Get Pet Insurance for your Cat & Dog
Terms and conditions apply*
How to Take Care of an Older Cat?
Cats age sooner, but with good care, they are able to live well till their late teens and even when they are in their twenties. You will notice a physical and behavioural change in a cat when they age. Thus, take proper care and carry check-ups every month to ensure good health and early detection of disease.
Navigate through this write-up to learn how to take care of an older cat and detect the subtle changes that might indicate an underlying illness and require treatment.
8 Tips to Take Care of an Older Cat
Most cats are considered to be old or seniors when they are 12 years to 14 years old. As it matures into an adult, you will notice changes in your cat. Here, it is necessary to take them to a professional vet after every 6 months. This is for cats who are 15 years old. However, it is necessary to take them to a vet every 4 months when they are more than 15 years.
While you take them for regular check-ups, here are some tips on how to take care of an older cat:
1. Monitor Your Cat’s Diet
Older cats have unique diets and behavioural requirements, and it is necessary to maintain a healthy weight so that they do not fall ill often. Take your cat to a vet who will assess your pet's weight and suggest a diet as per your cat's age so that it can lose or gain weight accordingly. Here is what you can do to ensure your cat is consuming the correct proportion of food:
- Improve your cat’s digestion by feeding it frequent but small quantities of meals throughout the day.
- You can use hunting feeders and pet toys to encourage the mental and physical engagement of your pet as they consume food.
- Avoid pushing your cat towards a diet that they are not willing to have, as this can instigate their illness.
- Obesity is a common issue with older cats and can cause extreme health issues to your pet, therefore, making it necessary to feed your pet the correct proportion of food.
2. Ensure Your Cat Drinks Enough Water
As your cat ages, it is prone to kidney disease, diarrhoea and constipation. This is the reason they need to stay hydrated throughout the day. You must ensure your cat drinks enough water by keeping bowls of water or pet water fountains around your house. You can also opt for canned food that will allow them to intake more water.
3. Provide Mental Stimulation
An important part of elderly cat care is to encourage them towards daily exercise and provide mental stimulation to them. This will better their quality of life. Cats require places to display their energy and let their suppressed energy flow. This helps them stay active, physically fit and mentally stimulated. As your cat ages, try giving thought to these aspects so that they are active.
4. Keep Things Accessible
One of the essential senior cat care tips is to make a covered and cosy bed for your pet. This will be their warm and comfortable stay which also helps to soothe their sore and swollen muscles and joints. Keep the things they use, such as their food and water bowls in more accessible locations on the floor instead of keeping them in the topmost places.
5. Ensure Regular Veterinary Visits
Maintain a good relationship with your veterinarian so that your cat becomes comfortable when you regularly take them for check-ups. Do not forget to ensure the following things to your vet:
- Provide your vet with details of medications and supplements you are giving your cat.
- Give your vet a complete list of food items your cat is consuming, the brand names and the proportions too.
- In case you find your old cat doing unusual behaviour, record videos and show them to your vet for easy identification.
- Try to recognise what your cat likes most and what it avoids, and convey the same to your vet.
6. Create a Friendly Environment
One of the most important aspects of taking care of senior cats includes creating a safe, comfortable and happy environment for them at home. This will lift their mood and keep them active too. These are some things you can do to lift your favourite old cat's mood:
- Older pets long for extra comfort and warmth. Provide soft cloth or bedding at the places where they rest or sleep.
- Place their resources, food, water, toys, litter boxes and beds in multiple locations inside your house so that they can easily access them.
- Add steps or ramps if you find your cart having trouble jumping to its favourite places.
- Groom your pet by gently combing or brushing them and cutting their nails. If the nails of older arthritic cats overgrow, they can turn to painful paw pads.
7. Avoid Taking Outdoors Without Supervision
Another way of caring for senior cats is to make sure they are not going outdoors without the supervision of you or any other person. Older cats, generally, wish to live indoors as they can be themselves and enjoy a comfortable space indoors. However, to ensure they are active, allow them to visit nearby parks and beaches, but of course, under supervision.
8. Enjoy Special Bond
Do not forget to maintain the special bond that you and your pet share. Try to find time from your busy schedule and interact with your old friend as much as you can. Petting and playing with your cat will not only lift its mood but will also lift your mood as well. These are special memories that will stay with you for a lifetime.
So, as you know how to take care of old cats, let us get into the details of some health issues your pet might face as it ages.
What Are the Common Health Issues Visible in Older Cats?
As your cat ages, there are certain specific health and other issues that you will notice developing in them. These need to be addressed and treated as soon as possible to avoid the chances of worsening the situation. Some of the health issues with senior cats include:
- Dental and oral health issues
- Issues with ears
- Muscle and joint issues
- Problems with heart and lungs
- Gastrointestinal, pancreatic or kidney problems
- Body condition and a problem with weight
- Infections and parasitic diseases
- Issues with skin and coat quality
- Change in the sleep-wake cycle
- Change or problem in vision
- Reduced sense of smell
- Brittle or ingrown nails
- Frequent mood shifts and distresses
Apart from these, you can also monitor your pet’s routine and behaviour and look for any changes such as:
- Sudden weight gain or loss in your cat
- Change in urination or thirst
- Extreme diarrhoea or frequent vomiting
- Change in appetite
- Extreme tiredness or lethargy
As you visit wellness care, there are several things that they check. Let us find out what they are.
What Areas Do Wellness Care for Pets Check?
As it is necessary to take your old cat to wellness care centres regularly, here is what they check:
- They will thoroughly review your cat’s behaviours and habits
- Veterinarians will check your cat’s skin and coat quality
- They will also detect if there are issues with their mouth, teeth and gums or ears and eyes
- Your vet will provide a thorough check-up of your cat’s heart and circulatory system to identify underlying issues
- Additionally, they will also check their lungs, nose, abdomen, joints and muscles to rule out issues
- Blood pressure checks, bloodwork and urine testing are other important things your vet will check
- Your vet will also check if your cat is suffering from hyperthyroidism
Well, you must be aware that apart from doing all these, it is also necessary for you to take proper care of your cat’s nutrition. Let us get into the details of what is senior cat food and why is it necessary for older cats.
How Does Senior Cat Food Help Take Care of Cats?
Senior cat food consists of specially formulated nutrition that is essential for ageing cats, thus it helps maintain the health of your furry friend. Try serving cat food in dry or preferably wet form since ageing pets need a high amount of water intake daily. Feeding them food and water in small quantities frequently will help senior cats digest it faster and easier, avoiding bowel issues. Other benefits are:
- It increases the lifespan of your pet as it consumes the correct proportion of cat food.
- It allows managing the weight of your cat as you feed it the right amount of cat food.
- Senior cat food is an age-specific diet that maintains a healthy coat, skin and body function of your pet.
Now that you have an idea of how to take care of an older cat, keep all your worries aside. Furthermore, if you have any queries regarding the specific behaviour of your old cat, seek assistance from your vet. You can also consult with other pet owners regarding these issues and try to find a solution. However, the most essential care your cat needs at this age is love and warmth from your end.