Elderly Cat Care: 8 Tips to Keep Your Pet Happy and Healthy
Cat lovers claim all kinds of benefits from owning a cat, and science backs up several of them—like lower risk of heart disease, better sleep, and the therapeutic effects of their purr. It can be hard for cat owners to watch their beloved pets grow old, but with the right information, it can still be a great time of life for your aging cat. These elderly cat care tips can help both you and your pet enjoy his/her later years.
Caring for Older Cats
It used to be that cats were considered elderly around eight years old, but due to improved nutrition, advances in veterinary medicine, living indoors, and advances in veterinary medicine, most cats are considered seniors when they are between 12 and 14 years old, and it isn’t that unusual to see them reach 20.
Follow these tips on caring for older cats to keep your pet’s quality of life the best it can be.
1. Take Your Cat to the Vet Regularly
As they age, cats need to visit the veterinarian more often. It’s recommended that senior cats see the vet every six months, even if your cat appears healthy. Regular check-ups allow your vet to detect problems earlier, which can result in better disease management.
2. Give Your Cat a Warm and Padded Place to Rest
As cats get older, they need extra padding and warmth for comfort. Provide cushioned sleeping places with a comfortable pillow or blanket, like incredibly soft Sew Sweet Minky Blankets. Once you have something soft and warm for your cat, make sure it’s easily accessible and not in a drafty area of your home.
3. Provide Proper Nutrition
Just like a human’s nutrition needs change with age, an older cat may need a different diet. Healthy senior cats will also have different requirements than those with chronic disease. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations on choosing a diet with the appropriate calories and nutrients for your aging cat.
4. Keep Your Cat Inside
Indoor cats live longer, healthier lives. Therefore, in order to protect your senior cat from several health and human hazards, you should keep her indoors.
When your cat does go outdoors, make sure she is supervised. Older cats who are used to being outside can learn to be happy indoors with enriched environments combined with opportunities for solitude.
5. Prevent Infectious Diseases
Senior cats are at greater risk for chronic diseases that can be hard to avoid like arthritis or thyroid issues. Therefore, you want to ensure your cat is protected against the diseases you can help prevent. Talk to your vet about the right vaccinations to prevent infectious diseases.
6. Grant Easy Access to Basic Needs
As cats age, they are more prone to developing arthritis, which may make it difficult to reach food, water, and litter boxes. Make these basic needs easy to reach, and remember stairs can be hard for older pets.
You may need to place food and water bowls in more than one place, and install litter boxes on every floor of the house. It may also be a good idea to switch to litter boxes with very low sides so they have an easier time getting in and out.
7. Pay Attention to Any Changes in Behavior
Cats are masters at hiding disease, so you have to be very observant of changes that may indicate something is wrong. This includes signs like:
- Changes in weight
- Difference in overall behavior
- Sleeping more than normal
- Changes in appetite
- Symptoms of dehydration
- Sudden lack of grooming
If you see changes, let your vet know right away. It’s better to catch issues earlier than later.
8. Help with Grooming
If self-grooming begins to wane, your senior cat can benefit from some gentle assistance. Long-haired cats especially can become uncomfortably matted. Gently brushing or combing their fur can remove loose hairs, stimulate circulation, and increase sebaceous gland secretions for a healthier, shinier coat.
With these elderly cat care tips and some extra attention on your part, you can continue to enjoy the bond with your senior cat for as long as possible. And if you’d like one of the softest blankets on the planet to cuddle up with your favorite feline, take a look at Sew Sweet’s complete line of minky blankets.