As your cat gets older, it can be more challenging for them to do basic things around the house, like getting up onto that comfy sofa or turning around to groom their back. They may have arthritis, or cognitive dysfunction. They may need to use the litter tray more than they used to or drink more water
We consider a mature cat to be 7-10 years old, a senior cat to be 11-14 years old and a geriatric cat to be 15 years old +.
Whichever age category your cat fits into, we have come up with some tips and tricks for helping your cat feel comfortable at home in their twilight years and making their day to day life a bit easier…
- Use a low sided litter tray – this will help your cat get in and out more easily. Cats with arthritis can really struggle getting into high sided trays. You could also make them a shallow ramp to get in and out.
- A highly digestible diet is really important for older cats as their ability to digest food may be reduced with age. Speak to one of our nurses about a diet specifically designed for your cat’s life stage. If your cat requires a prescription diet, we can help you with a recommendation suitable for your cat.
- Monitor your cat’s claw length and quality. They are prone to become overgrown and brittle and can even grow around into their pads which can cause pain and infection. Our nurses offer appointments to clip your cat’s nails.
- We recommend regular blood tests, health checks (every 6 months) and monitoring to pick up diseases early that we see frequently in older cats, such as hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, dental disease and arthritis. By identifying these diseases early, we can start treatment as soon as possible and make your cat more comfortable.
- Older cats often reduce their grooming behaviour due to sore joints or other underlying conditions, so therefore, regular brushing or grooming will help with their coat condition and provide some much needed enrichment for you and your cat.
- Monitor for signs of your cat slowing down, stiffness, weakness, etc. Signs may include reluctance to jump up or down, hesitation before climbing, or going up or down stairs, reduced grooming, difficulty getting in and out of beds, cat towers or litter trays. You can help them by providing multiple levels for cats using steps, scratching posts etc, boxes or ramps,
- Older cats can get stiff in their necks, so raising their food bowls can really help too. Just use an old box or a bowl holder so they don’t have to stretch down so far. Make sure you have multiple water bowls in different areas of the house but don’t keep moving them, this may confuse your older cat. Water fountains can be great.
- Keep their resources (bowls, litter trays etc) in the same places so as not to confuse your cat), but it is best to keep food and water bowls separate from each other as they prefer to source these from different places.
If you would like to discuss how you can help your older cat at home, please contact one of our nurses via Petsapp or phone.