How to Care for a Senior Cat

Grey cat with brown eyes playing with blue and pink ribbon

You may have noticed that your cat is napping more, not playing with you as often or that they can’t jump as high as they used to. These are all normal as your cat approaches their senior years! Just like us, they’ll want to slow down a little as they get older. Read on to learn how to care for a senior cat and how to keep them happy and healthy.

How to Care for a Senior Cat

While your senior cat may be a bit calmer than when they were young, the later years of your cat’s life can still be as fun, loving and rewarding as ever. Here are some tips on how to care for a senior cat and keep them comfortable well into their senior years.

Keeping Your Senior Cat Comfortable and Healthy

As your cat reaches a senior age, there’s no doubt that they’ll be used a certain routine. Keeping to this routine as much as possible will benefit your cat’s physical and mental wellbeing. However, there are a few small changes you can make to make sure your senior cat is comfortable.

  • Provide snuggly support. We’re sure your pet is a big fan of cat naps, especially when they have a soft and cozy spot to snuggle into. Senior cats can sometimes struggle with joint pain, so providing them with a soft and supportive bed can help keep them as comfortable as possible. Always make sure their bed in a warm and quiet place. 
  • Keep clean water and a litter box nearby.  You can reduce the stress on your cat’s joints by keeping their bowl of water and/or their litter box nearby. This will minimize the amount of travel they will have to do. Also, this can encourage your pet to drink more water to avoid dehydration and to keep urinary tract infections at bay. 
  • Minimize jumps. Whether your cat likes to be perched on a windowsill or snooze on the sofa, every cat has their favourite place that is usually elevated from the ground. However, a senior cat may not be able to jump as high as they used to. You can help by breaking up a jump into manageable steps. For instance, you can put a footstool between the floor and your cat’s favourite chair. 
  • Be mindful of your cat’s changing senses. As your cat grows older, their senses can get a little weaker. There are small things that you can do at home to compensate for weaker senses. For instance, you can warm up their food before feeding to release its aroma. You can also try to avoid loud noises if your cat’s hearing has changed. If your cat can’t see clearly, you can approach them carefully and purposefully to avoid any surprises. 
  • Go for regular check-ups. Regular vet check-ups are the best way to maintain your senior cat’s health. During a check-up, your vet will weigh your cat and give them a thorough once over. If your vet has any concerns, they will take samples of urine and blood to test for signs of illness that are common in older cats.

Feeding Your Senior Cat

Cats are typically considered seniors at the age of seven. At this age, your cat may start to slow down a little. Taking life a bit easier and your cat’s slowing metabolism means that your senior cat uses less energy on an everyday basis and doesn’t need the same amount of calories to keep them going.

By switching your cat to a senior cat food, you can give your cat everything they need as they get older. Senior cat food formulas contain fewer calories and have easily-digestible proteins that are easier on your cat’s tummy and teeth. For more information, see our guide on how to feed a senior cat.

Loss of Appetite

If you’ve noticed that your senior cat is ignoring their food, it is best to have them looked at by your vet. A lack of appetite can be caused by an underlying health problem or may be caused by something as simple as a change in your cat’s taste. Your vet will be able to assess for anything more serious and give you tips on how to encourage your senior cat to eat.

Be Mindful of Weight Gain

As mentioned, cats become a little less mobile as they get older and this means they won’t be burning through energy as quickly as they did when they were younger. This can put your cat at risk of gaining weight. To avoid weight gain, carefully manage their diet and provide correct portions of a specially formulated senior cat food.

Moreover, you can always play with your cat and encourage them to explore to keep them moving. This can help maintain your cat at a healthy weight and help keep their joints supple.

Senior Cats are Loveable as Ever

We hope that this advice has helped you learn how to care for a senior cat. Remember, while cats are typically considered seniors around the age of seven, many cats live well into their teen years. With proper nutrition and care, you can help your cat’s senior years be healthy and happy. 

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