Older cats need a little attention from us as they are more likely to become ill. And an old cat’s behaviour is more likely to lead to neglect from us. This is because they are quieter, less demanding and out of the way more.
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Here are five senior cat care tips based on common sense principles:
1. Be Observant It is easy to let things slide but as mentioned this a time in our cat’s life when we need to do the opposite and look for changes in our older cat. Vets advise that we keep an eye on the observable, routine things such as eating and toilet habits. Checking what goes in and comes out can give us quite a lot of ideas about our cat’s general health. Changes in elimination can tell us a lot. An older cat will naturally be less active but has your cat shown a marked change quite quickly? Drinking lots of water indicates kidney disease as does urinating more often.
2. Weight Weight gain goes with the territory of getting old because of lower activity levels. Veterinarians say that obesity can lead to diabetes. There is debate about that but there is no doubt that obesity can exacerbate ill health. Conditions such as arthritis come to mind. Rationing portion size inline with less activity is wise. Senior cat food will probably assist too. Loss of appetite and weight (anorexia) indicates ill health and requires an immediate trip to the vet. Vitamin supplements are not generally required.
3. Veterinarian A reluctance to take a cat to the vet is poor cat caretaking. An observant cat caretaker will know when something is wrong and there should be no delay in asking a vet to diagnose. Regular visits to a vet are advised by vets! There is something in that for older cats as ill health can creep up on a cat and be missed by the caretaker.
4. Comfort Keeping an older cat warm and comfortable will help with quality of life. Sometimes steps and ramps are suitable to allow a cat to do what he or she usually likes to do but can’t due to lack of strength. This is another observable sign which we can do something about.
5. Attention It is easy in a busy life to gradually ignore an older cat as they are less noticeable. If we do become a little detached from our cat it may hurt her emotionally. Emotional comfort from us will help with our cat’s general health and wellbeing.
See also Geriatric Cat Care.