How to care for your senior cat

caring for senior cat

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How to Care for Your Senior Cat

When it comes to caring for senior pets, it’s important to take note of changes in their behaviour and activity levels to provide them with the adequate care required. While each pet will have its unique set of needs, Catiomedia outlines some suggestions on important steps you can take to stay on top of your aging pet’s health needs and allow them to continue living a comfortable life.

Focus on the Right Diet

While your pet would have followed a set diet throughout their life, with old-age their nutritional needs change quite a lot. Popular brands of pet food sell products that cater to the diet needs of aging pets. However, if your cat prefers homemade food, you will need to revise your recipes and start including foods that are low in calories and fat while being high in nutrients.

The best way to devise the perfect diet for your pet is to visit the vet. Depending on your pet’s age, activity levels, and any existing health conditions, they can provide the perfect list of food to feed them on a daily basis.

Keep them Active

With age, cats become less active, leading to slower metabolism and higher chances of weight gain. Additionally, according to Thameswood Veterinary Clinics, most senior pets develop osteoarthritis, i.e. the wearing out of cartilage between bones leading to joint pain and slower movement.

Exercise plays a key role in keeping your pets healthy. While it’s unrealistic to expect your cat to be consistently active and scale heights in your home, it is important to continue having dedicated playtimes. Exercise and a proper diet will allow your pet to maintain a healthy weight, alleviate pain and manage age-related problems better.

Tend to Their Needs

Pay close attention to your pet’s daily behavior and movement patterns. If you see them struggling to walk, plan a visit to the vet. Inquire whether physiotherapy or hydrotherapy sessions can help to improve movement and help with joint pain. Additionally, incontinence is a common condition faced by senior cats. With age, muscles around important organs become weak, diminishing the ability to control their bladder.

Royal Canin notes that osteoarthritis also plays a part in incontinence in cats as it makes it painful for them to access the litter box. In such cases, it’s important not to scold or punish the pet for their actions as it is through no fault of their own. Conversely, be understanding and help them better the situation through changes in diet and medications prescribed through their vet. This also means being vigilant and promptly cleaning up after your pet.

Minimize Stress

When you have a move planned or some other life upheaval, there’s only so much you can do to reduce stress for your pet. On the other hand, if you live in a home with bouncy, active little ones or a new puppy that wreaks havoc, this can put an undue amount of stress on your cat. To offset the stress, try to find quiet places where they can comfortably retreat. Make a point to spend time with them in this place so they still feel connected to you.

It also helps to find ways to reduce your own stress, as your cat will be able to pick up on any negative energy you are carrying. If it’s really bad, your fur baby may even act out of character as a reaction to stress.

Make Grooming a Priority

With age, pets will exert less energy toward grooming themselves, which can lead to skin problems, higher chances of ticks, and more. If your pet struggles to endure the travel to the groomer, schedule regular home-based grooming sessions. Additionally, it’s important to keep your cat’s nails trimmed and coat clean to reduce hairballs which can cause digestive issues. Whenever purchasing grooming products like brushes and nail clippers, it’s wise to consult online reviews to find quality user-reviewed items.

Increase Vet Visits

As reported by Purina, it is important to visit the vet at least once a year. But, when it comes to senior pets, regular visits are needed depending on their health.

While you can expect some resistance from your pet about going to the vet more than usual, it is important to keep their doctor informed of their condition, take required vaccines and make necessary adjustments to their diet and medications.

When it comes to taking care of your senior pet, it’s important to stay on top of their needs, be considerate and provide them with the daily dose of love and affection that they deserve to stave off any stress.

Guest post by Ed Carter from AbleFutures. 

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