Sooner or later, your beloved cat will start to get old and experience physical changes. This typically occurs between the ages of seven and ten. However, some are fortunate enough to stave off major changes until approximately 12 years old. Whenever the time finally comes though, you will need to make a few changes in how you care for your pet. Keep reading for useful advice on caring for senior cats.
Most owners take their cats to the vet for an annual exam. Older cats need to be seen by the vet more often than their younger counterparts since the risk of problems has increased. It’s best to schedule a wellness exam every six months.
You will also need to change what you feed your senior cat somewhat. Seniors who become less active but are still fed the same amount of calories will more than likely become overweight. Obesity is particularly a problem for seniors, so a veterinarian-approved diet would definitely be in order.
When caring for senior cats, always ensure that they always have access to fresh drinking water. Dehydration more easily sets in as cats advance in age. Their organs won’t respond very well to chronic dehydration either. The kidneys usually give seniors the most problem, and frequent dehydration certainly won’t do these vital organs any good.
Just like with humans, arthritis becomes a problem for older cats. Once arthritis sets in, your cat won’t be as physically active as he used to be. Don’t be surprised if he stops climbing the stairs or hopping up onto the windowsill. Arthritic cats may even have problems getting into their litter boxes. If you notice yours has an issue with this, you can accommodate him by getting a shorter box or even putting a set of stairs beside it.
Dental care is important for cats of all ages. For older cats, it becomes increasingly important. The risk of developing dental disease only increases with age. This disease can cause enough pain to keep your cat from eating.
Your cat may also lose the energy to keep himself groomed properly. You don’t want him to develop a dry or excessively dirty coat. Matting can also become a problem if you have a long-haired breed. You can help your senior cat out by brushing him yourself on a daily basis, or at least a few times each week.
The changes that occur in your senior cat aren’t just physical. He may also display mental issues much like elderly humans. He may wander around occasionally or even appear disoriented. Some cats become much more vocal and meow too much for their owner’s liking. When caring for senior cats, also keep in mind they may not respond well to changes. Try to keep everything in the household the same as they do best with familiar routines.
There are quite a few diseases that are common in older cats. Hypertension, kidney issues, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes mellitus are among some of the most common. Different types of cancer are also more prevalent for aged cats.
With the increase in risk of these diseases, it’s important to monitor your cat closely for changes. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, you may want to let a vet give his opinion of it. Examinations conducted twice a year will hopefully catch any diseases early on, which would hopefully make it easier to deal with.