Ah, the age-old question—when does a cat officially become a senior citizen? While we may wish our feline friends truly had nine lives, the reality is that the average cat is considered a senior at around 10 years old.
With the wisdom of age (any maybe some gray fur), there are changes your cat will go through that are important to understand. As devoted feline enthusiasts, we understand that the love and companionship your senior cat provides are immeasurable. Now, it’s time to return the favor.
Today, let’s talk more about what it means to care for senior cats. From changes in diet and behavior to ways to keep your cat mentally young, we’re sharing 10 tips to ensure your feline friend’s golden years are filled with health and happiness.
10 Tips For Caring For Senior Cats
1. Keep Them Active Mentally…
Just because your cat is getting older doesn’t mean their mind has to slow down. Mental stimulation is crucial for senior cats. Introduce interactive toys, puzzles, and engaging games to keep their cognitive functions sharp.
Consider rotating toys to maintain their interest, and create scavenger hunts with treats to encourage problem-solving.
2. And Active Physically!
While they may not be as spry as their kitten days, senior cats still benefit from physical activity. Provide scratching posts, ramps, and low-impact toys to keep them moving and maintain muscle tone.
Gentle exercises, such as controlled play sessions or short walks on a leash, can help to prevent stiffness and promote joint health.
3. Snoop While You Scoop
Changes in your cat’s litter box habits can reveal a lot about their health. Keep an eye out for alterations in stool consistency and frequency, and be vigilant if accidents occur outside the litter box.
Also, notice any signs of straining or discomfort during elimination, which might indicate underlying issues like constipation or urinary problems.
4. Make Water More Available
Senior cats are prone to dehydration, so ensure water is easily accessible. Consider placing water bowls at floor level and in various locations around your home to encourage hydration.
Additionally, you can offer wet food or broth as a supplement to their diet to increase water intake.
5. Watch Out For Subtle Signs
Cats are masters at hiding pain, especially as they age. Look for subtle signs of discomfort, such as changes in grooming habits, reluctance to jump, or altered behavior.
Regularly check their ears and paws for signs of arthritis, and provide cozy and easily accessible resting spots to alleviate joint stress.
6. Stay On Top Of Dental Hygiene
Dental issues can plague senior cats. Regularly check their teeth for signs of gum disease, broken teeth, or infections. Incorporate dental treats and toys to promote oral health.
Brushing your cat’s teeth at home or scheduling professional dental cleanings can significantly contribute to their overall well-being.
7. Be Aware of Their Weight
Both weight gain and weight loss can be indicative of underlying health issues. Keep an eye on your senior cat’s weight and consult your veterinarian if you notice any significant changes.
Monitor their body condition score regularly, adjusting their diet accordingly to prevent obesity or address potential weight loss with a tailored nutrition plan.
8. Senior Cat Diet
As your cat ages, their nutritional needs evolve. Transition them to a senior cat food that addresses their changing dietary requirements. Consult your veterinarian for personalized dietary recommendations.
Senior cat foods often contain joint-supporting ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin, and they may be lower in calories to accommodate decreased activity levels.
9. Enjoy The Time Together
Embrace the opportunity to deepen your bond during your cat’s twilight years. Be patient, offer comfort, and relish the unique moments you share.
Create cozy spots around the house, such as heated beds or sunny windows, where your senior cat can relax and enjoy their surroundings.
10. Regular Feline Check-Ups
More than ever, regular check-ups are crucial for senior cats. Schedule bi-annual veterinary visits to monitor their overall health, detect potential issues early, and ensure a high quality of life.
These check-ups may include bloodwork, urine analysis, and other diagnostic tests to catch age-related conditions like kidney disease or hyperthyroidism in their early stages.
Let Our Feline Veterinarians Help Care For Your Senior Cat
Your feline friend has been there for you through thick and thin—now, let’s return the favor. By incorporating these tips into your senior cat’s care routine, you’ll ensure they age gracefully, surrounded by the love and attention they deserve.
For complete and compassionate care for your feline friends, contact Catonsville Cat Clinic for your next cat check-up.