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Caring for Older Cats

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: October 24, 2016
Caring for Older Cats

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Cats have especially long life spans; they can live up to 18 years, and at times, even exceed 20. It is important to consider special care and attention if your cat is more than 12 years old; it should be treated as a senior animal.

For this reason, in this AnimalWised article we have worked hard to offer useful tips so that your pet can receive the best care when in the delicate stage of elderly life. Read on to find out all about caring for older cats.

You may also be interested in: Vitamins for Older Dogs

Feeding older cats

At first glance, elderly cats seem youthful and active, making us think that they don't need excessive care, but that's not true. Their bones, muscles and organs work more slowly and begin to suffer over time. To start reviewing your cat's care, it is essential to be aware of its diet and consult your vet when changing it to an senior cat diet or a low-calorie diet.

This latter type of diet is suitable for elderly cats as it is less fattening than other diets, which is ideal to match the gradual reduction of daily activity. This way you can control your older cat's weight, which is essential at this stage. Remember that overweight cats have a shorter life expectancy, so help them to maintain a healthy and stable build.

Remember to make sure the animal eats and drinks properly. If it is drinking water and eating regularly there is no need to go the vet.

Caring for Older Cats - Feeding older cats

Regular vet visits

In old age, health problems become more frequent than in other stages of a cat's life. You should be informed and aware of any physical changes, such as hair loss, the appearance of tumors, difficulty or pain when walking, etc. If you spot any symptoms, it is important to see your vet as soon as possible because the treatment will be more effective.

If no symptoms are observed, it is still recommended to go to the vet twice a year for an examination and general health check. That way, any forms of anemia or allergies that may have gone unnoticed can be ruled out.

Caring for Older Cats - Regular vet visits

Caring for an older cat at home

As previously mentioned, at this stage it is important that you pay more attention to your pet. Making sure a cat stays healthy and active is important even at this stage of old age. Prevent apathy by playing with your cat and catching its attention on a regular basis. Toys, cuddles or massages are perfect to keep them active and healthy.

In the same way you encourage your cat to be active when it is awake, you should respect its sleep time and give it a comfortable and cozy bed which is soft on the bones.

Something else you should be aware of in older cats are problems such as blindness or deafness. As they grow older they may start to become disoriented and lose their senses; you will be able to spot this.

Although there are many tips on the internet for caring for senior cats, the truth is that you know your cat the best; its needs and wants. Be sure to observe your cat and make sure it spends time with the best possible person - you.

Caring for Older Cats - Caring for an older cat at home

If you want to read similar articles to Caring for Older Cats, we recommend you visit our Geriatrics category.

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2 comments
Suzy
Comment on the photo under Caring for a Himalayan Cat ... it looks more like a Ragdoll. Himalayan cats have Persian pushed in noses. Ragdolls have the angora or regular nose.
Marilyn Smith
I inherited two cats when I moved 8nto rental property after my husband passed away. Malachi 17 and Simon 18. Malachi passed away in July 2018 since then ibe liver Simon comfort him when he mourned got his brother. I try to play but I just dont know what toys would be good for a geriatric cat of 18 cuz I've never had feline friends before. Thank you
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Marilyn,

While many cats will want to play right up to the end of their lives, it is also true that a desire to play will lessen over time. It is often found that cats will want to spend more time receiving affection than playing when they are older. However, you can still try to engage with play.

The toys you use won't necessarily be any different, more important is how you implement them. Start slow and don't make too many fast movements. See what it is she likes and wants to engage with, there will be some trial and error involved. Just have patience and see what she enjoys. Every cat is an individual with their own preferences.

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