As cats move into the senior phase of their lives, they may be less apt to jump up to an elevated perch, are fussier at mealtime, and are less interested at playtime. Cats move into this phase between 8 and 12 years of age, and though it pains us to see our beloved family member change, there are several important things we can do for him to make the transition easier and keep him in optimal health.
By making good nutritional choices, using appropriate medications and supplements, and incorporating exercise into your cat's daily routine, you can make his senior years more joyful and comfortable.
Some studies suggest senior cats
do not digest properly, and thus
may not absorb fat, vitamins,
minerals, and electrolytes as
well as younger cats. This
means that they may not
be getting the calories
or the nutrition they
need for optimal
energy and function.
Rule out medical problems
with your veterinarian, but
if your senior cat is shedding
pounds due to poor digestion,
make sure you're feeding
quality diet with highly
digestible proteins and fats.
In addition, supplement with
digestive aid to help him get
the most nutritional benefit
from his food. Since your cat's
senses diminish as he ages, try lightly warming
his food before feeding to bring out its
flavor and aroma. Make sure he's getting
plenty of fresh water, too.
Arthritis Can Rob Mobility
Geriatric cats with arthritis are no longer
the agile little tigers you once had zipping
around your home. They may have trouble
getting into and out of the litter box, which
may make them inclined to eliminate elsewhere.
They may also begin to avoid jumping
over obstacles or jumping up to favorite
perching sites, which decreases activity level
- and enjoyment of their surroundings. If your cat is disgnosed with arthritis, work with your veterinarian to develop an arthritis management plan.
Stair steps or
provide access to
favorite perching spots without the pain of
climbing. A low-sided
litter box is easier on
joints, too, and may prevent litter-box avoidance
"accidents" around the house.
Veterinary Care: Essential in
|Regular visits to your veterinarian are
essential in your cat's senior years, not
only to diagnose and treat ailments,
but also to prevent a series of related
problems that can occur if one ailment
Make sure your veterinary visits include
dental exams and regular cleanings.
Dental disease is one of the most
common problems in senior cats.
Regular at-home care is an important
bridge between veterinary visits.
Medicating With Ease
Your aging cat may be less cooperative at
taking medications. You can try one of the
special treats on
the market made especially for hiding a pill
or medication inside. Your cat
thinks he's getting a treat, and
you don't have to fight him to
take his medication.
Help Keep Him Active
Activity (physical and mental) is crucial
for senior cats. It increases blood flow,
which stimulates and oxygenates tissues
to help remove toxins from the body
more easily. Exercise also helps maintain
proper bowel function, especially in constipation-prone senior cats, and can even
help cats maintain emotional health. If
your cat is still active, take him outside
harness and leash for exercise and
mental stimulation. If arthritic, take him
outside in a
pet stroller in mild weather.
Brush him often to stimulate circulation,
especially if he's stopped grooming
cat grass handy for him
to smell, chew, and paw at for added
Whenever you are not certain about any
of your aging cat's changes, consult your
veterinarian. Timely action will help
preserve the quality of life your senior
Products for your senior cat...