4 Ways to Treat Older Cats with Care

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You have seen your cat on his best days and on some of his worst, and you likely have cherished every moment spent together. Facing the reality that your cat is getting older is a tough pill to swallow, but you and your furry friend can still share many more special moments. As your cat ages, your treatment of him or her is going to need to change as his or her behavior and needs are going to be different. Your cat might need to drink more water and take cat supplements if s/he starts to get finicky about what s/he will eat. If you regularly do these next four things, it is likely that your pet will continue to thrive well into his or her golden years.


1. Watch Your Cat’s Weight

Older cats will experience a turndown in their metabolisms just as people do. You really don’t want to feed your cat less as a means of weight management, but you could start giving your pet smaller meals throughout the day to ensure that he is not eating excessively. If you think that you need to make adjustments to the frequency in which you feed your older cat, consult with your veterinarian. It may be found that you just need to change the brand of cat food that you feed your pet to ensure that his nutritional needs continue to be met.

2. Keep Your Cat Active

While your cat will still want to play, you may notice him becoming more lethargic as he reaches an advanced age. It may take extra work in order to get your cat motivated enough to get the exercise that he needs to stay healthy and at an ideal weight. Installing a cat perch near a window may inspire your cat to get up from a nap, stretch, and jump up to get a better view a few times a day. Choosing cat toys that make noise could interest your cat into walking over and investigating, giving him just a bit of the exercise that he needs to stay happy and active as well.

3. Give Your Older Cat Supplements

Your older cat will need a lot of protein in order to maintain his muscle mass. Giving him cat supplements will keep him at a healthy weight while you make adjustments to his everyday diet. Be sure to supplement your older cat as much as needed as each day’s meal plan can have a big impact on your cat’s lifespan.

4. Help Your Cat with Grooming

Normally cats are able to clean themselves without much assistance. However, older cats may be more prone to developing hairballs in their stomachs or even fail to clean certain parts of your body. Cats don’t need to be bathed as regularly as dogs, but you might want to begin checking your cat for matted patches of fur if his advanced age has caused him to become more sedentary.

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Whether you have an outdoor cat that likes to roam or one that stays indoors and enjoys cuddling, you should pay very close attention to his behavior. Keeping your cat healthy will ensure that he lives a long, full life so even the smallest problems have to be addressed right away. Your cat will surely show his appreciation for your care in his own unique feline way.

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  1. Excellent points Jenny! Agree it is so sad to see our kitties aging quickly(so wish they could live as long as people do!). For some like my Angel (passed away in 2011 from hyperthyroidism and renal failure), their diet as you pointed out becomes a challenge. Her nausea was terrible secondary to the build up of toxins. Sometimes older kitties’ appetites wane because their sense of smell isn’t as keen. So, they don’t get excited about food. You can add stuff like low sodium beef broth or other smelly foods (canned salmon), to peak their interest if it is OK’d by your vet. It was around that time Angel passed away, I learned that a lot of kitties just don’t drink enough water period and the harmful effects to their kidneys that feeding only dry food produces. They just don’t get enough fluid intake to protect and keep their kidneys healthy and that can lead to kidney problems later on in their life. Learned that one way of ensuring they do get enough fluids is to add a can of water to their food at every meal, wet or dry. None of my present kitties have ever wanted from a water bowl no matter what. That fact really hit home when Miss Mari, our Maine Coon Rescue, who is 10+ was diagnosed with renal insufficiency, the precursor to the dreaded renal failure. She has done remarkably well at keeping her lab values near normal and from her disease progressing with the proper meds and by providing her with a lot of fluid. She gets her necessary fluid from her wet food together a can of water added for each meal. The extra water also acts to keep her hydration good and has played a vital role in keeping her from becoming constipated, another terrible thing that sometimes happens to our aging kitties when they don’t drink enough. We also give her some Laxatone on a regular basis to help with that and any hairballs she might have since she will only tolerate being brushed briefly. Am praying that with her supportive medications and good fluid intake, we can help her enjoy the life she still has for as long as possible.

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