September 16, 2022
Tips for Caring for Older Senior Cats
Caring For Senior Cats
Many are surprised to learn that cats (and dogs) become seniors when they’re roughly 7 human years old. Even though this is considered “senior”, there are many cats that live 12-20 years. It’s usually only in their later or last years that older cats become truly fragile and incapable of performing basic care and maintenance. Learn how to recognize when your senior cat is an “older” cat and how to take care of older senior cats.
Keep Your Senior Cat Hydrated
All animals naturally dehydrate with age and with the progression of a day. Older cats are more likely to become dehydrated because they’re not as likely to have access to water sources throughout the day. Many cats will leap onto counters and drink from faucets or cups or dishes laid out for them, but as they age, they can’t do this. A big part of caring for them is making sure your cat has plentiful access to water and to make sure they’re drinking it. Kidney disease and constipation are natural consequences of dehydration.
Monitor Your Cat’s Aging Teeth
Your cat’s oral health can quickly get away from you especially if you don’t already have a care protocol. Your cat’s oral health is important because once teeth and gums become infected with plaque and tartar, then they develop gum disease, and infections can quickly spread. What’s more is that your cat can lose their teeth, which creates an increasing challenge in getting nutrients to your ailing and aging cat.
Older cat care demands good teeth and gum health because without it, your cat will lose their teeth, develop infections, and be too pained and inflamed to eat—it won’t matter if it’s dry or wet food.
Engage with Your Older Cat
Senior cats are great because they’re so laid back—they love to rest, but even older cats need stimulation. Try to find ways to keep your older and aging cat young by playing with them. Ideally, you’ll have had an ongoing practice of play with your cat even as they get older, but even if you couldn’t or didn’t, senior cat are merits of play time. Your cat doesn’t have to be chasing laser lights or climbing walls, but anything that’s mentally stimulating qualifies as older cat care.
Monitor Your Senior Cat’s Wellness
Caring for them demands that you monitor your cat’s wellness. As senior cats mature and age, they show signs. Look for thinning. Look for hair loss, excessive grooming, decreased grooming or changes in their hair texture. Monitor their paws. Sadly, some can suffer from ingrown nails as a result of neglect—this is when the cat’s claw will grow so long that it hooks backward into their paw—often, this has to be removed by surgery or painful cutting.
Incorporating the right food into their diet will also benefit their health. Wellness® Complete Health™ Age Advantage Pate supports healthy aging with the right balance of protein and fat, plus natural glucosamine and chondroitin to support their joints.
Your cat may also, as they become increasingly older, show signs of confusion, loss of appetite, or balance and coordination issues. They may not jump as much or at all. Your cat will need for you to step in—to bathe them more, to trim the nails they no longer sharpen, to brush them, to carry them, and to help them as they get older.
Keep Up With Vet Check Ups
Lastly, caring for senior cats requires staying up to date on your vet visits. Senior cat care involves more regular vet checks because as cats age, they’re more predisposed to illness and other concerns as noted above. While your cat will naturally age, you can help your cat by making sure they’re not being affected by any diseases, and also being made aware of areas where your cat is struggling to provide adequate care for themselves.
Caring for them does take more time and attention. You may have to carry your cat to the litter box. You may have to groom your cat yourself. You may have to brush your cat’s teeth or bottle feed your cat, but your cat is your baby, and as your cat ages, they may become less independent and more dependent on you.
Above all things, caring for aging cats requires love and compassion. Your senior cat care plan must involve commitment. If you exert your attention and effort in caring for your older cat, then you’ll reap all of the rewards of knowing that your cat truly felt your love.
Cats are noble and independent animals, but as they age, they can become more dependent. Cat parents who are caring for aging cats likely need to find a diet of delicious, natural, easy-to-chew food that will help with aging. Wellness Pet Food cares about animals at all life stages, which is why we make pet foods that target all pet life stages and needs.