Cats go about their life on their own terms. We can try and exert control but it doesn’t usually work. However, even that fiercely independent furry creature, will one day be elderly.
He will cross the threshold from being an older cat to being an elderly cat. Once this happens we really do need to pay extra attention towards keeping our elderly cat comfortable.
It makes all the difference in the world to see our elderly cats being spoiled in perhaps ways they would not even have allowed when younger.
Our cat never really liked being picked up 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.
10 Ways Of Keeping An Elderly Cat Comfortable, Cosy And Happy
It is definitely a case of observing your cat as he ages. Notice if he is having difficulty with his usual routines or with mobility.
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. Keep the cat’s daily routines the same, as much as possible. 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.
1. Don’t Move Furniture Unless Necessary
Try not to move furniture about unless absolutely necessary and unavoidable. Even with failing eyesight, an elderly cat can negotiate his way to his bed, the food bowl and the litter tray. He doesn’t want to encounter objects that were previously not there.
2. Regular Veterinarian Checks
Regular veterinarian checks are now mandatory. With a younger cat, 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.
3. Use Pretty Litter
Using Pretty Litter is definitely a consideration if your cat is elderly. Pretty Litter is a game changer for elderly cats. It is no ordinary litter. The litter changes color, according the the ph. level of the cat’s urine.
Different colors signify different potential problems which then need to then be investigated by a vet. This gives significant peace of mind to cat owners. 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. A Raised Feeding Platform
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. Cats naturally eat in a crouch position so the bowl does not have to be placed too high. Even several inches from the floor will take some of the pressure off arthritic joints.
A raised food bowl is also easier for senior cat owners to manage or anyone who has a mobility problem. The bowl does not have to be set right at ground level which means that 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. Reduced Mobility
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.
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. 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 right on up to the window ledge, where he liked to sit and observe the goings on in the front garden.
6. The Best Bed
An elderly cat needs a bed that is easy to walk into, without having to negotiate wall or bolsters that are too high. 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 machine washed or have a cover that can be removed for washing. Cat beds for senior cats are reviewed here in detail. All of the necessary requirements for a senior cat are considered with each bed reviewed.
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.
Feed the 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.
Also included are other health issues where your vet may suggest a particular diet or supplement.
Feeding your cat the best diet for his stage of life also 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.
8. Creaks and Groans
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. Just these small changes that we can make, make a big difference to the cat.
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.
10. Massage or Petting your cat
Your senior cat may enjoy a light massage. Learn how to do it the right way here.
Extra Tips caring For An Elderly Cat
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 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 se the ages and stages at a glance.
What special things do you do to care for your elderly cat?