How to Take Care of Your Senior Cats
Everyone age with time, the very happens with your cute, cuddly cat. Cats mature faster than humans; that is why their age is calculated in "cat years." According to old beliefs, one "human year" is equal to seven "cat years;" however, in real, if you compare a seven-year-old child and a one-year-old cat, then the cat is more mature than the child.
Till now, there is no scientific method to determine the age of cat in human years exactly. It is roughly estimated that the initial two years of a cat's life are approximately equal to the initial 24 years of a human being and after this; each additional year is approx. four "cat years."
You need to take a lot of care of your cat as they get old; their body undergoes a lot of changes. Hence, their needs become different from their younger times. The question arises how do you know that your cat is aging? In general, cats are considered seniors by the time they reach 7-10 years of age. Following are the tips, which will help you in taking care of your cat in its old age:
1. Make Comfortable Accommodation for your Aging Cat
One of the most common diseases a cat gets after reaching the age of 12 is "Arthritis." If your cat finds it difficult to move around as actively as it could earlier and is reluctant to jump then maybe she has developed arthritis. Do not ignore these symptoms as she needs help!
Since she is finding difficulty in going from one place to another, keep essential things like fresh and clean drinking water, food and litter box in her vicinity. As arthritis is quite painful and makes her immovable, don't make her climb stairs for basic essentials.
Make her accommodation comfortable by cushioning her bed where she relaxes or sleeps. You can also put blankets or towels on cat bed to make it more comfortable than before.
2. Try to keep your cat in shape by feeding them Right
Did you know that cats spend 70% of their lifetime sleeping? Cats become lazy as they grow old, most of them like to sit in one place and become "couched potato" this leads to weight gain.
You should properly feed your cat to prevent obesity. As your cat is getting older, it may have some changes in appetite and eating portion. That's why you need to get an appropriate diet from your veterinarian, which fulfills all the nutritional requirements of your cat.
Cats also require more proteins than dogs. So you can feed your cat with pet food, which contains the appropriate level of proteins for your cat's age and lifestyle. Cats are born carnivorous, don't feed them with vegan diet; it won't fulfill their nutritional requirements such as Arachidonic Acid and Taurine, which is found only in animal sources. So, prefer providing your aging cat "animal-rich" cat food.
3. Fortifying Fatty Acids like EPA and DHA into your Aging Cat's Diet
Fatty acids like EPA and DHA are quite helpful for cats that have developed arthritis, joint problems, or any other mobility issues. Make sure that you include these in her diet. You can also feed your cat with supplements like chondroitin and glucosamine; they have also proved to be good for older cats.
4. Get a Customized Diet if your Cat is suffering from any Disease
If your cat has kidney or heart disease then asks your veterinarian to design a special diet for your ailing pet. For instance, cats with kidney disease are given a special diet, which controls calcium, phosphorus, and other electrolyte levels.
Cats with heart disease are kept on low sodium diet. According to your cat's health condition, your vet will prescribe the best diet.
5. Keep a Healthy Environment
A good healthy environment is a must for cats of all ages. Interactive toys and puzzles not only keep you older cat entertained but also help her burn excess fat, keep muscles and joints healthy.
Give your cat lots of love as they love to be petted and cuddled. If your cat is happy and curious, then she will open her eyes wide, upheld her tail, erect her ears relax her whiskers and will move from side to side.
Enthusiasm and Curiosity are signs of a happy cat. Purring is another way how your cat expresses her happiness.
6. Take Care of your Cat's Teeth
As the cat gets old, they are more prone to plaque formation on their teeth. They can also get dental diseases like swelling of gums, foul breath, slobbering, etc.
Cats owners should be in touch with a veterinarian regularly so that he can clean cat's teeth. Old cats with tooth problems may not eat well and become malnourished.
7. Stick to a Routine
As the cat gets old, it becomes difficult for her to encounter changes. Just like we humans don't like much changes or adventure as we grow old, we like to get settled in our comfort zone. Everyone who is born is ought to age and eventually die. Our pets are like family to us. As we take care of our parents once they grow old and sick, we also need to take care of our pets once they start aging.
Similarly, older cats like to have a steady routine to follow. There should be a particular time set for waking up, giving them meals, playing with them, littering, etc. Deviating from the routine might cause difficulty in dealing with the behavior of your aging cat.
Cats, when they are young are very playful; they keep us entertained in many ways. As cats age, they suffer from a lot of diseases like arthritis, thyroid, heart problem, liver infections, kidney malfunction, dental problems, etc. They cannot take care of themselves. As good and responsible pet parents, we should take charge of our feline pets' health.