As your cat gets older, his or her needs may begin to change. You may notice subtle differences in behaviors and habits, or you may notice some symptoms of medical conditions that might be a cause for alarm. With the help of your veterinarian and some best practices at home, you can give your senior cat the love and care he or she needs. Here are a few things to consider as you begin to plan out your senior cat's care.
Assistance With Mobility
As cats age, they can sometimes develop arthritis, which can limit their mobility. It can cause inflammation, swelling, and pain in your cat's joints. You may notice that he or she no longer jumps on counters and window sills, or you may notice your cat simply doesn't get around as well as before. Your veterinarian can diagnose this condition and recommend treatment options, but there are a few things you can do at home as well. Make sure that food is placed in dishes on the floor where your cat can access without jumping or climbing, and keep the path to food and litter boxes clear. You may also want to trade in a cat tree for a large, cozy bed. If your cat prefers to still sit or sleep on your furniture, you can purchase a small staircase designed for pets from your local pet supply store.
Changes In Diet
Your veterinarian may recommend a modified diet for your cat if he or she has arthritis, as some cats may need to lose weight to help with mobility. Some senior cats may have more difficulty digesting fats and proteins as they get older, and others simply begin to prefer different types of food. As your cat reaches the senior years, discuss different feeding options with your cat veterinarian to determine which options are best for your cat. Your vet may recommend switching to a different brand of food or adding supplements to your cat's dish every day.
Continued Playtime And Exercise
Just because your cat is getting older doesn't mean that he or she doesn't still need exercise and playtime. You may need to adapt your playtime routine with your senior cat to match his or her mobility levels. For example, your cat may not be able to jump to catch toys, but you can still play with small toys on the floor. Be sure to spend time petting and massaging your cat just as you always have to show him or her just how much you still care.
Schedule regular visits with your veterinarian as your cat gets older, and follow up with the vet if you notice new or changing symptoms in your cat's diet, behavior, or health. Early intervention can sometimes help your veterinarian to find effective treatments for various ailments and medical issues.