4 Tips For Maintaining Senior Cat Health
Just like with humans, cats need a little more care when they reach their senior years. Also similarly to humans, there's no truly defining age for seniorhood in cats – it depends on their overall health. However, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a 10-year-old cat is roughly equivalent to a 58-year-old human. At that stage, the cat may require a few changes to his routine to maintain his health.
Take the Cat in for Wellness Visits
Senior cats are susceptible to kidney and liver disease and hyperthyroidism. Because a cat's health can change quickly, the AVMA recommends yearly or bi-yearly wellness visits with a veterinarian (such as one from Elizabethton Veterinary Clinic). During these visits, veterinarians give booster shots if necessary and check the overall condition of your cat. This check-up includes his weight, skin and coat quality, mouth condition and joints. This allows the vet to catch the onset of disease early on.
Adjust the Cat's Diet
It may not be necessary to change your cat's diet on his 10th birthday. However, older cats tend to start putting on weight, so you may need to adjust his diet to one that's lower fat and higher protein. Likewise, it's better for their digestive tract to give senior cats several small meals throughout the day instead of two large ones. Your vet may also suggest dietary supplements if your cat's digestive tract is no longer absorbing nutrients efficiently.
Play with the Cat
It's easy to remember to play with a kitten or young cat because he demands it all the time. Older cats, on the other hand, enjoy snoozing the day away. Nonetheless, they still need to incorporate exercise into their routine. Set aside some time each day to play with your senior cat so he gets the exercise he needs to not only maintain his weight but also his muscle and joint health.
Make the Cat Comfortable
At a certain point in your cat's life, you'll notice age-related changes. He might be a little stiff. He may not groom as often. He could even seek out warmth more frequently. These are normal changes in an aging cat. So, to make him comfortable, provide steps for climbing onto his favorite areas. Brush him daily because senior cats tend to groom themselves less frequently. Finally, since older cats have trouble regulating their body temperature, create warm niches for your cat to enjoy.
You may notice that cats go through very similar changes to humans in the aging process. Treat your aging cat like a cherished grandparent, and your senior pet can continue to shine in his golden years.