Top tips to keep your elderly cat happy

If your cat is nearing a certain age, and is not able to bound around on your sofa or jump up your curtains as they once did so easily, then your kitty is feeling their age.

Sleepy cat

Usually cats are deemed elderly at the age of 12 years-old  – around 64 human years – and you may notice that, just like humans, their eyesight and hearing wasn’t what it once was, while their behaviour, appetite and sleep patterns may change as time goes on.

A lot of cats we rehome at Cats Protection Brighton and District have left their kitten years behind them. But it doesn’t mean they are past it – these cats make wonderful companions, particularly if you are looking for a calmer kitty who is keen for cuddles and a warm place to sleep. Older cats still enjoy chasing around the house with toys, albeit at a slower pace than their kitten selves. They are still full of life, it’s just they are a little wiser about the world.

Check out the cats we have up for adoption – Donald, Diesel and Minnie (pictured below).

Elderly cats might need a bit more attention when it comes to their health, as just like humans, getting older means they are more susceptible to certain diseases. Below are a few tips that could help make your older cat feel comfortable and happy and help you spot any signs of diseases.

Food

Most cat food brands now offer special ranges designed to give elderly cats all the nutrients they need. If you are worried about your cat putting on weight because they are unable to exercise quite as much as they used to, you should choose food that ensures they have a balanced diet. However, usually, older cats need more calories in case they start to lose weight, while antioxidants help to ease the ageing process. You may also wish to look for food that contains B vitamins as the levels tend to drop as they age because their kidneys become less efficient.

Some elderly cat foods also have a stronger smell or flavour to them which helps to better stimulate the cat’s sense of taste and smell which tends to get duller with age. You can always warm their regular food up, which will naturally strengthen the food’s smell.

You should also monitor your cat’s appetite. If it changes dramatically, this can sometimes signal that a cat may be ill.

Teeth

Tooth and gum problems are more likely for an older cat and so softer food, such as pellets may be better suited to them at this age.

Water

You may also notice that your cat’s thirst for water changes as they age. You should ensure that there is plenty of water around the house and in the garden. If you find your cat is suddenly drinking significantly more water, this could be a sign that they are not well.

Grooming

Our feline friends love to look good, pulling themselves in different positions to get to their tail or the bit in-between their toes. But as cats age, their muscles and joints stiffen, so they are no longer as flexible as they once were and it means that grooming can become more difficult. To make your cat feel comfortable, you can help them by combing them with a soft brush. Their claws may also need clipping if they are unable to scratch posts and trees to maintain them.

Visiting the vet

Elderly cats are likely to need more regular visits to the vet in order to ensure your cat is feeling tip-top. We recommend that you get a check up every six months to spot any signs of illness or disease early so it can be treated immediately and your cat isn’t suffering in silence.

Illnesses in elderly cats

Unfortunately, there are many different diseases which can be common in elderly cats. These include:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Kidney disease
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Renal disease
  • Diabetes

If you think your elderly cat may be suffering, please take them to see your vet immediately. The sooner they are diagnosed, the sooner they can be treated. It can be a frightening time but your vet will help you understand how to help your cat and the best treatment for them.

If you would like to find out more about Cats Protection Brighton and District, please visit our website, ‘like’ our Facebook page, CPBrighton or follow us on Instagram, CPBrighton.

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