Posted by Lora Shaw on June 9, 2023
It is common to wonder how to properly care for a senior cat as your furry friend starts to age. While each cat is different, it is important to follow some sort of care regimen to keep them comfortable and healthy.
Learn about some of our tips for caring for a senior cat in this post, as well as signs that your cat is starting its senior phase.
Thanks to improved nutrition and indoor living, the lifespan of cats is now extended. A healthy cat might live into its twenties and be considered older between ages 12-14. With this in mind, it is important to note that caring for a senior cat will not differ much from caring for your cat as you have in the past; instead, it may just require few alterations to care and routines.
If you are unsure if you need to start treating your cat as a senior, there are signs that you can look out for that indicate this next phase of life. When your cat enters its older age, it may begin exhibiting the following:
While the signs above are aspects to take note of, be sure to call your vet if you see any other changes in behavior or health that might be considered concerning. Now that you are aware of the signs, let’s dive into some tips on caring for a senior cat.
As we mentioned above, caring for a senior cat will not be much different than your current routines. In fact, some tips you may practice already and just need to do more frequently. Daily hair brushing is one of these routine items that can make a big impact.
Removing loose hair through brushing can help prevent it from being swallowed, reducing hairballs. Using a brush can also promote a healthier skin and coat, as it stimulates blood circulation and sebaceous gland secretions.
When cats get older, they typically do not use scratching posts as much as they did when they were younger. For this reason, it is important to check their nails weekly to see if they can benefit from a trim. If they look like they could use a trim, you can either try to cut them yourself or plan an appointment at your local pet grooming facility.
Brushing your cat’s teeth with pet-friendly toothpaste is the most effective way to prevent dental disease. Maintaining oral health can prevent other issues down the line as well. Most cats will allow you to brush their teeth, but be sure to get them familiar with tooth brushing in advance to prevent them from being startled or uncomfortable.
Constantly providing your cat with easy access to fresh water is vital, as kidney function is known to deteriorate in older cats. Additionally, finding food that accommodates their needs will be important. Sometimes, using a mix of dry and wet food is helpful because it allows your cat to absorb the water found in canned food.
Due to less exercise, many cats may get heavier or even obese as they age. Be sure to watch their diet and consult a vet who can modify their diet if needed. However, this is not the case for all cats. In fact, some senior cats get too thin as they age. Weight loss may be tied to problems like kidney failure, but a special diet can combat issues like this.
Since cats are not easily adaptable to change, it is important to reduce any interruptions in their natural environment and routine. Additionally, introducing your cat to a new pet may be traumatic, so this should be avoided if possible. Another potential stress could be moving to a new space. Ways to alleviate this stress would be to make sure to keep familiar objects around them and giving them more affection and attention.
Last but not least, caring for your senior cat means more than just cleaning them and managing their hygiene. In their advancing years, cats might need more emotional support and become more dependent on relationships. Spending quality time with your furry friend gives them comfort. Any extra TLC they can get will be much appreciated throughout their aging process.
Now you might be wondering, “Do the professionals at Pet Palace know how to care for a senior cat?” The answer is: absolutely! We have the staff to make sure your cat receives compassionate and professional attention during their boarding experience. Additionally, we are able to administer medication to ensure their wellness while you’re away!
If your cat doesn’t need boarding and would benefit more from some grooming, we are more than happy to do that as well. Grooming is a great way to make your senior cat look good while contributing to their overall health. Not to mention, it is another effective way of making them feel appreciated and loved!
Now that you are well informed on how to care for a senior cat, we know that you will do whatever you can to make your furry friend comfortable.
If you have any questions about our services or care tips, be sure to reach out to our team of passionate pet lovers!
About the author
Lora Shaw is currently the Vice President of Operations at Pet Palace.