As much as we do not look forward to it, our cats will age. As they age, we will have to take greater care of them and pay more attention to their needs. Their needs and wants will change as they age, so it is vital that we monitor them closely and adapt to the changes. If we are not careful, our cats may not be receiving the care and attention that they will require as they age. Here are 4 tips to taking care of your senior cat.
1. More Regular Checkups
Regular vet checks is a must through out the lifetime of your cat. Once a year, visit your vet for the annual vaccinations and also to have a health check up. That is non negotiable and it is one of the very basic things you should do for your cat. Cats are experts at hiding their illnesses and pain, so many a times, by the time they display any form of sicknesses, they will have been suffering for quite a bit of time. As your cat ages, you should bring him to a vet more regularly. Instead of once a year, visit your vet every 6 months just to make sure your cat is in good health and seek your vet’s advice on how to take care of your cat as he ages.
2. Change the Diet Accordingly
As your cat ages, his dietary needs will change as well. You should feed him a diet that is lower in calories and salt. Your senior cat will be less active, thus maintaining a high calorie and salt content will result in obesity and kidney problems. Depending on your cat’s health as he enters senior citizenship, his diet may require an overhaul. Many cats tend to have kidney problems as they age due to the high salt content in many commercially available food, thus it is vital to lower the salt intake of your cat. More calcium intake will also be advisable as your cat ages due to the aging of bones and joints. Supplements should also be given to your cat to ensure he receives all the vitamins and essentials required to be healthy and happy in old age.
3. Play with Your Cat
Your cat will become less active as he ages. You will notice that he will tend to sleep longer, more often. However, that does not mean that you cut down on playing time with your cat. Play with your cat as often as you did when he was younger. Do not think that you should not play with him as much as before due to his old age! Regular play time with his favourite toys will ensure your cat gets to exercise and work those aging joints and muscles. Sufficient exercise will also ensure he does not become obese, which is a common problem in senior cats. Playtime will also keep your cat’s mind active and prevent boredom.
4. Stairs/ Ramps
Chances are, your cat is used to jumping up and down the furniture, the cat trees and the ledges that you have placed around your house for him to perch on. As your cat grows older, his joints will not be able to take that much jumping around, especially leaping off from great heights. As a result, it is wise to place more stairs and ramps around the house that will help your cat get up to his favourite lounging places. This will help to prevent any knee problems that may arise. If he is already having knee problems, the stairs/ramps will ensure that he is still able to reach his favourite perch to laze on and watch the world go by.