Caring For Elderly Cats
The average domestic cat lives 12-15 years; but they can survive up to 21 years. Once a cat reaches age seven, they can be considered 'senior.' Like humans, the older the cat gets, the more susceptible they are to pet diseases and health complications. Here are ways to improve animal health and wellness as the cat ages:
Vision Complications and Deaf Cats
As cats age, they will need to be approached slower than they were as a kitten. If your cat is deaf, approach them in front rather than behind. If they have issues seeing, keep the house stationary and avoid moving too many pieces of furniture or boxes. (Changes in environment will only confuse the cat.) Put lights on at night to help guide them to where they wish to be.
Exercise and Nutrition
Goes hand-in-hand. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, roughly 58 percent of cats in the United States are overweight or obese. To avoid plumpness, cats need a combination of healthy cat food and exercise. Lack of exercise will lead the cat to problems beyond obesity including heart issues, joint problems and heat intolerance. While good nutrition should start at a cat's youthful age, cat owners should continue to read labels and avoid under-feeding or over-feeding animals.
To maintain strong bones, cat owners need to help cats exercise by implementing cat games and exercises that allow the cat to bend, grab and jump.
- Play with a laser pointer and let the cat swipe at it;
- Have the cat jump for a cat toy filled with cat nip (incentive);
- Play with a ball of string and let the cat wiggle his/her way out of the yarn.
All cat fitness exercises can be done from within a catio or cat enclosure.
Pet owners should not neglect cat's teeth. Dental issues in cats can lead to gum disease and weight loss. Brush cat's teeth with a soft toothbrush or give your cat a minty dental treat that cleans mouths.
Have additional tips to care for an older cat? Follow the conversation on Facebook: @EasyPetFence.com using hashtage #SeniorPetMonth.
- Jenn Smith