Cats are independent creatures and generally go about their life on their own terms. However even that fiercely independent furry creature, will one day be elderly.
He will cross the threshold from older cat to elderly cat and once this happens we really do need to pay extra attention to keeping our elderly cat comfortable.
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10 Ways Of Keeping An Elderly Cat Comfortable, Cosy And Happy
There are some very basic things that you can do to keep your elderly cat comfortable. Many are common sense. It is definitely a case of observing your cat as he ages and noticing if he is having difficulty with usual routines or with mobility.
- Keep the cat’s daily routines the same, as much as possible. An elderly cat is less likely to react in a scared or aggressive way if everything is carrying on in much the same way that it always has.
- Try not to move furniture unless absolutely necessary so that kitty knows he can negotiate the way to his bed, food bowl, litter tray and so on without encountering objects that were previously not there.
- Regular veterinarian checks are now mandatory. When your cat was younger it may just have been a quick trip to the vet for vaccinations. Now it will depend on you being more observant regarding the cat’s behavior or noticing physical symptoms that are causing a problem for the cat.
Using PrettyLitter is definitely a consideration if your cat is elderly. The litter changes color according the the ph. level of the cat’s urine. Different colors signify different potential problems which then need to be investigated by a vet. This can give significant peace of mind to cat owners, that we are doing something proactive about our cat’s health. All too often cats mask symptoms of illness. Read more about PrettyLitter here and how and why it was developed.
- Not all symptoms necessarily require a trip to the vet. Simply choosing a raised feeding platform will help your cat reach his food bowl with ease, alleviating joint stiffness and eliminate having to bend painfully to the floor.
A raised food bowl is also easier for senior cat owners to manage or anyone who has a mobility problem simply because the bowl does not have to be set right at ground level.
Your cat may have been able to jump onto a kitchen bench or similar for feeding when he was younger but this won’t be an option for your elderly cat.
- Your aging cat won’t be able to move as easily as he did when he was younger. For example, it may become difficult for him to jump onto the bed.
You can help with this by placing a halfway station for him to jump onto. Your kitty may need a ramp or steps or at last a halfway point to navigate to his favorite places. Our kitty had a bespoke ramp so that he could stroll up to the window ledge where he liked to sit and observe the goings on in the front garden.
- A warm and cozy place is a haven for elderly kitties. Make sure that bedding is warm especially in the colder months. Try a heated cat bed or a bed with soft sides that offers support for weary old bones.
- Feed the cat the right diet for the stage of life. Your cat may have dental issues or have lost teeth. This article explains how a cat with bad teeth can still eat well. This may include formulations to assist with joint problems or other health related issues.
- Keeping an elderly cat comfortable includes maintaining a healthy weight which is vital as your cat ages. Being overweight adds complications to medical conditions and makes it harder for the cat to move about. We do sometimes tend to want to shower our kitties with love in the form of little treats specially as they become older, however ultimately we are not doing doing the cat any favours by overfeeding.
- If your house is two storey make sure that there is a litter box upstairs and downstairs and that your cat is easily able to enter and exit the box.
As joints stiffen with older age or if your cat has arthritis it becomes more difficult to step into some of the higher sided litter boxes. There is more information here about litter boxes that are suitable for senior cats.
- Is kitty starting to look a bit ragged around the edges? Give him a brush with a soft brush or invest in a pet grooming glove to give him a brush and take care of shedding hair at the same time.
Even if he has previously not tolerated brushing, he may be okay with it now. This also gives you both time for a cuddle and helps with coat maintenance and grooming. Elderly cats enjoy the cuddle and chat time and he can also keep an eye on the general state of things in the yard.
Your senior cat may enjoy a light massage. Learn how to do it the right way here.
In addition, try to ensure that landing places are soft and that he won’t skid or slip on landing. Polished boards can be slippery however even being aware of potential dangers means that you can keep an eye on kitty as he lands in a possibly hazardous location.
Places that he could navigate fearlessly without disturbing anything when he was younger become places of danger. Eventually he will abandon the thought of some of the higher placer he used to frequent.
Has your cat’s demeanor changed over the years? He might now enjoy being picked up and carried for a stroll around the yard. Quite possibly this may have been a no no for his whole life. This was the case with our cat. He was not a cuddler but in his senior years he enjoyed being picked and carried for a stroll.
The Life Stages Of A Cat Compared To Human Years
There is often much debate about the ages and stages of a cat’s life. This image is a good way to se the ages and stages at a glance.
More Senior Cat Reading
How to recognize the signs that your cat is aging. It tends to creep up on us.
Make sure you read – Four things to consider when buying a bed for an elderly cat.
How to choose the best cat furniture for an older cat.
A heated cat bed is kind to older stiffer joints. Read about how they work here plus a list of FAQ’s.