How to Take Care of Your Elderly Cat
Rest assured: nowadays cats live much longer than they used to, due to better nutrition, veterinary methods and improved home care.
If you're wondering how to calculate your cat's age, here is how to do it: the first two years represent 24 human years. From there, every following year is equal to 4 human years. Usually once your cat has surpassed 7-10 years of age, they would be considered a senior cat. As they grow older, their body and behaviour changes. A study found that around 90% of cats over 12 years of age are diagnosed with arthritis. However, there are some preventional measures you can take to promote a healthy and happy life for your older cat.
Firstly, here are some behavioural aspects which show that your cat is growing old. Older cats will tend to hunt less if they are often outside. They will spend less time outside and be less active. They will sleep for even longer periods than before. Elderly cats will also be more fussy when it comes to their food and they often have a reduced appetite.
Here are some easy tips and tricks for you:
Regular health checks:
Depending on your cat's age and general health, see what would best suit them in regards to health checks. Here are some signs that your cat may need some medical attention:
- Loss of appetite leading to weight loss
- Drinking more often or a larger amount per day
- Stiffness or difficulty in jumping up, balance issues
- Lumps or bumps anywhere on the body
- Toilet accidents or difficulty passing urine or faeces
- Uncharacteristic behaviour, such as hiding, aggression, excessive vocalisation
If you spot any of these characteristics, we would recommend to go see your personal veterinary to make sure that everything is alright with your cat.
As your cat gets older, it may become difficult for them to groom themselves. You may need to help them wiping away any discharge around their eyes and nose, using separate pieces of cotton for each area. We would recommend trimming their coat, making it easier for the cat to clean herself. Brush your cat using a soft brush every couple of days. Also, check for any lumps or bumps, which may be causing the cat pain.
We would also recommend claw trimming. Check your cat's nails weekly as they are less able to retract their claws. Just ask your veterinary for the right advice and training so that you can perform this task at home.
Lastly, remember to have dental checks. Try to check regularly for signs of any growths or reddening of the gums, or even evidence of dental disease. Signs of dental diseases include loss of appetite, drooling, or bad breath. If you have any doubts or questions, don't hesitate to consult with your vet.
Change their diet:
Make sure that what you are feeding your cat corresponds to her health needs. Check for adequate protein levels and nutrients. We would recommend supplementing taurine. Taurine Powder is an essential amino acid in cats and is vitally important for heart muscle function, vision, digestion and to maintain a healthy immune system. Taurine should be included in a cats' diet as it can't be synthesized in the body. It can act as nutritional support in cases of muscle tremors and nerve ailments. The addition of Taurine Powder to your cat’s diet can also play a role in muscle maintenance and performance.
Many cats are also drinking less with old age, leading them to suffer from various medical conditions such as chronic kidney disease. Always make sure that they constantly have fresh water available in different areas.
Play around with them:
Get your cats favourite toy (if they have one) as it is a good way to distract them even if they get older. We also recommend bigger toys as this may encourage your cat to lay and roll around, which is a great exercise for them.