This is a guest post, thanks for reading!
How to Care for Your Senior Cat
Pet lovers abound in this country–the majority of homes in the United States have at least one pet, usually either a cat or a dog. Quite a few have more than one, or several of each. If you’re like most cat lovers, your pet is treated as if it’s part of the family, and you’ve become extremely attached. You’ve undoubtedly grown concerned as your pet ages. Following are a few tips on how to care for your senior cat.
See Your Vet Often
Just as people are living longer due to the increase in medical knowledge, cats are routinely living into their mid-teens, or longer–it’s not uncommon to have a cat that reaches 20 years of age. However, just as people need to see a doctor more as they age, your cat needs to see a vet on a regular basis as the years pass. Make sure the veterinarian you take your cat to is a specialist in small animals, such as cats and dogs. Many vets today carry that one step further and specialize in older animals.
Another similarity that older cats share with aging humans is the propensity to be pickier about what they eat. A cat may tend to lose their sense of smell as they age, so they aren’t as attracted to food as they used to be. A good way to overcome that is to heat their food slightly before serving it, because that will increase the aroma and make it more desirable. Because they’re aging, their dietary needs are changing. Talk to your vet about the type of food your cat needs, and the amount they should be eating. Soft foods may be easier for an aging cat to eat and digest.
Aging cats may be prone to contracting arthritis. The creaky joints will prevent them from stretching and they may not be able to groom themselves as well. In order to alleviate the pain associated with arthritis, you could place their bed in a warm place–possibly even under a nice, warm lamp–which will help loosen up the muscles and joints. You could also take the time to give your cat a massage from time to time. Even though aging cats could be pickier about the type of food they eat, they also get much less exercise, so they may be prone to gaining weight, which won’t help their arthritis. Talk to your bet about proper diet.
Your aging cat needs to be comfortable, the same as you do. Providing them with a soft, comfortable bed to sleep in will allow your cat to get the rest they need. The bed should be located in a quiet place, away from noise and distractions. Aging cats won’t be able to get as much exercise as they did when they were younger, so being able to sleep comfortably is necessary, because as a cat ages they tend to eat less and lose muscle.
Because cats tend to get arthritis as they age, they may no longer be able to groom themselves as they used to–simply because they can’t bend and stretch as well. You should take the time to groom your cat on a regular basis. This will not only keep its coat shiny, it will keep the fur from becoming matted, and will also act as a gentle massage keeping the muscles and joints flexible. It will also provide a continuing bond between you and your cat.
Make sure you check the cat’s water bowl often. As cats age they may tend to develop diabetes, which can make them extremely thirsty. If your cat seems to be drinking more than usual, it could be a warning sign, and warrant a quick trip to the vet. Fortunately, a high-protein diet has proven valuable in reversing the symptoms of diabetes in some cats. Check with your veterinarian for suggestions if your cat seems to be drinking too much water. Of course, this will also mean they urinate more often, so changing the litter box regularly is mandatory–you may even want to set down an extra one.
Because a cat is adept at compensating for diminishing eyesight, you may not notice there is a problem with their vision until you move your furniture. If you realize that your cat’s eyesight is deteriorating, it would be a good idea to leave the furniture in the same place, because a cat is able to memorize its location.
Guest post from Bailey Harris. Bailey writes for InsuranceQuotes.org.
Other articles you might enjoy: