Here Are Some Senior Cat Care Tips To Help Your Aging Cat

Cats follow very similar stages of aging from kittenhood to senior; they just go through the stages much faster than we humans. So, how do you recognize the signs of aging, and as they grow older, what are some senior cat care tips you can use to help them through this stage of life?

A cat typically enters the senior years sometime between 7 and 10 years of age. At this time, their care requirements begin to change. It beco important for you, the surrogate cat parent, to recognize these signs of aging and to make the necessary adjustments.

Early Signs Of Decline

Old orange cat sleeping
When you’re old, naps are important

Some early signs you may see are slight declines in energy, more frequent naps, and a reduced interest in playing. Be sure to watch for these subtle signs as your cat reaches the age of senior adulthood.

One important step you can take: ensure that your kitty receives regular veterinary checkups. The vet can help a great deal in monitoring an aging cat’s health. For example, the vet can detect early signs of common age-related conditions, such as arthritis, kidney disease, or diabetes.

One simple yet important thing you can do to help a senior cat involves making the home environment as comfortable as possible. Make sure that kitty has warm, accessibe spots for rest and that litter boxes have low sides for easy entry. Also, avoid making drastic changes in the house layout that could confuse an older cat.

Senior cats need special diets
Perhaps a special diet

What About Diet

The senior cat’s diet plays a significant role in kitty well-being. Specific dietary requirements for a senior cat might include lower-calorie foods to help maintain a healthy weight.

Also, the diet might include specialized ingredients to support joint health. Your vet can prove an important resource in determining the specific needs of your cat.

Become Proactive In Senior Cat Health Management

Just as with humans, an aging cat becomes prone to developing certain health conditions. If you take a proactive role in managing such conditions you can ensure that your cat maintains a good quality of life.

Here’s where routine veterinary check-ups become very important, as your vet can catch many issues early. If you and your vet learn of these issues when they are just beginning, they often prove much easier to treat or manage.

Regular vet interaction doesn’t just catch the early signs of an illness. As your cat enters his senior years, vaccinations, dental care, and certain screenings become increasingly more significant.

Ways Your Vet Can Help

It becomes essential to stay updated with vaccines, even for indoor cats. Any cat can be exposed to viruses and bacteria. As dental health has a link to overall bodily health, poor dental hygiene can lead to serious issues like kidney disease or diabetes. These conditions prove hard on older cats.

Often, an older kitty faces such chronic conditions as arthritis, kidney disease, or hyperthyroidism. These may require daily medication, presenting a new challenge for both you and kitty.

Old grey cat, moving slowly
Age slows you a bit

However, you must follow the vet’s instructions regarding medication. Aso, you must monitor for side effects or changes in behavior that could indicate a problem that you need to confromt.

If your kitty’s joints hurt or he develops stiffness, these issues can severely affect the cat’s mobility and comfort. Thus, pinpointing pain and discomfort has major importance.

If the cat suffers discomfort, your vet can recommend supplements or medications. You can also help keep kitty comfortable by providing orthopedic bedding. Try to encourage him not to try to jump too high to reach favorite spots.

I am concerned about this latter point: My Mocha has a much-preferred sleep spot that he reaches by making a series of high jumps. How can I encourage him to find another spot when getting to that place becomes too painful for him? It’s a troubling challenge that I must plan for ahead of time.

In His Senior Years, Quality Of Life Becomes Key

So, what thoughtful adjustments can you make to ensure your kitty companion’s later years remain rich and comfortable? Here are some ideas:

First and foremost, be sure to provide sufficient mental stimulation. If the kitty mind is not engaged, it can lead to cognitive decline, just as in humans. Try to find new, low-impact toys and puzzles that cater to your cat’s slower pace. Such stimulus will help keep that kitty mind sharp and attentive.

Old long-haired cat sleeping

Grooming may become a problem for your senior cat. As he becomes less flexible, he may struggle to groom himself thoroughly. Brush kitty regularly to prevent matting. Brushing also gives you the chance to check for lumps, bumps, or signs of discomfort.

Such regular grooming also provdes you an extra chance to bond with your cat. And, by giving this added attention, you help kitty to remain comfortable and well-cared for.

Remember That Love Plays An Essential Role

Don’t underestimate the power of affection and attention. Even though your cat becomes less active, you give a gift by providing regular interaction and gentle play. These help maintain emotional well-being, and such moments also allow you to observe any changes in behavior or health.

Keep play sessions short and gentle. Though your cat may no longer pounce and cavort with as much vigor as when younger, you can still help stimulate the natural hunting instincts. Feather wands or soft balls may still entice, and you and kitty can both gain enjoyment from them.

Old dog and old grey cat holding paws
Love comes in many forms

So sad, that a kitty’s life ends so soon, and you may approach this chapter of cat life with a heavy heart. Find comfort in the fact that you have had the opportunity to watch your cat move through all phases of life — something not always allowed between humans.

Give kitty love and support through this final stage of life. Remember that quality of life is paramount, and should serve as your gift to the kitty who must leave you soon.

Compassionate End-of-Life Care: Time To Say Goodbye

Though you can find it heart-wrenching to observe the decline in your senior cat’s health, it becomes important to judge when it’s time to let go. It’s never clear-cut, but involves observing changes in behavior, appetite, and overall well-being.

Perhaps kitty no longer seeks your company. Maybe your cat has stopped grooming. Other changes may indicate that your furry family member suffers and might not have much quality of life left.

You can administer hospice care for your cat at home to make those final days more comfortable. Create a peaceful environment and do what you can to manage pain. Here again, your vet can guide you in arranging compassionate care, so you can ensure kitty enters the twilight days with dignity.

What About Euthanasia?

Though a painful topic, euthanasia becomes sometimes the kindest decision. You must assess: Does your cat’s discomfort and pain outweigh his moments of joy? Perhaps it may be time to let go. Discuss the situation openly with your vet, who may be able to help assess quality of life and advise the best course of action.

Grief is the last act of love we can give...

The loss of a pet is profound. It’s okay to grieve, and it’s okay to reach out for support from friends, family, or pet loss support groups. Many people find solace in creating a memorial or tribute to celebrate the life and love shared with their pet.

With my Carlos, my best-ever cat, I wrote a litte book about his life. Find your own way to help you get through this time when you lose a valued, much-loved family member.

Your senior cat relies on you for the best care all the way to the end. In return, they gift us with unconditional love and faithful companionship. Honoring them with a peaceful passing is perhaps the final act of love and gratitude we can offer.

2 thoughts on “Here Are Some Senior Cat Care Tips To Help Your Aging Cat”

Leave a Comment