Around the age of 10-12 your cat is considered a 'senior'. On average, they will live another seven years, although some cats reach the age of 25! To help care for your ageing fur friend, read below to make life as comfortable as possible for you both.
After a good number of years, you may have noticed that your cat is less dynamic. They walk more slowly, and with more difficulty. They sleep more, and eat less.
This is normal. With age, your cat becomes less able to do things as before. They need more rest and less food, requiring less energy as their body very gradually begins to wear out.
Adapting to your senior cat
It is important to provide your senior cat with the appropriate diet. They will require slightly less food, however with a focus on higher protein. To ensure they remain healthy, avoid grains that are low in nutrients - a lower calorie but more nutrient rich diet is best. You can talk to your vet to guide you in the right direction.
Remember - your cat may still demand food even when they are not supposed to be hungry. They may also become less clean (we all know how much cats like to clean themselves) and show signs of sleep disturbance. These are often caused by disorders of cerebral circulation that can affect older cats. This disorientation can cause such behavioural changes.
Your pet may also suffer from loss of sight and hearing. While there is nothing to stop eyes andears from naturally ageing, your vet may prescribe drugs that can delay the onset of these symptoms.
Read more about common eye problems in cats here.
As they get older, your cat may begin to suffer from certain ailments such as osteoarthritis. Thus, it is important that your pet remains healthy, at an appropriate weight, and active. Preventing the onset or early onset of any disease should be the priority.
Your fur friend may also suffer from dental problems due to tartar build-up. Therefore, it's important to have them checked out regularly and provide any necessary treatments as advised. Poor dental hygiene can lead to a raft of other health problems.
Kidney disease is another common ailment that can affect ageing cats. In fact, they are quite susceptible in felines. This can lead to urinary problems, cause vomiting, loss of appetite, and increased thirst, as well as other more serious conditions. Adequate nutrition can help to reduce these symptoms as well as a veterinary check to ensure nothing more serious is underlying.
Considering your cat's diet from the beginning will go a long way to ensuring they remain at their healthiest throughout their life. Adapting this to their age will be equally important so that they can maximise nutrient and energy values.
If your cat does become unwell in the latter stages of their life, your vet may prescribe medication or various treatments to help ease any symptoms. When in doubt always check with an expert!
Most importantly, continue to be tender with your companion. They have been with you for all or part of their lifetime and they are reliant on you to take care of them. It's your turn to be there for them now and guide them through their golden years with as much ease as possible.
You can read more about understanding the needs of senior cats here.
How old is your senior cat?