their best life. That’s why we put together this article that provides some general tips and advice on how to help care for your senior cat. We are not medical professionals. These are just our opinions and suggestions based on our experiences with senior cats. Every cat is different and has different circumstances, so not all of this advice will apply to every cat.
Pay Attention To Diet & Nutrition
One of the most crucial parts of any pet’s health is their diet. This is especially true for senior cats. Once your cat hits seniorhood (around 11 years old), consider changing their dry food to a senior cat formula. According to the V.C.A. Animal Hospitals, most senior cat foods are less calorie-dense and are formulated with appropriate nutrient limits.
Brands such as Blue Buffalo and Hill’s Science Diet offer a lot of different options regarding senior cat food. Always consult with your veterinarian before changing your cat’s diet. Every cat is different and has different circumstances. So, your veterinarian will have a better understanding of what diet your senior cat needs.
Daily Exercise & Mental Stimulation
Considering the average cat sleeps around 12 to 18 hours a day, it’s easy to forget that they need daily exercise. While cats don’t require the same level of exercise as dogs, it’s still very important to their overall health. We encourage you to try and engage your senior cat in some form of playtime for at least 20 minutes a day.
Interactive cat toys, like cat wands and food puzzles, are very effective in getting a cat’s attention and keeping them busy. For a more comprehensive list of the best interactive cat toys on the market, go to TheSprucePets.com.
While annual checkups are good for young pets, senior pets should be taken to the veterinarian more frequently. The Cumberland Animal Clinic recommends taking your senior cat to the veterinarian for a checkup every 6 months. This is because many feline diseases and injuries are more common in senior cats. Your senior cat may be ill and never show any apparent signs! Six month checkups could help catch an illness before it gets worse.
Access To Water
Cats, both young and old, are notorious for not drinking enough water. As cats age, they are more prone to kidney disease and constipation. Having more water in their diet will help prevent both of these. We suggest adding additional water bowls around the house so your senior cat has more options.
We also suggest investing in a cat water fountain. According to Pets.WebMD.com, cats are more inclined to drink from a water fountain as opposed to a bowl of standing water. This is because the sound and feel of the moving water feels more natural and resembles that of a stream or river.
Look For Signs Of Strange Behavior
As previously mentioned, it is more common for senior cats to develop many feline diseases or injuries compared to younger cats. That’s why it is so important to pay close attention to your senior cat’s behavior. Monitor your senior cat daily to look for any signs of irregular behavior. This would include things like limping, nausea, vomiting, constipation, decreased appetite, weight loss, difficulty breathing/moving/urinating, or lumps/growths.
If you notice any of these symptoms or any other unusual behavior in your senior cat, contact your veterinarian immediately for consultation. Your veterinarian knows your cat better than most people and will be able to provide the attention and care they need.