Advances in veterinary medicine, in pharmacology, in animal nutrition and in the knowledge of their psychology are causing the life expectancy of cats to exceed 16 years, and even reach 20 years. Learning to take care of an elderly cat is actually quite simple, we just have to adapt to new guidelines.
Undoubtedly, providing enough physical and mental stimulation on a daily basis, the love it deserves and the proper hygiene and nutritional care will help your pet enjoy an optimal quality of life for many years . However, it is recommended that from the age of 12 you give them specific care, adjusted to their situation.
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How to take care of a geriatric cat
As we say, it is considered that from 12 years of age a kitten is old. You are in the final stage of your life and your health will inevitably suffer to a greater or lesser extent. Therefore, as his tutor, you must provide him with different care than those practiced up to that moment. We show them below.
More frequent veterinary control for elderly cats
When you live with an elderly kitten, you should intensify visits to the vet and carry out more in-depth examinations, as well as blood tests and radiology tests, electrocardiograms, etc. Experts advise doing them every 6 months, since at these ages there is a greater risk of imbalances in the kidney or in the thyroid.
Your immune system will be more weakened than in years past, so now more than ever you should keep your vaccination schedule up to date.
Identify possible ailments of age
It is inevitable that your pet has one or more of the pathologies associated with age. Veterinary visits will also serve to diagnose them. We refer to the following diseases:
- Do not underestimate them because they generate a decrease in appetite due to lack of stimulation or interest in food.
- Periodontals due to their predisposition to accumulate bacterial plaque.
- You will identify them by lack of appetite, incontinence, and increased thirst.
- Joint, such as osteoarthritis.
- Cognitive or neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s .
Our recommendation is that you take advantage of the moments of games, caresses or hygiene to feel his body. It will allow you to find possible lumps or skin conditions. Remember that a prompt intervention is always a guarantee of better survival and quality of life.
Elderly cats are often in pain
Despite his survival instinct that leads him to hide his discomfort, you will know that something is wrong if he stops eating, is listless, has difficulty moving or breathing, is irascible, aggressive or if he is panting. Consult with your vet to find out and prescribe the appropriate treatment, if necessary.
Special food for older cats
The intensity of your daily activity as well as your habits will have changed. Consequently, you must adapt your diet to these conditions. It is convenient to reduce the caloric intake to avoid obesity . If you keep all your teeth, the ideal thing is to offer dry feed for its dental benefits and because it provides the necessary taurine.
However, if you are suffering from an oral disease, wet food is very suitable. It is easy to swallow and digest, it is appetizing and contains a lot of water, something that is very required by older kittens. Always under the supervision of your veterinarian, you can offer specific preparations for older cats.
Do not neglect hydration after a certain age
As important as the nutrients you must ingest is hydration, since at these ages body temperature drops. Cats, in general, do not usually drink a lot of water. Therefore, to prevent dehydration, always keep fresh and clean water within reach. He uses water sources to arouse his interest and encourage him to drink.
Elderly kittens need to intensify hygiene
The daily grooming section is more relevant than ever because elderly cats tend to abandon themselves due to osteoarthritis or the pain caused by oral conditions. Brush her teeth to prevent gingivitis, clean her eyes and ears with a moistened sterile gauze, and trim her nails. Decreasing physical activity makes them weaker.
Brush his coat every 2 days and keep his litter tray spotless. It should be larger and shallower than in previous stages to facilitate access. Make sure it is sufficiently visible. If you prefer, place several sandboxes in different parts of the house.
Daily physical and mental activity
Physical and cognitive exercise is essential for your best friend to stay active, clear-headed and happy. Use toys that are not too rigid, so as not to hurt their teeth and nails, and games of intelligence or that appeal to their hunting instinct. With 15 minutes a day it will be enough to appreciate its benefits.
Old cats need a lot of affection
The moments of confidences, caresses and massages will comfort you physically and emotionally. Don’t do without them.
Avoid dangers and drafts
You must make sure that your home makes life easier and more welcoming for you. In this sense, it closes all the holes in which it may fall or get trapped, avoid drafts and provide it with a place for exclusive use, free from noise, where it can rest as a refuge .
Keep in mind that colds are common in older cats. Therefore, if you cannot maintain a constant and comfortable room temperature, turn to electric heating mats or place cushions on the radiators so that he can snuggle up at ease.
Be patient, elderly cats need their time
Respect their slower pace. If he meows a lot at night, try whispering his name. It is very likely that you will feel accompanied and calm down. If his nightly meows don’t stop, take him to the vet to rule out the presence of any physical illness.
As you can see, the final life stage of a cat demands patience, understanding, dedication and more love than ever. We hope we have provided you with valuable information that you can put into practice. If you feel like it, do not hesitate to leave us your comments. We will love to read you.