Having a pet can change your life dramatically, especially when it comes to cats. While most people think that cats are not emotional, don’t have the same level of attachment as dogs and other such misconceptions, most cat owners know that such claims are far from reality.
Cats have high EQ and are really smart animals. As a pet owner, you may have seen your cat grow up from a cute kitten to an older cat or you may have just adopted a senior cat and are unsure how to take care of them?
Before understanding how to take care of a senior cat, what exactly classifies your cat as “senior”?
Who Is A Senior Cat?
Cats over 7-10 years are generally considered to be seniors. When your cat starts entering this age group, you’ll realize that things are beginning to change quickly. It is important to realize that senior cats have special needs and they require extra attention.
If you’re confused as to how to take care of a senior cat, here are some important pointers to keep in mind.
How To Care For A Senior Cat?
1. Schedule Regular Vet Visits
Senior cats need to be checked every 6 months to a year. Even though your cat may appear healthy, there are many underlying changes that can only be diagnosed and treated by a professional. With every visit, body condition evaluation is necessary as it helps keep track of any changes in the cat’s body.
2. Pay Attention To Changes
As is the case with many diseases, symptoms are hard to identify. Any small change in a cat’s behavior, right from sleeping more to being less active can be a huge indicator of what the cat may be going through. Keeping a track of eating habits, vomiting, etc can be very helpful and the same has to be conveyed to your veterinarian.
3. Keep Checking Their Weight
Fluctuations in the cat’s weight are major indicators of their overall health. Weight gain and weight loss are both dangerous, hence any major changes should be treated as a serious cause for concern. In such cases, go to your veterinarian and consult for further course of action.
4. Adapt To Their Changing Needs
It is a common fact that as cats grow older, their needs are no longer the same. Daily mobility and access to their favorite spots often become difficult. Hence, softer sleeping places and making sure that your cat’s favorite spots are easily accessible through ramps and stools should be addressed and the ever-changing needs of a senior cat have to be looked after to make their old age easier.
5. Keep Older Cats Entertained
Environmental stimulation isn’t just for young kittens. Older cats need it too. Lack of proper exercise can make them gain weight, which can further lead to problems like arthritis. Not only physical, but mental enrichment is just as important. Keeping your older cat occupied with toys and indoor puzzles is a great way to keep them entertained and help stimulate their brains and muscles.
6. Adapt Their Litter Box
An older cat’s evolving needs include the litter box as well. What may have been easy access for a younger cat is a difficult one for an older cat. Small things like a high-step or the texture of the litter can cause an aversion to the litter box and lead an older cat to house-soil. Hence, making it more accessible and adapting the litter box to the cat’s needs is also important.
7. Pay Special Attention To Their Poop
Paying attention to your cat’s stool will help you assess its health condition quicker. The frequency, texture, and color are indicators of a cat’s health. If you notice any change in the pattern, consult a vet to understand the reason behind it.
8. Consider A Special Diet Plan
As a cat starts aging, it is more than likely to develop health issues. These range from hyperthyroidism, arthritis, obesity, liver disease, diabetes, etc. All of these require a specialized diet plan for your cat. Even if your cat doesn’t have any health issues, it is important to maintain a balanced diet plan to encourage weight management. Due to fewer physical activity, older cats tend to get obese, which leads to many severe health issues. Hence, a balanced and specialized diet plan is an important part of taking care of an older cat’s health.
9. Practice Good Hygiene
From professional oral care to brushing your cat’s teeth, it is important to keep maintaining good hygiene practices for your older cat. A well-groomed cat has less risk of contracting any infections. Other than that, regular grooming sessions will keep an older cat more comfortable on a daily basis and will keep avoidable complications at bay.
10. Make Special Memories
Last but not least, don’t forget to cherish the time you have left with your cat.
Having an older cat is a blessing as the memories that you make are even more special because of the lack of time and the possible complications that your cat may or may not be facing. This is the perfect time to make special memories with your cat and be there for them when they need you the most.
Helping your cat and showering them with extra love and attention goes a long way in providing the care that they need when they’re old.