There comes a time in everyone’s life where they are not as spry and energetic as they once were. Aging is a natural process and unfortunately, it affects our furry little friends in ways that we don’t always notice, but wish we didn’t have to experience nonetheless.
Caring for an older cat is not the same as when you first brought them into your home as a little kitty. Knowing how to care for your older cat properly will let them grow old with dignity so they can still enjoy their remaining nine lives left on this Earth with you.
Choosing the Right Food
The cat’s diet is dependent on their condition. Older cats don’t have the same requirements as younger cats. An important factor in the right food is naturally the number of nutrients in it, but also the right nutrients. There is a bad misconception about older cats not needing as much protein but they still need the amino acids to help them retain muscle mass and energy. Similarly, they need a good amount of carbohydrates and the proper vitamins, like A, D, E, vitamin Bs, and riboflavin.
Older cats also need food that fits their changing lifestyles. You have to find cat food for older cats with bad teeth if they suffer from dental problems because certain dry foods designed for younger cats may be bad for them, or at least harder to eat. Their food is one of the essences to their remaining years so give them the right nutrients to live well.
Pay Attention to Signs of Pain or Medical Needs
Aging cats will inevitably deal with more physical problems because their body is slowly breaking down. It is sad, but it is part of life as a pet owner to recognize this and do all you can to alleviate the issue. Pay attention to how they walk, how they verbalize possible issues, and give their body a good checkup every now and then to see how everything is. Easy ones to spot are limps, dental problems, and sores underneath the skin. Some might be harder to spot, so you want to seek out help from a vet to figure out how they are doing with a thorough checkup.
Getting Them Exercise
While they might not be zooming around the house and bouncing off of furniture like they used to, older cats still need some exercise to keep their joints and body limber. Give them toys and other activities to do so they don’t get lazy and loaf around, as well as monitoring how much they eat vs. their activity level. Even just chasing them around and playing for 20 minutes a day can give them some exercise that they desperately need. The older a cat gets, the harder it will be for them to play if you don’t facilitate some exercise with them.
Provide Warmth and Comfort
Older cats like comfortable and warm spots, so it helps them a lot if you can set up a cozy little sleeping area. Give them blankets and put them in a spot that is easy for them to get to and contains enough warmth for them. Cold is really hard on older cats’ bones and joints, so keep it out of basements or other areas that can be damp and unfavorable to them.
Create a More Recognizable and Easy Environment
As they age, cats may lose their senses a lot faster which makes it harder for them to get around the house. If they go blind or at least lose a significant percentage of their vision as many animals do, they need to be able to get around the house easily. Make a recognizable environment for their bed and try not to rearrange stuff on them so they don’t get confused. You should also vocalize so they can hear you and use you as a prompt on where to go. With deaf or hard of hearing cats, try to make yourself visible to them so you don’t startle them.
Focus on Routine
Lastly, and this follows up on the recognizable environment, you want to focus on routine. Feed your elderly cat around the same time every day and make sure that you stick to a good pattern or schedule. Older cats like routine and it helps them get through their day much easier when they know what to expect.
If you use these tips provided to you, you can ensure that your aging cat enjoys the rest of their life and gets to feel just as loved as they did when they were younger.