Whether you’ve decided to adopt a senior cat or that kitten you brought home years ago has finally reached its golden years, you probably already know what good companions older cats can be.
Though they’ve long passed that playful kitten stage, they’ll sit quietly with you for hours while you read a book or watch a good movie. Here’s how to keep your feline friends healthy long into their senior years!
Loving Care for Your Senior Cat
Make Sure They Get Adequate Protein
Older cats simply need more protein than their younger counterparts. Purchase a high quality cat food formulated for felines over the age of 7, and avoid vegan or vegetarian formulas. As biological carnivores, cats have specific nutritional needs that cannot be met by a plant-based diet. It’s also important to avoid the temptation to purchase bargain brand pet food at the supermarket. Because older cats’ teeth have likely lost their sharpness, canned cat food may be a better choice than dry. If you’re in doubt about what kind of food you should be feeding your senior cat, ask your vet for some recommendations.
Keep Your Older Cat Indoors
Indoor cats live longer and better lives than their counterparts who live their lives outside, so let your older cat spend h majority of its time indoors. Senior cats don’t have the reflexes necessary to avoid trouble and mishaps associated with outdoor living. Building a catio or a screened-in porch allows cats to soak up the sun, indulge their curiosity, and enjoy other benefits of being outside without the risks.
Handle Them Gently
Studies have shown that many cats over the age of 7 experience some form of arthritis — and this means that they aren’t up to the kind of rough-and-tumble play that they enjoyed as kittens. Be mindful that your older cat may be feeling pain in joints and muscles, and don’t contribute to that by rough handling. Always use a gentle hand when grooming your senior pet.
Keep Them Warm
If you’ve shared your home with your feline friend for any length of time, you probably already know that cat’s have a particular penchant for warmth. Make sure your senior cat has easy access to a soft bed situated in a warm place that’s draft-free. If your cat has a favorite windowsill it likes to perch on to rest in the sun, keep in mind that it may not be able to jump up to the windowsill as easily as it did in years past, so consider purchasing pet stairs to provide easy access.
Schedule Regular Vet Appointments
Your senior cat should see a vet for a comprehensive geriatric examination once per year provided it’s in fairly good health. The exam will include blood work and X-rays to check for conditions that may need treatment. A smaller checkup in between annual exams are recommended to catch any health issues that may arise while in their early stages.
Please don’t hesitate to call our office if you’ve got concerns or questions about keeping your senior cat happy and healthy for as long as possible.