As cats reach their senior years, their day-to-day care requirements begin to change. Senior cats hold a special place in our hearts, so we’ve put together some tips for providing the best care for senior cats. With a little bit of extra support, your senior cat will be able to not only live, but thrive, during their golden years.
Senior cats have different dietary requirements than their younger counterparts. As they age they can start to struggle with weight management, dry skin, or other more serious ailments that impact their dietary requirements. During one of your bi-annual wellness checks, speak to your veterinarian about your cat’s diet and whether any changes need to be made to improve their overall health. This could involve switching to a prescription diet – such as urinary or kidney care – or simply moving to a healthier, fresher option like Freshpet. One of the benefits of switching to food made from fresh, whole ingredients is knowing that your senior cat is getting virtual nutrients in every meal that they eat!
Water is important for all cats, but senior cats are especially prone to constipation and kidney issues – both of which are impacted by water intake. Fortunately, there are several easy ways you can increase your senior cat’s daily water intake.
Veterinarians, including Freshpet vet Dr. Aziza, recommends increasing the frequency of your cat’s wellness appointments from once a year to every six months when they reach their senior years. At these appointments your vet will likely recommend blood work panels and physical exams, which allow them to screen for diseases that show up in a cat’s senior years such as kidney disease, periodontal disease, or cancer. The earlier that illnesses like these are caught, the more treatment options there are available and the better the prognosis.
Senior cats naturally become less energetic but that doesn’t mean they should live a completely sedentary lifestyle. If you’re struggling to find ways to get your cat moving each day, keep an eye out for toys that they are particularly interested in and save them for these special workout times. If you’re not sure where to start, some great options include:
Not only does routine exercise keep your senior cat’s spirits high, it will help them stay at their ideal weight, maintain muscle tone, and increase blood circulation.
Keeping up with your senior cat’s mental activity is as important as their physical activity. There are two key times during the day where you can naturally engage their mind: meal time and play time.
For more ideas, take a look at our list of the best toys to keep your pet busy indoors.
Another part of caring for a senior cat is providing modifications, where needed. This could include litter boxes with ramped or low-step entries, swapping vertical scratching posts for horizontal ones, or steps to help them get on the bed or couch. If you’re unsure how to best meet your senior cat’s changing needs, take a look at our article on how to adapt your home to an aging pet or speak to your veterinarian. They’ll be able to help you find solutions that will enable your cat to move comfortably around the house.
We hope that this list gives you some insights into the best ways to care for your senior cat. Do you have other tips you’d like to share with fellow senior pet parents? We’d love to see them in the comments!