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Senior Kitty Care: Fluffy’s Golden Years 

March 15 2024

Is your feline companion beginning to exhibit signs of age? Although kitties are considered elders around the age of 11, many cats now live well into their teens or even twenties. Fluffy may have a long retirement! Cats usually age gracefully: you’ll probably notice modest, gradual adjustments rather than drastic ones. However, your kitty will require some extra love and attention in her golden years. This article features advice from a local Calumet City, IL veterinarian on how to care for an aging kitty.

How Do You Care for a Senior Cat?

Fluffy will have the same basic needs as any other cat: good food, clean litter, proper medical care, and, of course, lots of love. However, a few adjustments may be required. For instance, you may need to move to a senior-formula food, and maybe set out extra water bowls. Ask your vet for advice.

Do Older Cats Require Larger Litter Boxes?

Think about getting your pet a litterbox with low sides. Older cats are more likely to become stiff and sore, and may struggle to get in and out of high-walled spaces. Fluffy might also find it easier to use with something that is wide and shallow, rather than deep and narrow.

Should You Groom Senior Cats?

You might have noticed Fluffy beginning to look disheveled. There are several plausible explanations for this. One is that cats become stiff and painful as they age. Your cat may struggle to bend and stretch enough to clean her entire body. Senior cats’ skins may also create more oil than younger cats’. This can also leave your furry buddy’s coat looking oily.

You can assist your feline companion by gently brushing her. Cats rarely require baths, yet some people enjoy bathing their cats. When brushing Fluffy, don’t pull too hard. Senior pets have extremely fragile skin. You do not want to injure your cute pet! Consult your Calumet City, IL veterinarian for detailed advice on this.

Keep in mind that untidy fur might indicate that your feline companion is not feeling well. If your kitty’s fur is quickly starting to look worse, and/or you observe additional red flags, such as withdrawal, contact your veterinarian.

Should I Play with My Senior Cat?

Absolutely! One of the best things you can do for Fluffy is to play with her. Pouncing and jumping provide excellent exercise for cats! Additionally, kitty playtime provides mental stimulation. That’s especially crucial for senior cats. Just like humans, pets can experience cognitive impairment as they age. Focusing on catching the red dot will also exercise your cat’s intellect. (Plus, it’s adorable.)

Of course, this is only effective if Fluffy is feeling frisky. If she’d rather take another snooze, she’ll simply stroll away. That’s purrfectly fine! One thing we know for certain about cats: unlike dogs, they will not push themselves to impress us. So you don’t have to worry about your furball overdoing it.

A word of caution: pick areas with a padded surface, like a floor covered in carpet.

Do Older Cats Require Special Care?

Fluffy’s requirements are going to change a bit as she grows older. In general, you want to ensure that she has easy access to her food, drink, and litterbox. If you have a large home and/or multiple floors, keep litterboxes and water stations on each level. That way, your furry friend won’t have to climb as many steps.

Be sure to provide lots of comfy napping spots. By the time your adorable pet reaches her golden years, she’ll be a true napping champion, able to sleep up to 20 hours every day. As you might expect, one of the finest things you can do for your tired pet is to provide her with a variety of comfortable settings. You can buy or make Fluffy’s beds, but you can also just put folded blankets on baskets, chests, or ottomans. You’ll get extra purrs if you place some of these in sunny areas or near windows with pleasant views.

We’d also recommend turning on a night light for your cat after dark. Fluffy’s night vision may not be as good as it once was. She may also become forgetful and lose her path as she approaches the litterbox.

Another thing you may do to assist your pet is to install pet ramps or stairs. Footstools will also work. Contact your veterinarian for further information.

How Do You Make Senior Cats Happy?

Older cats generally enjoy the same things as younger ones. At the end of the day, Fluffy wants to feel loved, safe, and a bit spoiled. Keep that engine running! Spend plenty of time with your kitty companion, and provide her the attention and lap space she craves. Just be gentle while picking up or putting your kitty down.

How Can I Keep a Senior Cat Healthy?

Many of the health problems that senior people face can also affect older cats. Some of them could include the following:

  • Obesity
  • Heart conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Disease
  • Arthritis
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Cancer
  • Loss of vision
  • Hearing loss and dental issues

Your furry friend may need to visit the vet more frequently. This is also an excellent opportunity to get updated tips on Fluffy’s food and care.

In between checkups, watch for signs of illness. If you observe anything out of the ordinary, call your vet immediately.

How Can I Keep My Older Cat Safe?

You’ll want to use the same basic petproofing procedures as you would with a younger cat. Fluffy will certainly be less playful than she was, but she may still try to munch on your houseplants.

We also strongly advise keeping your pet friend indoors. Actually, we recommend that all cats be kept inside. However, older cats are more vulnerable. Not only are they more vulnerable, they could forget where they are, and get confused about how to get back home. Take a precautionary approach here. When it comes to cat care, it’s always better to be safe than sorry! 

How Do I Know If My Senior Cat Is Sick?

Our feline friends can be a little tricky about communicating their discomfort. Keep a close check on Fluffy’s appearance and behavior.

Here are some things to look for:

  • Poor grooming
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hiding
  • Withdrawal
  • Weight Gain or Loss
  • Stiffness
  • Respiratory issues.
  • Discharge Fever Lethargy
  • Litterbox Issues
  • Drooling
  • Limping
  • Appetite shifts

Unusual vocalizations may also be a red flag. If Fluffy is typically silent but suddenly starts weeping, there could be an issue.

Do Old Cats Meow A Lot?

It is not uncommon for senior cats to get a little yowly. Cognitive deterioration is often associated with this. Senile kitties can sometimes become forgetful and confused. They may become distressed about the changes they are going through, since they do not fully grasp why or what is going on. Fluffy may simply want more attention and cuddling. Alternatively, she may be reacting to discomfort. Ask your Calumet City, IL veterinarian for further information.

Can I Leave My Older Cat Alone?

Fluffy’s age and health would ultimately determine this. Most cats can be left alone for a day or so, as long as they have food, water, and clean litter. We would recommend having someone check on your pet. We wouldn’t advise leaving senior cats alone for longer than that, though. Boarding may be a better alternative.

Do you have any queries about senior cat care? Contact us, your local Calumet City, IL pet hospital, at any time!