As cats get older, they slow down, seek more cuddles, and their joints start to ache. Much like humans, some of their fur may go grey, and life seems to be a bit less chaotic. Cats are considered senior citizens around 12 years-old, and as their owners, there are a few adjustments we can make to ensure they live the rest of their life happy and healthy. It requires very little work on our part and can mean the world to them.
We’ve assembled a list of 8 different ways you can pamper your senior cat!
Change their Diet
This is not a step we suggest taking without the advice of a veterinarian. Senior cats often have different nutritional needs from younger cats, or even other seniors! Cats’ bodies age differently and only your veterinarian can tell you what your cat needs. There are numerous different specialized cat foods you can get with different nutritional supplements in them.
Additionally, some older cats may not like eating dry food due to sensitive teeth. Specialized wet foods are often available in the same lines as the dry and can provide the same positive impact on your aging cat.
Take Them for Checkups More Often
Going to the vet may not be your cat’s favourite pastime, but when they start to get up there in years, regular trips to the vet can quite literally be a life saver. You can catch illness, diabetes, or even something as serious as cancer by setting up a regular checkup every six months. Cats with arthritis might also be in pain without you noticing. A vet can detect when a cat is suffering from joint pain and provide appropriate medications.
Create Plenty of Soft Places Around Your Home
Aging cats love nothing more than to find a soft spot and curl up for a nap. Providing extra soft places around your house leaves them plenty of choice and reduces the average distance to a resting spot from wherever they are in the house.
You can even go a step further by heating these spots up. An electric blanket on low (that you have tested to ensure it will not burn), with a towel or blanket on top, can provide a perfect place for them to kick back and relax.
Give Them a Helping Paw
Older cats may not be as spry or athletic as they once were and switching things up at home to better suit their strengths can drastically improve their daily routine. Adding steps or boxes in front of high places they enjoy makes it easier for them to jump up. Even your bed might be a bit high for them to safely jump onto and an ottoman or a small cat tree can close the gap. Think about places like stairs. By moving their favourite items to a single floor of the house, they can still take advantage of these things without struggling up and down stairs. Apply these concepts around your home to places where your cat likes to go.
Add Another Litter Box
If you live in a home with multiple cats or multiple levels (floors), adding another litter box is what you need. A senior cat can get tired having to go up and down stairs multiple times per day, and if they have sore joints, they may end up just staying on whatever floor has the box. Think about your cat’s routine and where they spend most of their time. Don’t move their existing litter box but add another to any floor that may not have one.
Raise Their Food Bowls
Another way to ease the pain of a cat with stiff or sore joints is to raise their food bowls. By doing so, your cat can keep their head level while they eat instead of having to bend down.
Help Them with Grooming
Helping your older cat with grooming can help keep their coat shiny and avoid clumps. Senior cats often struggle to bend all the way over to get at the fur in harder to reach places – often their backs. As clumps form, they can become painful by exerting pressure on the skin. Get some nice soft brushes and slowly introduce them to your cat as not to surprise them and generate a fear of the tool.
Have Lots of Fun
Just because a cat is older and a little bit slower, it does not mean their instincts are worn out. Many older cats still love the thrill of chasing a string or laser or rolling around in catnip. As most all cats do, senior cats love lots of petting and attention, and when they get older, they tend to want more of it.
Senior cats deserve more credit than they are given as they make great loving pets in quieter homes. They may be slower, but they are more loving and more interested in spending time with their owners. If you’re considering adopting a cat, make sure you have time to meet a few senior cats as they will steal your heart.