Senior cats have different health needs to younger cats. Here are a few ways to keep your oldie healthy:
- Regular vet checkups are vital
Make sure your senior cat has regular visits with your vet. Cats over the age of 7 must see a vet once a year; twice a year if they are aged 10 or more or are on chronic medication. A thorough physical examination may reveal health issues that can impact your cat’s life and comfort level, such as dental disease, arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease and more.
- Check for behavioural changes
Watch your senior cat’s behaviour carefully. This is important for all pets but doubly so for oldies. Changes could be a symptom of disease. Watch for changes in appetite and water consumption; in urinary and bowel habits; and changes to sleep routines. If your cat suddenly becomes irritable for no reason, it may be because he is in pain, having difficulty seeing, or having a hard time hearing properly. Should you notice any changes in routine or unusual behaviour, consult your vet immediately.
- Make movement easier for him/her
Your senior cat may have pain caused by arthritis or other health issues that make it difficult for him to get around. Consider providing ramps or stairs to allow him/her access to a favourite sleeping spot. Ramps on stairs may make it easier for your pet to get up and down the stairs, and carpeting on slippery floors may help your dog gain his footing. A litter box with lower sides can make it easer for your cat to get in and out of the box, and an extra litter box in another part of the house can help to prevent accidents.
- Choose an age-appropriate diet
Dietary requirements change as your cat ages. Some older pets tend to gain weight and may need a diet for less active cats. Others may have difficulty holding their weight and may need a diet with a higher calorie content or better palatability. Older cats also may have diseases that can be manipulated and/or controlled at least partly through diet. Your veterinarian can help you choose an appropriate diet for your senior cat based on cat’s individual nutritional requirements.
- Pimp out your cat’s bed
Provide soft blankets and towels for your senior cat’s bed. This will help him to rest easier and sleep better. Chat with our Vetshop staff about the best beds for ageing cats. Sheepskin is a popular choice as it is soft on old bones, and warm.
- extracted from an article by Lorie Huston, DVM, featured in PetMD