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The Cat in the Hat on Aging

CEO Tinh Phung
When it comes to taking care of your aging feline friend, a little extra TLC can go a long way. Cats are living longer than ever before, thanks to improved nutrition, indoor living, and advancements...

When it comes to taking care of your aging feline friend, a little extra TLC can go a long way. Cats are living longer than ever before, thanks to improved nutrition, indoor living, and advancements in veterinary medicine. Nowadays, it's not unusual for veterinarians to have feline patients in their twenties. So, how can we ensure that our older cats enjoy their golden years to the fullest?

Taking Care of Senior Cats

As cats grow older, they may become less active and playful. They might sleep more, gain or lose weight, and have trouble reaching their favorite spots. However, it's important not to simply attribute these changes to old age. They could be signs of underlying health conditions or dental problems that should be addressed by a veterinarian.

Dr. Richard Goldstein, an assistant professor in small animal medicine at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, emphasizes that growing older is not a disease. While some senior cats may develop different conditions, others may remain perfectly normal and unchanged. Regular veterinary check-ups can help enhance the well-being of older cats.

Calico cat curled up on a blanket Calico cat curled up on a blanket

Simple Suggestions for Aging Cats

To ensure that your older cat remains comfortable and content, consider the following suggestions:

Think Warm

Cats love to seek out warm places to rest. Ensure that your older cat's favorite soft bed or resting spot is not located in a drafty area of your home. However, it's important to remember that too much heat can potentially harm a cat who can't move quickly. So, think warm, not hot.

Provide Easy Access to Basic Needs

As cats age, they are more prone to developing arthritis and may experience reduced control over their bowels and bladder. To cater to their needs, install litter boxes on every floor to make them easily accessible. Additionally, some older cats may urinate in a litter box but not defecate. In such cases, using a litter box with low sides or placing newspaper around the litter box can help solve the problem. It's also important to make sure that food, water, and litter boxes are readily available on the same floor to avoid the need for climbing stairs.

Help Them Get There

If your older cat is no longer able to jump onto their favorite windowsill or chair, create box steps, ramps, or invest in pet stairs. These adaptations will help your cat safely reach their desired spots. For added stability, cover the steps or ramp with carpet to prevent slipping.

Groom with Care

Older cats may require extra grooming assistance if their self-grooming habits start to decline. Regular brushing or combing can remove loose hairs, stimulate circulation, and revive the luster of their coat. It's worth noting that a sudden lack of grooming may indicate an underlying health issue.

Cat sleeping on owner's legs Cat sleeping on owner's legs

Consider Their Senses

If your older cat has vision difficulties, provide them with a nightlight to help them navigate in the dark. For blind cats, keeping their environment as consistent as possible is crucial. Avoid picking them up unnecessarily and call their name before approaching to minimize any disorientation or surprises.

For cats with hearing problems, approach them from the front rather than from behind to avoid startling them. It's also essential to keep them safely indoors to protect them from cars and predators.

Encourage Playfulness

While a rambunctious young kitten may not be the ideal companion for an older cat, there are still ways to encourage playfulness. Try waving a wand, going for a walk with your cat inside your home, or playing a game of chase the kibble, one piece at a time. It's important to give your older cat the attention and engagement they need while respecting their limits.

Provide Proper Nutrition

Fresh water and a nutritious diet are critical for cats of all ages, but they become even more important for older cats. Consult with your veterinarian to choose a diet that provides appropriate nutrition and the right amount of calories for your aging cat. Senior cats often benefit from a mix of canned and dry food to ensure adequate hydration.

Stick to Routines

Older cats value predictable days more than younger cats do. Just like humans, they become more set in their ways as they age. Some cats may require more emotional support and attention, while others may prefer solitude. Sticking to their normal routines provides reassurance and comfort.

Show Them Extra Tender Loving Care

Finally, spending quality time with your older cat is essential. They enjoy being with their human family members and need the extra tender loving care that will help them thrive in their later years. Remember, older cats are treasures that bring joy and companionship to our lives, and they deserve to be cherished.

So, when your favorite feline friend starts showing signs of aging, remember these simple suggestions to ensure they enjoy their senior years to the fullest. Because just like the Cat in the Hat, they bring a little magic into our lives, regardless of their age.