Old is gold and old friends are certainly the best. This holds true especially for our feline friends. Cats are cute, sweet and often downright funny and dramatic little fellows. Their sweetness gets better with age. Domesticated cats that are well-cared for live longer than known nine years and sometimes live till early twenties!
When our feline friends reach their old age usually ten years, it is time that we make few adjustments for them so they enjoy a comfortable senior life. Elderly cats are great pets but we need to take care of the unique needs as pets need our attention and love during this transitional time. As cats reach their senior years they slow down, snooze a lot and sometimes eat less.
Being a pet parent, you need to observe and do not mistake the aging signs with symptoms of illness. Get your elderly cats examined every 6 months so that blood tests and examination helps in diagnosing any issues.
Listed below are some great tips to keep your senior cat happy & healthy:
Kittens are lovely playful creatures. With age the charm of playing lessens but it is important. Exercise in the form of fun games is very important for elderly cats. To keep your cat active and amused, make sure that your cat plays with teasers and catnip toys. Spend more time with your cat. Cats particularly enjoy laser pointer games but take care not to shine it directly in their aging eyes.
Provide Soft Spots:
With age, pets tend to feel cold or warm in extreme temperatures. Get your senior cat a bucket bed with some fur and cushioned with foam. It will keep her warm and relief her sore hips.
With age the strength and agility of cats slows down. Cats may grow old but they still love being the queen. Give her ways so that she can perch on her favorite high shelves, steps. You could even help her by lifting her up and placing her on her favorite top places.
Regular Vet Care:
Regular vet care and checkups are extremely important. Once your cat begins to age and reach her teens she ages @4 human years for each 1 cat year. Vet visits ensure that your aging cat is healthy and if there is any health problem it could be diagnosed earlier. Yearly checkups once or twice are year are great.
With age like humans, cats are not that active or strong. When in kitten years, your cat may have been alright when you push her off the table or bed but now it could result in a painful landing. Be gentle and place her on the floor yourself with a no.
Sometimes you cat will annoy you like acting super-needy, howling late at night or snoozing in the clean laundry. Cut her some slack as she is baffled and just seeking comfort regarding her changing body and abilities.
Our pets have given us a lot of love and comfort in hard times. Cats sometimes act as real royalty and this trait increases in senior years. They need to be taught gently but once in a while it would not hurt to give them the first piece of treat and ensure that younger cats are out of her way. With age, they need more of our attention and care.
If you have other pets, especially bouncing energetic dogs, keep your elder cat out of the way and find her a safe spot away or high enough from the young energetic ones. Elderly cats become sensitive with age and this way they will not feel stressed and you will not be worried either about her getting into the rough play of younger pets.
Install some cat shelves on the wall so that your cats can have timeout from your dog pets. You could make them on your own or get them ready made from market too. They should be high enough but yet accessible.
No, we are not talking about alcohol. If you see your cat drinking a lot of water, that indicates decline in kidney function, diabetes, thyroid disease or worse cancer. They ailments affect senior cats commonly but are easily treatable thankfully. There may be an increase in your senior cat’s thirst. But one thing that needs your immediate attention is when your cat stands by the water bowl looking dazed. That is a warning sign.
There is another warning sign that suggest a vet’s visit but is so subtle that you may miss it if you do not observe. Cats who are suffering from any lung diseases will have labored breathing like they have to make an effort to breathe or breathe from their belly. Dogs cough in such situations but cats don’t. It is part of their feline survival instinct. So observe.
Hyperthyroidism is a common disease of senior cats. The cats lose weight that is accompanied by an increase in appetite. Surely when your elderly cats make the cutest eyes and asks for extra meals and snacks between meal times, it is hard to say no. But do NOT indulge her. Get her to the vet. If diagnosed early, the thyroid function of your senior cat can be easy and simple to administer.
Make Notes of Newly Acquired Tastes:
If you notice that your senior cat has picked on a new strange habit, take note. As stated earlier, you need to be vigilant during the aging years of your pets. Noticing such things carefully could turn out well for both of you. For example, if you find your cat nibbling at a coconut oil soap bar, don’t find it odd only. It has health benefits and your cat might be developing a taste for coconut. Instead you could get them a spoonful of coconut oil daily. It is good for their health and apparently now they like it!
No matter how old they get, cats will prove that it is never too late to try new tricks at their humans!