Just like humans, cats are also getting old and become seniors. For a cat to be considered a senior, it needs to be about 8 to 12 years of age. As a cat owner, it is your responsibility to look after the health and overall welfare of your pet. This is especially true when your cat turns into a senior, because just like humans, as cats grow older they will needing special love and care. So it is up to you to make sure that your cat lives a happy and healthy life as it approaches its twilight years. Here are some tips to help you on how to care for senior cats:
As cats get older, the more it is necessary for you to supervise its diet. For cats that are suffering from medical conditions, you might want to consult a veterinarian and see if your cat may require a special diet plan. Senior cats can really benefit from a highly palatable diet because their sense of taste has deteriorated which can cause the loss of appetite.
When caring for senior cats, always ensure that they always have access to fresh drinking water. Dehydration more easily sets in as cats advance in age. Their organs won't respond very well to chronic dehydration either. The kidneys usually give seniors the most problem, and frequent dehydration certainly won't do these vital organs any good.
Exercise is yet another important aspect to consider when it comes to caring for a senior cat. Most old cats would rather stay in place and sleep all day, which can lead to eventual obesity because of lack of exercise. Obese cats are more prone to diseases such as diabetes and heart problems. So make sure that your cat gets the daily exercise it needs.
Just like with humans, arthritis becomes a problem for older cats. Once arthritis sets in, your cat won't be as physically active as he used to be. Don't be surprised if he stops climbing the stairs or hopping up onto the windowsill. Arthritic cats may even have problems getting into their litter boxes. If you notice yours has an issue with this, you can accommodate him by getting a shorter box or even putting a set of stairs beside it.
Dental care is important for cats of all ages. For older cats, it becomes increasingly important. The risk of developing dental disease only increases with age. This disease can cause enough pain to keep your cat from eating.
As we all know cats are very good when it comes to grooming themselves, but as they grow older they won't be able to groom themselves properly like before. You don't want him to develop a dry or excessively dirty coat. Matting can also become a problem if you have a long-haired breed. You can help your senior cat out by brushing him yourself on a daily basis, or at least a few times each week.
The changes that occur in your senior cat aren't just physical. He may also display mental issues much like elderly humans. He may wander around occasionally or even appear disoriented. Some cats become much more vocal and meow too much for their owner's liking. When caring for senior cats, also keep in mind they may not respond well to changes. Try to keep everything in the household the same as they do best with familiar routines.
There are quite a few diseases that are common in older cats. Hypertension, kidney issues, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes mellitus are among some of the most common. Different types of cancer are also more prevalent for aged cats. With the increase in risk of these diseases, it's important to monitor your cat closely for changes. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, you may want to let a vet give his opinion of it.
When caring for an older cat, you will be needing a lot of patience and devotion. Senior cats have special needs, so they will also require special care. If you run into any difficulties or problems, then make sure that you consult with a veterinarian right away. It's best to schedule a wellness exam every six months. As the cat's parent, it is your responsibility to make sure that your cat transitions well into its senior years.