As your cat becomes a senior, there are certain accommodations that you can make so that life can be a little easier on them. Since our cats speak meow, they don't have the ability to tell us that they need more help from you once they reach their golden years. These changes are small, but they can make a big impact towards the quality of life for your older feline friend.
Here is my list of simple tips to make life easier on your senior cat…
Switch to two vet visits per year instead of once annually
Our cats are the masters of hiding their pain and aren't quick to display signs of weakness. For your senior cat, they can develop health issues quickly which can go unnoticed, so this is why it's best to switch them from their regular once a year appointment to two appointments per year spaced six months apart. In addition to this, your vet will more closely monitor their weight, and will also ask you if your cat has had any changes to their eating and drinking habits. Hyperthyroidism in cats is on the rise, so it's important to know the signs. But keep in mind, this is a treatable condition and usually not a death sentence.
We know that cats simply love to be warm, and this is certainly true for senior cats. For older cats, regulating their body temperature isn't as easy as it once was when they were younger. So, as their dedicated owner, you can get them a heated cat bed to keep them nice and toasty whenever they curl up for a snooze! There are lots of cute and affordable options to choose from on Amazon, or you can even use a heating pad you have at home on a low setting and wrap it in a soft blanket and place it on their bed. Just be sure to turn it off whenever they're not using it should you go this route.
A litter box for their needs
As your cat ages, navigating around the home might not be as easy for them as it once was. And this is especially true when it comes to stepping up and down. If you have multiple floors in your home, consider placing a litter box on each floor so that your older kitty isn't forced to trek up or down the stairs when they need to relieve themselves. When cats house soil, the majority of the time this was not their decision to make. It can come as a result of health issues, and feline incontinence is not uncommon in senior cats. Make life easier on them by providing multiple boxes should you have more than one floor in your home. And also be sure that the box you are using is easy for them to enter and exit and doesn't require them to step up a lot. Trust me, they'll thank you for it!
For senior cats, there are certain things you'll want to watch for as they reach the twilight of their life. Learn what they are here on cattitudedaily.com.
For older kitty cats, a shallow dish isn't as easy for them to eat or drink out of because it's forcing them to put their head low to the ground in order to eat or quench their thirst. So, consider investing in food and water bowls that are raised up to make life easier on them. This will probably make for less mess, too!
When it comes to feeding a senior cat, it's very important that you are providing them with food that contains the highest quality of protein. VCA Hospitals says that, "Cancer, kidney disease, and heart disease are the most common causes of non-accidental death in cats, but proper nutrition may help mitigate the risk of developing certain diseases and chronic conditions." Obviously you'll want to consult with your cat's veterinarian before making the switch, and if you're unsure which high protein food is best, you can always ask them for their recommendations, too. Once a cat reaches their senior years, their body has to work harder to digest and break down the food that they eat. This is why quality is important, as well as a food that has a higher moisture content. Also, your senior cat likely isn't going to be as sprightly as they once were, so consider reducing their food intake so that they don't risk becoming obese.
Be sure they have their own space to retreat away from noise, people, and other pets
We know that cats do not like to be disturbed when they are sleeping, and the same goes for senior cats. A great way to show your senior kitty that you care is to make a place in your home that's just theirs and theirs alone. Think of a spare bedroom or perhaps a nook in your office, or anywhere else that isn't a high traffic area or breezy. Your feline friend will be grateful that you care, and it'll allow them to relax and unwind in peace when they are off in dreamland or simply not in the mood to be bothered.
Ramps not stairs
Just I mentioned above about the litter box, if your cat sleeps on the couch or the bed with you, jumping up and down might not be so easy for them or their tired joints. So, invest in a cat ramp for them so they don't have to climb or jump and can easily walk up to their favorite cozy spot. You can even find ones to match the decor in your home for a nice touch. When it comes to a cat’s lifespan, there are obviously several factors which play into it. It's important to note that larger cat breeds typically have a shorter lifespan as well, just as with large dog breeds. But regardless of how many trips around the sun you have with your feline friend, it's your job as their owner to make their twilight years with you as comfortable for them as possible.
Know anyone who has a senior cat in their life? Share this article with them so they can spoil their senior kitty with these simple tips.