Cat needs appropriate care for each stage of life. Upon reaching old age, the cat has new needs and desires, which is why it is essential to pay increased attention to your kitty's care during its aging.
That’s why today you will learn how to care for a cat in old age, and we will answer the most common questions:
At what age is a cat considered a senior cat?
At what age is a cat considered a senior cat?
In seven years, the activity of the body's cells decreases. Various organs do not work as effectively. Veterinary classifications of the cat's age are:
• At 7 to 10 years old, the cat is considered mature.
• At 11 to 14 years, a cat is considered elderly.
• When over 15 years old, a cat is considered very old.
Cats often live to 20 years, which is 96 years by human standards.
There are common features of the aging process. The cat's sense of smell, taste, and hearing are dulled. The animal's appetite can change and decrease. Appetite may also decrease due to dental problems (such as tooth abrasion or gum disease). The combination of these problems can be the cause of weight loss.
"Compared to younger cats, the immune system of older cats is less able to fend off foreign invaders. Chronic diseases often associated with aging can impair immune function even further," says the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
The cat joints perform their function worse and develop osteoarthritis, which can cause severe pain and restrict mobility. The loss of flexibility also affects the cat's ability to lick its fur, which in turn worsens the condition of the coat and skin. The fur may become thinner, and you may notice a deterioration in its condition. This is because of the sebaceous glands that nourish the skin work less efficiently.
How is senior cat food different, and how much food should an older cat eat?
About 40% of a cat’s life falls on the period of old age. Therefore, the cat parent must understand changes in the pet's food preferences.
During this period of life, the cat's metabolic rate slows down significantly, and your pet needs fewer calories. This circumstance should certainly be taken into account when forming the cat's diet. It is extremely important to make sure that you do not overfeed your pet.
Food specially designed for elderly cats will allow your pet to get all the necessary elements. Food for older cats contains a protein that the body can easily absorb, so it is easier to chew and easier to digest in the cat's stomach.
When feeding older cats, you should follow the guidelines for determining the portion size, which is on the product package. However, do not forget that this guide provides only general recommendations about the correct diet. Each cat needs an individual approach, so try to give your pet an amount of food that will be enough to maintain its activity and good physical shape.
Why is my senior cat losing weight?
Older cats can suffer from a lack of weight. This is because as the general state of health and organs deteriorate, the cat gradually loses its appetite and dislikes the taste and smell of food. Another reason for weight loss can be a metabolic disorder and improper functioning of the digestive system. If you notice that your pet has lost its appetite, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible, as these symptoms may strongly indicate that the cat has serious health problems.
If the veterinarian is sure that there are no medical reasons for the loss of appetite in your pet, you can change the situation. For example, heat your cat's food to room temperature or add a little flavor to it, such as a spoonful of tuna. To restore your pet's appetite, you can try to diversify its usual diet. Make sure that the cat can easily get to the food. This is especially important if an elderly pet has certain problems with orientation in space and movement.
Remember, before making any changes to the cat's diet, consult with a veterinarian, who will help you decide on the optimal and most balanced diet for your pet and give valuable recommendations on the best and easiest way to change the diet of your furry friend.
Why is my older cat vomiting?
In healthy cats, vomiting occurs periodically. The cause may be because the food has caused an upset bowel. However, the risk to the animal's health occurs when the vomiting does not stop, and the vomit contains mainly bile (yellow or white foam). It is extremely important to immediately contact a veterinary clinic if this happens to your cat.
Vomiting in a cat can have a simple cause that does not need to be examined by a veterinarian, but it can also be a serious illness symptom.
There can be many causes of vomiting, and identifying the one that caused your cat to vomit can be a daunting task. Always follow the recommendations of your veterinarian. For successful treatment, you need to give medications on time and prescribe therapeutic food even if the symptoms have stopped.
Do older cats sleep more?
Older cats can sleep less, as they are generally less mobile. A slower metabolism leads to less need for rest.
