The Aging Process of Cats And How to Take Care of Them - Guest blog courtesy of PetBucket
Pet Perennials knows cats are family. And we realize senior pets have special needs. We all want our fur-family to remain with us as long as possible. Keeping them healthy and happy is so important. As we enter into the holidays remember to take safety measures to keep all our pets safe from harm.
PetBucket shares their top tips on how to take care of your elderly cat to ensure they stay healthy and happy:
1.At 10 your cat is officially a “senior”, so keep an eye on her health
Cats typically reach their senior years between 10 and 12. But in this day and age, our feline friends often live well into their teens, so the good news is that a 10-year-old healthy cat still has lots of life left to live.
Your kitty may not be leaping from high furniture anymore, but mentally, she’s still sharp. However, it’s at 10 that most cats start to slow down a little. She will become a little shy around new people and get a little stressed if she has to move around a lot or move house. So try not to let young children handle her and keep her protected from loud noises that may startle her.
At 10 years old, she may also start to develop the kind of health problems aging people face, such as diabetes or arthritis. It’s sensible therefore to give your cat lots of opportunities for stimulating play and exercise – even if all she seems to want to do is sleep. This will help to keep her mind and body healthy, and also keep her happy. Keep an eye on her behavior and discuss any alterations in your cat’s physical condition with your veterinarian.
2.At 13 to 15, it’s sensible to take your cat for twice-yearly check-ups with your vet
When your purr-y friend reaches her teenage years, unfortunately she is likely to start suffering from some health issues. You may notice she doesn’t run to her food bowl as quickly when you call, or she bumps into things. If you notice she is less mobile, it may be worth ordering joint supplements for cats. Cat eye problems and loss of vision, mobility or hearing is common in cats this age, as is age-related cognitive dysfunction.
Cognitive dysfunction (CD) is basically the pet equivalent of Alzheimer’s disease, and affects almost half of senior cats. It can mean cats have less energy and become sluggish, and they will become less social, disorientated and forgetful.
You may also notice that at this age your kitty becomes easily irritated – but she won’t mean it, it’s just a natural part of getting older. She will be more sensitive to chilly weather conditions, so ensure she can relax in a warm and dry space, and that her bedding is nice and cozy. Senior cats are also at a higher risk in hot weather conditions, so take extra care to keep her hydrated and cool during the summer.
Now she’s a teenager, it’s a good idea to take her to the vet twice a year for a complete geriatric check-up, as early diagnosis and treatment of an illness is the key to providing the best quality of life for your lovely cat.
3.At 16, offer your cat supplements and make sure she is getting the right nutrition
If your precious cat reaches the ripe old age of 16, she is now equivalent to an 80-year-old woman. It would be unusual therefore if she didn’t have some sort of health problems - and she will think and move more slowly than she once did when she was a kitty.
Your cat can still have an extremely good quality of life at this age however if they are fed the right food, given supplements or cat vitamins, and maintain a good level of exercise. At this age, your cat’s diet should typically be low in fat and high in protein – but it’s worth consulting your vet about nutritional requirements.
It may be a nice idea to treat her to an orthopedic bed to keep her comfortable – especially if she has arthritis – and a night light if her vision isn’t what it used to be. Make sure that her litter tray and water bowl are close by or easily assessable, and keep note of any changes you notice in your cat, from loss of appetite or water consumption, to confusion, or incontinence. If you notice something, visit your vet asap and get her treated. That way you and your cat can share as many happy memories together as possible.
Pet Perennials provides a convenient online storefront offering one-of-a-kind pet loss sympathy gifts that bring comfort to the pet lover(s) while honoring the memory of a pet. Some of our eco-friendly gifts include a soy candle infused with essential oils that has a keepsake stone heart embedded inside, a gardening kit that grows colorful perennial flowers in gardens & flowers pots, and a ceramic mug with Rainbow Bridge artwork design.
We make goodbyes a little easier with our convenient and thoughtful pet loss sympathy packages that ship across the USA. Our packages include the gift of choice and a handwritten sympathy card which are colorfully wrapped and shipped directly to someone with a broken heart. Pet Perennials is healing hearts and our land, one package at a time.