Cats may have nine lives, but all cat lovers will know that they live them to the fullest! It is often difficult to deal with your cat getting older, but this is the perfect time for some extra love and care – she did after all choose to spend her life with you! We give you some advice on what to be aware of when kitty goes grey.
On the prowl for health problems
Just like humans, cats are more prone to getting sick in their golden years. It is worth it to take her to the vet for a check-up more often now than you used to. You might save in the long run – the earlier a health condition is detected, the easier it will be to manage it.
More frequent catnaps
Cats like to sleep. A lot. And as she gets older, she might require even more sleep. Make sure that your cat has a fantastic sleeping spot – this is where she spends most of her time! Make it cosy and put it in a suitable area that is free of draughts and where she will not be disturbed. Also ensure that you keep her bedding clean.
Loss of cat-senses
Cats are known for their ability to only listen to you on their terms – in other words, whenever they feel like it! But as your cat gets older, she might not do this on purpose anymore. Hearing loss is common among older cats, and she could also struggle to see well. Look out for these symptoms, which are all a normal part of getting older, so that you will be able to accommodate and help your cat where necessary.
Losing her looks
Your older cat’s fur might become thinner and look dull and less shiny, but she is still a beautiful member of your family. After all, she will never judge you on your looks! If you notice that she is struggling to groom herself, it’s a good idea to pay a visit to a vet – an underlying medical condition could be the cause.
It’s not always easy to keep track of what your cat is doing, but as she gets older, try to figure out if she is drinking more water than she normally does. An increase in thirst can be a telltale sign of diseases that are common in older cats, such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism and kidney disease.
This won’t impress your cat, but you need to stay up to date with what’s going on in her mouth. Does she have bad breath? She might have dental problems that are causing her unnecessary pain. Dental problems in some cases can also be a symptom of more serious problems, such as kidney or liver disease. Don’t let your cat live in pain, a vet will be able to help you.
This will help your vet
When you take your cat for her check-up, ensure that you inform your vet if she shows any of the following symptoms:
- Refusing to eat and weight loss
- Drinking more water than usual
- Difficulty moving, including stiffness, lameness and balance problems
- Lumps on her body
- Difficulty in doing her bathroom business
- Drastic changes in her behaviour
Scratch and stretch
If your elderly cat’s scratching post is vertical, she might stop using it due to painful, arthritic joints. Make it easier for her by providing her with a horizontal scratching surface so that she can still enjoy scratching, and get some exercise as well.
Love conquers all
Your cat’s last years may be hard on you for various reasons, but it would be extremely unfair to give up on her now. Embrace her old age as you would that of a family member. Help and care for her as best you can – this is the time of her life when she needs you the most. And when the time does come to say goodbye, you can do so knowing that your purry friend had the best life she could possibly have had.