She may take more time moving from spot to spot, her coat may not be as shiny or as full as it once was, and she may become more sensitive to changes. The needs of your senior cat change as she ages. By recognizing and accommodating these changes, you can make your cat's golden years more comfortable and enjoyable.
Your senior cat is more inclined to develop a variety of age-related ailments partially due to a decline in her immune system. Regular visits to a veterinarian are essential. Early diagnosis and treatment is the key for a better quality of life. By detecting and treating one ailment, you can prevent a series of related problems that contribute to the overall decline of your cat's physical and mental health.
For example, pain due to arthritis can contribute to a lack of activity which, in turn, can lead to loss of muscle mass and tone. Movement becomes even more difficult, and depression and a series of other problems may develop. If your veterinarian diagnoses arthritis, you will need to work with your veterinarian to effectively manage the joint problem. The more your senior cat is able to move about freely, the more exercise she will get - further benefiting her overall physical and mental well-being.
Mental and Physical Stimulation
Regular exercise contributes to better mental and physical health. Incorporate play and exercise in your daily routine to help keep your senior cat physically and mentally fit. Keep her favorite toys accessible. For low-impact exercise and mental stimulation, you might also turn on her favorite "cat video." The Window Perch is an excellent way to provide both mental and physical stimulation. Allow your cat easy access to her favorite window with an Indoor Ramp or the Cat Stair-Steps.
Creating a Friendly Environment for Your Senior Cat
Though regular exercise will help maintain greater mobility, some senior cats may still have some difficulty moving about. Be sure to make everything easily accessible. If you live in a multi-level house, keep your cat's litter box on the level she stays on most frequently. Place several litter boxes throughout the house and consider litter boxes with lower sides like the Nature's Miracle Advanced Hooded Corner Litter Box for easier access. This will help prevent "accidents" from happening.
With age, your senior cat's senses gradually decline. She may not see or hear as well, making her more prone to stress. Because your senior cat is less able to cope with stress, you should provide quiet areas where your senior cat can feel safe and secure. Orthopedic foam beds are ideal. The calming effects of Comfort Zone plugged near her bed can help alleviate stress. Your senior cat is also more sensitive to temperature changes. If you live in an area that experiences cold winters, provide a heated pet bed or a
thermal cushion to keep her warm and comfortable.
Most behavior changes are just a part of normal aging, but in certain senior cats, it may be an indication of a more serious ailment. Don't be quick to dismiss changes as simply part of aging. Whenever you are not certain, consult your veterinarian to help ensure the quality of life your senior cat deserves.