Cats older than 11 years need special care, as this can provide them with a better quality of their senior years.
We will recognize that our cat is ageing by the following signs:
- more frequent meowing,
- reduced activity,
- changing the places where they like to rest,
- urinating outside the litter box,
- changes in sleep or eating,
- impaired hearing,
- more frequent health problems,
- behavioural changes.
Senior Cat Nutrition
A controlled diet is important in all ages of animals, and even more so in senior cats. When feeding, we must take into account the activity of the cat, lifestyle (indoors or outdoors) and health problems. Very often, old cats develop diabetes, which is most often the result of obesity. Dietary food is extremely important in controlling the disease. Veterinarians usually recommend foods with more protein and fewer carbohydrates. Another disease that often occurs in cats is also kidney damage. In this case, the intake of protein and salt is reduced. No matter if our cat is outdoor or indoor can, he or she must always have available fresh water.
How do we take care of the coat?
Senior cats find it harder to take care of their cleanliness, so it is good that their owners help them with this. Dirt around the eyes, nose and anus should be cleaned regularly. The easiest and most effective way to clean it around the eyes is with Arava Eye Wipes, and around the nose and anus with Arava Paws & Body Wipes. Regular gentle brushing of the hair is also recommended. During brushing, always check the condition of the skin. We pay attention to rashes, redness, bumps, or any changes that should be examined by a veterinarian. For cats with dermatological problems and irritated skin, the natural Arava Itchless and Hot Spot Foam is recommended, which has antibacterial and antifungal characteristics, and also offers first aid for scratches and abrasions. For those cats who have dry and fringed hair, we recommend the natural Arava Revitalizing Foam, which softens the hair, adds volume and shine. The foams are also suitable for cats who do not like water, since the foam is not washed off.
Short-haired cats should be brushed in those places where nodules form or the hair sticks together. This usually happens on the back of the body, as the cat find it difficult to clean themselves there due to poor mobility.
Senior long-haired cats, who find it harder to take care of their cleanliness, can have their hair trimmed around the anus and hind legs to prevent sticking and knotting. Brushing removes excess hair and at the same time stimulates the secretion of sebaceous glands and helps to improve the shine of the hair.
It is typical for cats to take care of their hair by licking. At the same time, they consume quite a bit of it. Senior cats, which usually have a slightly weaker digestion, this can lead to various health problems such as chronic vomiting and constipation.
Many complications and health problems of senior cats can be prevented by regularly monitoring their well-being and behaviour. The vet will advise us on what caracteristics we need to pay special attention. In any case, pay attention to:
- loss of appetite,
- weight loss,
- drinking large amounts of water,
- difficulty moving, poor mobility, limping,
- changes in the skin,
- balance problems, poor orientation,
- difficulty urinating or defecating,
- major changes in behaviour (aggression, fear…).
It is also advisable to monitor the teeth and the condition of the muzzle. Strongly smelling muzzle, salivation, loss of appetite, scratching around the muzzle can be signs of dental disease. In such cases, seek the help of a veterinarian.
We also pay special attention to urinary health, especially in senior cats, who often develop urinary diseases such as FLUDT and urinary stones. Pay particular attention to symptoms such as repeated and prolonged urination, blood in the urine, urination outside the litter box, excessive licking of the genitals, moaning and straining when urinating, and apathy. When these symptoms appear, seek veterinary help as soon as possible.
Senior Cat Friendly Home
No major changes are needed to make the senior cat’s home friendlier. Minor adjustments will suffice. If your cat has difficulty moving, it is best to prevent her from walking up stairs and going to different floors. Parquet and laminate floors are quite slippery for cats, which can be a problem for senior cats with mobility impairments. We solve this by laying a carpet on the floor. Let’s make sure we have a cat toilet in the apartment. This is highly recommended even if we have an outdoor cat, as this way we can monitor if he or she has difficulty urinating and defecating. Scratchers also need to be adjusted. Higher scratchers put a strain on the joints, so it’s better to use scratchers that can be placed on the floor.
Cat beds should be as soft and warm as possible, as this helps them feel better, especially for those cats that have mobility problems.