How to take care of your elderly cat
Rest assure nowadays cats live much longer than before. This is due to better nutrition, veterinary methods and home care which have developed.
If you're wondering how to calculate your cats age, here is how to do it. The first two years represent 24 human years. From there, every year after is equal to 4 human years. Usually once your cat has surpassed 7-10 years of age they would be considered a senior cat. This means that as they grow old their body and behaviour changes. A study found that around 90% of cats over 12 years of age are diagnosed with arthritis. This can be prevented with a couple of tips and tricks we recommend to have a healthy and happy older cat.
Firstly, here are some behavioural aspects to look out which show that your cat is growing old. Older cats will tend to hunt less if they are often outside. This also means that they will spend less time outside and be less active. This results in them sleeping for even longer periods. Furthermore elderly cats will also be more fussy when it comes to their food and have a reduced appetite.
Here are some easy tips and tricks for you:
Regular health checks: This would depend your cats age and general health and 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 and balance
- 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 you to go see your personal veterinary to make sure that everything is alright with your cat.
As your cat gets old it may become difficult for them to groom themselves. So you may need to help them wipe away any discharge around their eyes, nose...using separate pieces of cotton for each area. We would recommend to trim their coat which may make it easier for them to clean themselves. We would also recommend you brush your cat using a soft brush every couple of days. Also check for any lumps or bumps which may be causing pain towards your cat.
Furthermore, we would recommend claw trimming. Check your cat's nails weekly if you can 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 yourself at home.
Lastly remember to have dental checks. This can cause problems so try to check regularly for signs of any growths, or any reddening of the gums, or even evidence of dental disease. You can also spot any dental disease if your cat has a loss of petite, drooling, bad breath... If you have any doubts don't hesitate to consult your vet.
Change their diet:
Make sure that what you are feeding them corresponds to their health needs. So check that there is an adequate protein levels, and nutrients. If not we would recommend supplementing taurine. Many cats are also vulnerable to drinking less leading them to suffer from various medical conditions such as chronic kidney disease. So always check that they constantly have water at their disposal 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.
Don't hesitate to email me if you have any questions!
See you next time!