One day your cat will be elderly. He will cross the threshold from being an older cat to being an elderly cat. Once a cat becomes elderly, we really do need to pay extra attention to keep our elderly cat comfortable.
Our cat never liked being picked up when he was a young cat and would launch out of our arms, after a few moments.
As he became older and eventually elderly, he liked being carried around the house and yard.
He sat up, a bit like a statue and quietly observed what was happening in his world, with none of the frantic leaping that would have occurred in his youth. This is him pictured below. He always looked quite youthful to us.
Table Of Contents
Begin by observing your cat. It is one of the easiest things to do. Notice if he has trouble with his usual routines or with his mobility.
Keep your elderly 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
In some cases a routine may be forced upon you, as medication may need to given at the same time each day.
Our diabetic cat had twice daily injections, that were given at approximately the same time each day, before food.
Make life easier for your elderly cat.
1. Don’t Move Furniture Unless Necessary
Try not to move furniture about, unless it is absolutely necessary and unavoidable.
Rearranging furniture, can disrupt an elderly cat’s sense of security and familiarity with their surroundings.
Elderly cats may have difficulty with mobility, when encountering surfaces that could be altered by furniture rearrangement. There may be a rug on the floor, which wasn’t there before.
Even with failing eyesight, an elderly cat can negotiate his way to his bed, the food bowl and the litter tray. However if furniture is moved, it could inadvertently make these essential resources less accessible to them.
Your elderly cat doesn’t want to encounter objects, that were previously not there.
2. Regular Veterinarian Checks
Regular veterinarian check ups are mandatory for elderly cats, as they help in the early detection and management of age related conditions such as kidney disease, arthritis, or hyperthyroidism.
When your cat was younger, it may just have been a quick trip to the vet for vaccinations.
Now that your cat is elderly, 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.
The vet can also advise on preventative care and can potentially extend the quality and length of a cat’s life by addressing health issues before they become more serious.
Routine blood work during these check-ups can uncover hidden diseases in seemingly healthy senior cats, allowing for timely intervention.
Your cat may be now allow you to place him in his cat carrier without any fuss, even if he has objected to it his whole life (voice of experience here). Remember to include a towel or small blanket, to make it more comfortable and familiar.
3. Consider Using Pretty Litter
Using Pretty Litter in the place of ordinary litter, is definitely a consideration when your cat is elderly. Pretty Litter is a game changer in the litter stakes, for elderly cats. It is no ordinary cat litter.
Pretty Litter changes color, according the the ph. level of the cat’s urine. What this means is that different colors in the litter, signify different potential problems which then need to then be investigated by a vet.
This gives significant peace of mind to cat owners and now we can do something proactive to identify an issue, before it becomes a problem.
All too often cats mask symptoms of illness. Read more about PrettyLitter here and how and why it was developed.
4. How A Raised Feeding Platform Will Help Your Elderly Cat
Choosing a raised feeding platform or a raised food bowl, will help your elderly cat to access the food in his food bowl with ease, alleviating joint stiffness and eliminating having to bend painfully right down to the floor.
Cats naturally eat in a crouch position so the bowl does not have to be too high. Even several inches from the floor will take some of the pressure off arthritic joints.
A raised cat food bowl is also easier for the owners of cats to pick up and set down, plus essential for anyone who has a mobility problem. As the bowl does not have to be set right at ground level, it is easier to place and pick up.
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.
5. Consider The Reduced Mobility Of 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 or impossible for him to jump onto the bed or the couch.
Keeping an elderly cay comfortable may mean getting a ramp or steps, to enable the cat to get to his favourite places in comfort, without having to attempt to jump.
The good thing about stairs that are made from foam and have a cover, is that they can easily be moved from place to place. At night the steps may be best placed by the sofa but maybe during the day, near the bed or whatever suits your cat’s normal routine.
There are some practical examples shown in this article which is about the best furniture for senior cats.
Our kitty had a bespoke ramp. He could stroll from floor level, right on up to the window ledge, where he liked to sit and observe the goings on in the front garden and have a little nap.
Why not take your elderly cat for a walk in a kitty stroller? He will love being wheeled along the footpath and going for a walk in the fresh air.
You know that he is safe and secure and having enjoyment that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. With a little bit of DIY a home handyperson could use a discarded children’s stroller and make it secure with a mesh cover,
6. The Best Bed For An Elderly Cat
An elderly cat must have a bed that is easy to walk into, without having to negotiate a high wall. The entry point of the bed, needs to be low and then the sides of the bed can be higher.
The bed needs to be soft but not so soft that the cat has no traction when he stands. The sides of the bed should offer soft, but firm support.
Preferably the bed should be able to be totally machine washed, like the one shown below, or have a cover that can be removed for washing.
Cat beds for senior cats are discussed here in detail.
In winter, when some extra warmth is appreciated, a heated cat bed, is worth considering. Try a heated cat bed or a bed with soft sides that offers support for weary old bones.
7. Diet For An Elderly Cat
Feed your elderly cat the right diet, for the stage of life.
As your cat ages, dietary requirements often change. Sometimes this is related to health issues, such as diabetes. The feeding and eating regime for a cat with diabetes is strict and needs to remain so, for the cat’s health.
Your cat may have dental issues or have lost teeth. This article explains how a cat with bad teeth can still eat well.
Feeding your cat the best diet for his stage of life also includes maintaining a healthy weight, which is vital as your cat ages.
An overweight elderly cat, 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.
8. Creaks and Groans In An Elderly Cat
Make sure that there is a litter box upstairs and downstairs for your elderly cat and that your cat is easily able to enter and exit the box. Small changes can make a big difference to the cat.
As joints stiffen with older age or if your cat has arthritis it becomes increasingly difficult to step into some of the higher sided litter boxes. Ensure that the litter box has a low front opening.
There is more information here about litter boxes that are suitable for senior cats.
9. Your Elderly Cat and Grooming
Is your elderly cat 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 your cat has previously not tolerated brushing, he may be okay with it now that he has become older.
This also gives you both time for a cuddle and helps with coat maintenance and grooming.
Your elderly cat may also need a bath from time to time. Giving a cat a bath, is not recommended as a normal part of cat hygiene but as a cat ages, the hygiene aspects are not taken care of so easily.
There is information in this article about how to give your cat a bath. The article discusses cat flea shampoo however the instructions for giving your cat a bath at the end of the article apply to cat flea shampoo or normal cat shampoo such as the cat shampoo shown below.
10. Massage or Petting your elderly cat
Your elderly cat may enjoy a light massage. Learn how to do it the right way as shown here.
Extra Tips caring For An Elderly Cat
Try to ensure that landing places are soft and that your elderly cat won’t skid, or slip when landing.
Polished floor 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 demeanour 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 sitting close to us and being carried.
How to recognize the signs that your cat is aging. It tends to creep up on us and then we suddenly notice he is no longer a young cat.
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 see the ages and stages at a glance.
What special things do you do to care for your elderly cat?