It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone, that a senior cat has needs that are different than those of a young cat. But how do you know when your cat is a senior?
What are the stages of a senior cat’s life? How to spot signs of ageing?
Generally, cats over the age of seven are considered to be in the senior life stage. Although age itself is not a disease, older cats may experience health changes associated with ageing and maybe at greater risk for developing specific medical conditions. Regularly scheduled visits to your veterinarian will help to prevent disease.
My senior cat is losing weight, what can I do?
The nutritional needs of cats change as they move into their senior years. Decreased appetite, alterations in metabolism, reduced mobility, and behavioural changes are all commonly associated with ageing. Senior cats may have a decreased appetite for a variety of reasons. Easy access to food and water bowls, warming canned food, and adding water to kibble may all assist in ensuring your senior cat continues to maintain a healthy weight and receive optimal nutrition.
How can I care for my senior cat?
Environmental enrichment is important for cats of all ages and should not be abandoned for senior cats. Interactive toys, food puzzles (particularly for overweight cats), even supervised access to the outdoors or leash walking can help keep senior cats entertained, as well as helping to burn excess calories and keep muscles and joints healthy.
What are some common health issues?
Provide your older cat with special accommodations. For instance, cats with arthritis might benefit from litter boxes with lower sides for easier access into and out of the box. Providing soft bedding for your cat, either with a cat bed or with towels or blankets to rest on, can help your cat be more comfortable. Be sure that food and water are easily accessible. Don’t force your arthritic senior cat to go up and down stairs to eat, drink or use the litter box.
Why is my senior cat having behavioural issues?
There are numerous degenerative health diseases, degenerative cognitive diseases, and other behavioural issues that can develop as cat ages. It is very important to have your senior pet examined if you notice significant behavioural changes to ensure a proper diagnosis is developed.