Helping a Cat Age Gracefully
For fans of felines, the chances are that their homes are graced by the presence of at least one cat. This cat has become a lovable companion. Both owner and cat have been happily enjoying each other’s company for years. The owner simply cannot think about what it would be like without their feline friend, but the reality is that kittens become adults, who in turn change into geriatric cats. However, the aging process is not something to be encountered with pity, because if the cats do not feel sorry for themselves, owners should not either! However, there are some ways to make the aging process easier for both parties.
So, as the owner of a geriatric cat, how can one make sure that your geriatric cat is aging healthily?
First of all, check the cat for any irregularities such as bumps, or loss of hair in patches. The most noticeable thing to be aware of is changes in behavior. Is the cat sleeping too little? Does the cat seem more lethargic than usual? These are some of the symptoms that an owner should be looking out for.
There is also the issue of mobility. If it has been noticed that the geriatric cat is starting to have problems climbing the stairs, the owner should, just as if they were accommodating a geriatric human being, make sure that the cat is placed in an area where stairs are not a necessary factor. Keep the litter box and food all on one level so that the cat can easily reach both. Also, as the cat ages it might have trouble jumping up on couches to relax, so get a large kitty bed or pillow and create a comfortable area for the cat on the floor.
Another option is to get ramps for the areas of the home that the cat has trouble reaching. As humans, as cats age, they can be prone to arthritis, which is a common cause of decreased mobility. Cat owners should not give any pain medications to their cats unless the medication was prescribed by a licensed veterinarian.
Geriatric Cat Diet Suggestions
In a cat, one of the first things to be affected is its kidneys. As dogs get older, their metabolism naturally slows down, and so the need for dogs to ingest calories becomes decreased. However, when it comes to cats, their calorie intake generally remains the same throughout adulthood.
While middle-aged cats face the risk of being obese, older cats can have weight loss naturally. When cats get older, their digestion process slows down, and the cats need food that is easier to digest.
There are a variety of cat foods that are available on the market that specifically caters to the nutritional needs of older cats, such as Iams, for example.
Ultimately, the nutritional needs of each cat differ, and the owner will need to consult with the veterinarian as to which brand will be the most beneficial for the cat.
Whether an owner has a long-haired cat or a short-haired cat, throughout a cat’s life, it is important to periodically brush the cat’s coat. When the cat was younger, the main goal to this was to make the coat look healthy and stop excessive shedding. However, in an older cat, hairballs become more of a problem, and frequent brushing can make this less of a problem for the geriatric cat. Interestingly, if the cat is black, one might notice that, like aging humans, white or gray hairs start to appear.
If a change in the luster of the pet cat’s coat has been observed, that can indicate a sign of either a nutritional deficiency or a disease. If it is a nutritional deficiency, the cat might be prescribed fatty acid supplements to give the coat back some luster. Also, the skin of an older cat can often become dry and brittle, so brushing will stimulate the sebaceous gland, which will help disperse natural oils throughout the coat.
Additional Problems of A Geriatric Cat
Two other things that the owner will need to look out for are dental problems and vision problems. Dental problems can occur at any point in a cat’s life but are more prone to occur with advancing age. However, scheduled teeth cleanings can be of immense benefit. If the owner has a particularly docile cat, the cat might let the owner brush the teeth. When it comes to vision problems, these could be caused by many different maladies, among the most prevalent being cataracts. If an owner thinks that his cat is having problems seeing, he should immediately take it to the veterinarian.
The aging process might be minimal with the cat or more pronounced, but either way, it is important to give the cat its space and let it come to the owner for attention. Proper nutritional and care, which includes diligent veterinary consultations, will help cat age gracefully. Normal Aging & Expected Changes in Older (Senior, Geriatric) Cats is a website that can also be of help. In fact, the proper care can even add years to the cat’s life! So as the cat eases into its twilight years, the aging process can be made all the easier with that extra dose of love.