As a cat owner, you know that there's something special about your kitty. It's not just his cute face and playful personality—it's the way he seems to understand you on a deep level, as if he really does have nine lives (or at least three).
But as we all know, time marches on for even our favorite fur babies. And with age comes change: Your senior cat may develop health issues or lose some of the abilities he had in his younger years. That doesn't mean that he can't live a happy and healthy life well into old age; it just means that you need to be extra vigilant about caring for him now more than ever before.
A Senior Cat's Changing Needs
There are many changes to expect as your senior cat ages. Some of them, like grumpiness and memory loss, are easy to manage. Others require a little more care and attention from you. Take note of any health problems that arise and make sure your kitty is comfortable and safe in his environment as he gets older.
As you begin taking care of your senior cat, keep an eye out for the following:
- Changes in behavior
- Health problems
- Appetite and energy level changes
Your Senior Cat's Weight
You should also keep an eye on your senior cat's weight. Cats can be overweight or underweight, and both conditions are dangerous. If you find that your senior cat has lost a lot of weight, you'll need to take them to the vet for an exam and ask about diets that will help them gain it back.
If you are concerned that your senior kitty may be too thin, talk with the vet about how often they should be weighed. Some older cats need more frequent checkups so they can maintain a healthy body weight.
Feed a Healthy Diet
Feed your cat food that is high in quality and variety. Your senior cat will likely still enjoy their regular food, but it’s also important to switch things up from time to time. You can provide variety by mixing wet and dry foods, adding in some treats, or even switching between different brands of cat food if one brand isn’t working well.
Cats over 10 years old should be fed special senior formulas (if this wasn't already done when they were younger). Do not feed older cats kitten formulas unless directed by a veterinarian as they are not nutritious enough for adult cats older than 7 years old; Kittens have different nutritional needs than adult cats do because they grow at such a fast rate throughout their first few years of life compared with an adult that grows more slowly over a longer period of time.
Keep an eye out for any dental issues like loose teeth or tartar buildup, which can cause pain when eating hard foods since these types of problems may need professional treatment from veterinarians such as cleaning under anesthesia. This happens often during annual visits where vets check everything, including teeth and gums.
Probiotics for Senior Cat Care
The gastrointestinal tract of cats is similar to humans, but with some important differences. As cats age, their digestive system becomes less efficient at digesting nutrients from food and absorbing them into the body. This can lead to weight loss and other health issues, including hairballs.
Cats that are 12 years or older have an increased risk of developing a condition called hepatic lipidosis, which is basically the accumulation of fat in the liver cells. This condition can be serious and life-threatening if not treated quickly.
Probiotic supplements, like Daily Cat, can help your cat maintain optimal health as she ages by providing beneficial bacteria that aid in digestion, boost immunity, and improve overall vitality.
Provide Enough Water
To keep your senior cat healthy, you'll want to make sure she has fresh water available at all times. Water is just as important for cats as it is for dogs and people. Cats need to stay hydrated. They can't tell you when they're thirsty, and they can become dehydrated quickly. When a cat becomes dehydrated, her kidneys won't function properly, which can lead to renal failure.
The best way to ensure that your senior cat gets enough water is to offer them a bowl of fresh water that's always available. Keep in mind that cats tend not to drink much unless their environment changes or there's something stressful going on in their lives (like having kittens).
Your Senior Cat's Hygiene
As your cat ages, she may become less interested in grooming herself and more likely to get hairballs. If this sounds like your kitty, you'll need to take on a more active role in grooming her.
While bathing isn't necessary for every cat, it can help remove dirt, debris, and excess oil from the skin and coat. If you choose to bathe your senior kitty, be sure to use warm water (never hot or cold) and a gentle shampoo designed for cats. You can even add a little bit of baby oil or olive oil to the bathwater.
Don't forget to clean around the eyes with a warm washcloth or cotton ball dipped in warm water; this will help prevent dryness that can lead to infection. Be gentle when cleaning the ears because ear infections are common in geriatric cats and can lead to pain and hearing loss if left untreated. Use an ear cleaner formulated for cats to help maintain your cat’s ear health.
Maintain a Routine
Cats are creatures of habit. They like to eat at the same time every day, sleep in the same place, and play with the same toys. And they really love routine. This can help lower anxiety, boredom, and stress, as well as support weight loss and overall health. If you're concerned about how your cat is feeling or want to know what's normal, talk with your veterinarian.
Senior Cat Behavior
Your aging cat will be a bit more needy than she used to be, but don't think that means you have to spend time with her every second of the day. Cats are independent creatures, and they'll let you know when they want your attention.
Don't force affection on your senior cat if she doesn't seem like she wants it; this can be very upsetting for them. They already have their insecurities about aging and losing their independence; don't add another layer by making them feel uncomfortable or intimidated by too much contact from you or other people in the house.
If your cat wants space, give it to her! She might just want some quiet time while everyone else is taking care of responsibilities outside the home so that she can get some rest without being bothered by anyone else's presence. It's important not only for our cats' health but for their happiness and wellbeing, as well as ours!
As your senior cat's health declines, you will have to become more attentive and compassionate. He will appreciate the extra care and attention that you give him. The best thing for you and your senior cat is to understand his needs so that he can feel comfortable with your care. If you show him love, affection, and patience, he will be grateful for all of the time that you spend with him during his golden years!
Caring for a senior cat is not all that different from caring for any other cat. We just need to make sure we’re taking into account the special needs of our aging friend. But don’t worry too much about finding the right formula. Your cat has been through many of these changes before, and has a good sense of what she can handle. Just keep in mind, she may need your assistance with maintaining her health and wellness.
Older Cat Losing Weight: 8 Common Causes
Why Routine Is Important For Cats
Feeding Mature, Senior, and Geriatric Cats
Photo by Alexander Possingham on Unsplash