Elderly Cat Care.
Delaying Elderly Cat Health Problems

Elderly cat care is becoming a reality for more cat owners, as cat life expectancy is getting longer.

Caring for aging cats involves adapting their living environment to make old age easier for them, and also learning to recognize elderly cat health problems early.

This page lists and describes some practical tips for coping with old age in cats and or keeping aging cats happy and healthy.

If you're interested in finding out how old your cat would be if he was a person, click here for a cat years to human years calculator.

Elderly Cat Care Tips

1) Exercise

While it's natural for your cat to become more sedate as he ages, it's still a good idea to encourage him to take some exercise. Gentle exercise will help keep his muscles healthy and joints supple, and will be good for him psychologically. It's still a good idea to play with your older cat, but you may just have to make playtime shorter and a bit more sedate.

Make sure he can access everything he needs to - if his favorite bed is on top of a wardrobe, for example, you may have to move it to a lower position.

2) Diet

Because older cats are at greater risk of kidney failure, good elderly cat care involves feeding a diet that's lower in protein. Most of the good cat food manufacturers (Hill's, Royal Canin, Iams etc.) make food specifically for older cats, which takes the guesswork out of knowing what you should / shouldn't feed them.

picture of old ginger cat

It's a good idea to give old cats a mixture of food types - some dry, some wet, some fresh meat / fish. The dry food will help to clean their teeth and the wet food to keep them hydrated and prevent constipation. They also need access to fresh drinking water at all times.

If your old cat maintains a good appetite even as he becomes more sedate, you may need to reduce the amount of food you give him to stop him becoming overweight.

3) Medications

You may find your older cat needs to have his tablets altered or the dosage changed to reflect the changes in the way his body absorbs and processes them.

4) Infections

It's important to keep your elderly cat's boosters up to date, to help prevent him catching infections.

If your cat looks like he has developed an infection it's important to get him to the vet promptly for treatment.

5) Chronic diseases

Many chronic diseases can be kept under control if they are spotted and treated early. For this reason, an important part of elderly cat care is to get your old cat checked out by a vet on a regular basis.

Also, if you notice any changes in your cat's behavior or appearance that you're not happy about, you should get him checked over promptly by a vet.

Things to look out for include increased thirst, rapid weight loss, excessive straining at the litter tray, sudden loss of appetite, excessive cat vomiting, cat diarrhea or cat constipation, lethargy and feline depression, suspicious lumps and bumps appearing etc.

6) Elderly cat care - some general points

Your older cat should have access to a warm, draught-free bed, shouldn't be left outside for excessive periods (especially in particularly hot or cold weather) and should have easy access to a litter box.

You may need to increase the number of cat litter boxes in your home as your cat ages - if the house is big, an old cat will be less inclined to hike up or down several floors and through half a dozen rooms to get to his box than he was before. Also, some older cats can't control their bladder or bowels as well as they could when they were younger, so if the litter box is too far away Kitty may be "caught short."

A final tip for elderly cat care is to try to avoid changing your cat's routine, as old cats often don't respond well to change. If you must change his routine, the more gradually you can do it, the better.

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