Caring For An Older Kitty

Is your feline companion beginning to exhibit signs of age? Although kitties are considered elders around the age of 11, many now live well into their teens or even twenties. Fluffy may have a long retirement ahead of her! You’ll probably notice modest, gradual changes rather than drastic ones. However, your kitty companion will require a bit of extra attention in her senior years. This article features advice from a local Powdersville, SC veterinarian on how to care for a senior cat.

Do Older Cats Need Special Care?

Fluffy will have the same basic needs as any other kitty, including good food, clean litter, proper medical care, and, of course, lots of love. However, her needs will change a little as she gets older.

Make sure that she has easy access to her food, drink, and litterbox. If you have a large home and/or multiple floors, keep litter boxes and water stations on each level. That way, your pet will not have to climb as many stairs.

Beds and napping spots are also important. Believe it or not, Fluffy will somehow be able to sleep even more than usual. By the time your adorable pet reaches her golden years, she’ll be a napping champion, able to sleep up to 20 hours every day. As you might expect, one of the finest things you can do for your tired pet is to provide her with a variety of comfortable spots. You can buy or make mattresses, or just put soft blankets in or on baskets, chests, or ottomans. You’ll get extra purrs if you place some of these in sunny areas or near windows with pleasant views.

We’d also recommend turning on a night light for your cat. Fluffy’s night vision may not be as good as it once was. She may also become forgetful and lose her path as she approaches the litterbox.

Another thing you may do to assist your pet is to install pet ramps or stairs. Footstools will also work.

We actually would recommend getting Fluffy a litterbox with low sides. Older cats can be rather stiff and sore, and they may struggle to get in and out of high-walled boxes. Your pet may also find it easier to work with something that is wider and shallower than deep and narrow.

Ask your vet for recommendations.

Should I Brush My Senior Cat?

We would definitely recommend this. You may see Fluffy beginning to look disheveled. There are several plausible explanations for this. One is that cats become stiff and painful as they age. Your cat may struggle to bend and stretch enough to clean her entire body. Older cats’ skins may also create more oil than younger cats’, which can also leave their coats looking a bit greasy.

However, it is important to realize that messy fur might mean that your feline companion is not feeling well. If your kitty’s fur is quickly becoming untidy, and/or you observe additional red flags, such as withdrawal, lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea, contact your veterinarian.

You can help Fluffy out by gently brushing her. Just don’t pull too hard. Senior pets have extremely fragile skin, which can easily rip. Also, don’t force it. If your furry little pal decides she’s had enough, just let her go.

Ask your veterinarian for detailed advice on this.

Should I Play With My Older Kitty?

Absolutely! In fact, playing with Fluffy is one of the most beneficial things you can do for her. Pouncing and jumping provide excellent exercise for cats. Additionally, this gives Fluffy some mental stimulation. That’s especially crucial for senior cats. Just like humans, pets can experience cognitive impairment as they age. Focusing on catching the red dot is great for your furry pal’s mind. (Plus, it’s adorable.)

Don’t worry about overdoing it. If your pet would rather take another snooze, she’ll simply stroll away. That’s perfectly fine. One thing we know for certain about cats: unlike dogs, they will not push themselves to impress us.

What Makes Older Kitties Happy?

Older cats seem to enjoy the same things as younger ones. At the end of the day, Fluffy wants to feel loved, safe, and at ease. It’s also crucial to keep that engine running! Spend plenty of time with your kitty companion, providing attention and lap space. Just be gentle while picking up or putting your kitty down.

How Can I Keep a Senior Kitty Healthy?

Many of the health problems that aging people get can also affect older cats.

Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Obesity
  • Heart conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Disease
  • Arthritis
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Cancer
  • loss of vision
  • Hearing loss and dental issues

Your pet may need to visit the vet more frequently. This is also an excellent opportunity to obtain updated information about Fluffy’s food and care.

In between checkups, watch for signs of illness. If you observe anything out of the ordinary, please notify us immediately.

How Do I Know If Fluffy Is Sick?

Our feline friends can be a little secretive about expressing their discomfort. Keep a close eye on Fluffy’s appearance and behavior.

Here are some things to look for:

  • Hiding
  • Withdrawal
  • Poor grooming
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight Gain or Loss
  • Stiffness
  • Respiratory issues
  • Discharge
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Litterbox Issues
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Drooling
  • Limping
  • Appetite changes

Unusual vocalizations or behavior may also be a red flag. If Fluffy is typically silent but suddenly starts weeping, there could be an issue. Contact your Powdersville, SC veterinary clinic immediately if you notice any of these things.

Why Do Old Cats Meow So Much?

Fluffy may get a little yowly in her golden years. There are several possible explanations for this. One is cognitive deterioration. Senior cats sometimes become forgetful and confused. They may become distressed, since they do not fully grasp why this is happening or what is going on. Fluffy can also want more attention and cuddling.

Ask your Powdersville, SC veterinarian for further information.

Can I Leave My Older Kitty Home Alone?

This would depend on your pet’s age and health. Most cats can be left alone for a day or two, as long as they have food, water, and clean litter, and someone checks on them. We wouldn’t recommend leaving Fluffy alone for longer than a day or so, though. If your pet has any health issues, it’s also best not to leave her by herself. Boarding or hiring a pet sitter may be a better alternative.

How Can I Keep My Older Cat Safe?

You’ll want to use the same basic petproofing procedures as you would with a younger cat. Fluffy will certainly be less playful than she used to be, but she may still try to eat your houseplants.

We also strongly advise keeping your furry little friend indoors. We actually recommend that all cats be kept inside. However, older cats are even more vulnerable than their younger counterparts. They may not be fast or strong enough to escape dangers, such as that loose dog or the neighbor’s mean cat. Furthermore, Fluffy is at risk of forgetting how to get home. It’s best to err on the side of caution here.

Do you have any queries about senior cat care? Contact us, your local Powdersville, SC pet hospital, at any time!

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