To have an elderly cat means that you have been a privileged owner, especially if you have had her from a young age. As a cat matures and gets older, her needs will change, and you need to take care of them. Depending on her breed, her senior years will start at around age seven, and she can be described as older at around 12 to 14 years. Here are a few tips to take care of her now.
Typical of old age
Just like older people, senior cats have a couple of common symptoms. If any of these changes dramatically, take her to the vet.
- A change in her sleeping patterns.
- Problems with her kidney function.
- She doesn’t see that well.
- Her sense of smell declines.
- Changes in her behaviour.
- She might lose or gain weight.
- She isn’t as mobile as previously.
- She experiences dental issues.
It is common for older cats to suffer from arthritis, which can cause much pain in her body. There are various products on the market to help her cope with the pain and be more comfortable. Speak to your veterinarian to find out which product will be the best for your cat, as there is no need for her to suffer. And don’t give your cat any product that is meant for dogs. Cats lick and groom themselves, and an ointment meant for dogs might be harmful to your cat if she ingests it.
2. Picking her up
As she gets older, you want to take extra care when picking her up and putting her down. Now, more than ever, you don’t want to hurt her in any way. When you pick her up, have one hand behind her front legs over her chest area, and use the other hand to support her back legs and hindquarters. When you put her down, don’t allow her to jump from your hands – she might hurt herself, especially if she suffers from arthritis. Lower her body to the ground so that her front feet touch the ground first, and lower her hindquarters close to the floor, so that she will ‘walk’ out of your hands.
3. Staying inside
It is so much safer to keep her inside, especially if she struggles with her mobility, eyesight or hearing. It will help to keep her out of danger. Also, as her immune system declines, you don’t want to expose her to any diseases.
4. Easy reach
Make life easier for her by ensuring that she has easy access to the necessities, like her litterbox, food and water. Also, if she sleeps on your bed, you can get stairs and place them next to the bed, so that she doesn’t have to jump up or down, especially if she suffers from joint pain.
5. Keeping occupied
Making life easier for her doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t be active. She should still have toys to play with and engage in games that will keep her mind occupied and her body mildly active. Speak to your vet and discuss what will be ideal for your cat.
6. Keeping warm
Cats naturally prefer to be warmer, and that’s why you might find her curled up in a sunny spot. Make sure that she is comfortable and warm when she sleeps. The softer her bedding, the better. If she is too hot, she will get up and move away.
Now is the time to take special care of her. You don’t know how long before she crosses the Rainbow Bridge, so enjoy and appreciate every moment with her that you can.