Some cats can sleep longer. However, in old age, their sleep may be less deep. As ThePets experts research, this can lead to disruption of the daily routine and cause behavioral problems. It is important to choose the right cat bed for cats in old age.
Why do older cats yowl?
The cat's desire to constantly yowl can be caused by a behavioral disorder or a physical illness symptom (for example, hyperthyroidism).
An elderly cat may be afraid and need attention. Older cats may yowl or howl due to cognitive disorders. If you are faced with this, the first thing you need to do is to have a full veterinary examination of the pet.
What vitamins do senior cats need?
Vitamins for older cats must contain substances that will strengthen muscles, joints, and cartilage tissue. For this purpose, vitamins of groups A, B, C, E, and calcium, magnesium, potassium, and copper are best suited.
• Vitamin A helps preserve vision, promotes tissue repair, and strengthens the immune response.
• Vitamin E is beneficial for the skin, accelerates regeneration, and has antioxidant properties.
• B vitamins can strengthen the nervous system and improve the condition of the skin and fur.
• Vitamin C can strengthen the immune system and strengthen the body's natural defense against any infections.
However, it should be remembered that vitamins for older cats should be selected considering the individual characteristics of the pet. Also, do not overfeed the cat with supplements; this is fraught with hypervitaminosis.
Is it a good idea to get a kitten with an older cat?
The ideal age of the cat for the common adaptation of two cats in the house is up to three years. It is much more challenging for an adult cat and a kitten to make friends. The older cat will be increasingly difficult to accept new living conditions. Of course, cats are incredibly jealous of their territory and personal life.
When you have a new pet, you will have to give your first cat the same amount of attention, or better yet, more than usual. You must let the kitty know that you still love it. The cat should be confident in you and your attitude; this will help reduce the intensity of passions and win over the cat to accepting a new pet.
The main thing is to find the right approach to how an adult cat can make friends with a kitten, and your pets will live a new and friendly life.
How do I know if my senior cat is suffering?
Generally, cats hide any illnesses by limiting their mobility or activity instead of showing signs of pain. It is essential to pay attention to any changes, such as refusal to eat or play. Consult a veterinarian promptly if there are concerns.
Following symptoms may indicate the presence of cat disease:
• Loss of appetite, weight.
• Frequent urination.
• Lameness and reduced activity.
• Disorientation, anxiety.
Do senior cats like to play?
It is important to play with an elderly cat every day to ensure the necessary level of activity. You can use different toys that your cat may like:
• A stick with feathers to chase after.
• Toys for cats with catnip.
• Puzzle toys with treats.
Set aside time to play every day. Cats are independent creatures, and some of them may snort at your suggestion to exercise, especially if they are elderly and suffer from arthritis. However, if you trick an elderly cat into playing, it will get much-needed daily activity through a few quick runs around the house.
Is catnip OK for older cats?
Approximately 30% of adult cats do not react to catnip, and this is completely normal. Sensitivity to the plant is usually inherited. If a kitten's mom or dad loved catnip, then he is likely to follow their example.
For a healthy cat, catnip is absolutely safe. It is not addictive and has no side effects. However, with disorders of the nervous system or an overly emotional reaction, it is better to keep the miracle grass away from the cat.
How can I get my senior cat to exercise?
When an older cat's activity decreases, they begin to walk more slowly, jump with caution, and play a little less. Although this behavior is the norm for mature cats, these changes can worry their owners. One way to keep your cat awake is to stimulate her physical activity so that her brain and body remain mobile and flexible.
Cats love to climb, but older animals suffering from arthritis may have movement problems if they don't practice regularly. Ensure that your cat can easily jump on the furniture before lying down on the sofa and taking a nap. If you already have a cat house, motivate the cat to use it by hiding treats at different levels so that it has to jump to get to the snack.
The more care, affection, and attention an elderly pet is surrounded by and the more responsibly the owner approaches its nutrition and conditions of maintenance, fewer problems arise with managing the cat's behavior and health.