Tips for taking care of older cats

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.

 

1. Arthritis

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.

 

Read about more tips in the May 2021 edition of Animaltalk magazine, available online.