Looking after elderly cats
26th March 2018
Cats, like people, tend to live a slower pace of life when they get older. They are considered geriatric from 12 years of age, and may need a little bit of extra attention to ensure they are happy, healthy and comfortable in their old age.
It’s important to get an older cat checked regularly by a vet in case they have any age-related health concerns. Some illnesses are more common amongst older cats and should be addressed quickly. Keeping up to date with booster vaccinations is also important because their immune system might be weaker than it was when they were younger.
Older cats are more susceptible to health issues and the following conditions are more common amongst elderly cats. If your cat appears unwell, take him to the vet for a check-up as soon as possible as early treatment is key.
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Dental disease
- Diabetes mellitus
- Kidney disease
As cats get older they become less active, so they do not require as many calories as younger cats. Cat food specifically aimed at senior cats provides the right balance of ingredients for their needs.
If you have other pets in your home, you could serve the senior cat food in a SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder or a SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder Connect so that only your elderly cat has access to it. This is particularly useful if you have younger pets in your home who might get to the food bowl more quickly than your slower, elderly cat.
The Microchip Pet Feeder is also useful if your elderly cat is fed a prescription diet for an age-related illness, which you wouldn’t want your other pets to eat.
Grooming your cat
Older cats might not be as flexible as the once were, so they may have trouble grooming themselves. Brush your cat to help him keep his coat in tip top condition. This should be done gently in case he is experiencing any aches and pains.
Keep an eye on your cat’s claws and check they are not getting too long. Your cat might not be venturing outside as much now he is older, so he’ll need plenty of places indoors to tend to his claws. Ensure scratching locations are low to the ground so that your cat doesn’t need to jump up to reach them and consider softer surfaces to make it easier for him to scratch.
Make sure your cat’s resources are all easily accessible. Position your cat’s food, water and litter tray on the ground so that he doesn’t have to jump up to use them. These resources should be placed in separate locations to encourage their use. Cats like to avoid contamination when they are eating, drinking and toileting.
If your elderly cat uses a cat flap, make sure he can get in and out of it easily. If he looks like he’s struggling, position a step or ramp on either side of the cat door. Install a SureFlap Microchip Cat Door so that only your cat can access your home. Your cat deserves a stress-free home environment without the worry of intruders.
Older cats might be reluctant to venture outside as often as they used to, so they may need a low sided litter tray in the house.
Cats enjoy observing their territory from up high, and this may not change when they get older. An elderly cat might find it difficult to reach a high place though. Steps, shelves or carefully positioned furniture will make the high perch more accessible.
Microchip your cat
Elderly cats can get confused or run into trouble when they are outdoors. Microchip your cat to make it easier for him to be returned to you if he becomes lost.
Toys for older cats
Older cats might be less energetic than they once were, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like to play! Choose toys that can be used to play gently with him. He might decide to just watch rather than interact, but that’s enough to stimulate him and keep boredom at bay.