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Caring For Senior Kitties

May 15, 2024

Have you observed your feline buddy’s activity level decreasing recently? Cats are adorable and sweet during their lives, but they get even more adorable as they age. Fluffy generally ages gracefully. You may note that she has grown super affectionate, and that she (somehow) sleeps even more than before. Cats are independent and easy to care for; however, as they get older, they will need more attention. A Fort Myers, FL offers tips on caring for a furry, meowing senior in this article.

When Do Cats Get Old?

The American Association of Feline Practitioners says Fluffy retires at ten. Other sources, though, say that age is nine. Some people think that cats are officially furry little seniors when they’re seven years old. There is a reason for these differences. A seven-year-old cat is roughly comparable to a person who is 45 years old. That’s around the threshold of middle age for people.

Some people are confused by the difference between cat years and human years. You may have heard that one year of human life is equivalent to seven years of cat life. That’s not quite right. For instance, Fluffy’s first year is about equivalent to 10–12 human years. The second one will bring your feline companion up to the age that is equivalent to twenty-four years for a human being. After that, the comparisons become a bit closer to the seven-year rule.

Having said that, Fluffy is definitely a senior by the time she is 11 or so. A cat that is 15 years old is considered geriatric. Even though your eleven-year-old cat might still act like a kitten, she would benefit from extra attention and possibly more frequent veterinarian appointments.

What Are Some Of The Most Common Health Problems Aged Cats Have?

Certain health problems are more likely to arise in cats that are approaching their golden years. Some examples are cancer, diabetes, arthritis, hyperactivity, problems with the eyes or teeth, and diabetes.

In the time between veterinary clinic visits, look for any signs that your pet might be sick. Keep in mind that cats are naturally shy about this. Fluffy might try to hide how ill she is until she really gets sick!

Here are some common symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Stumbling
  • Changes In Appetite
  • Increased/Decreased Thirst
  • Increased/Decreased Urination
  • Withdrawal
  • Uncharacteristic Behavior Or Vocalizations
  • Discharge
  • Limping
  • Lesions, Lumps, Bumps
  • Skin Irritation
  • Hair Loss
  • Appetite changes
  • Increased Or Decreased Thirst/Urination

Kitties with messy fur are often thought to be sick. However, it is normal for older cats to look a little disheveled, because they often have trouble cleaning themselves. Older cats may be stiff and sore, which makes it hard for them to bend and stretch. Furthermore, the skin of older cats produces a lot of oil.

That said, if you notice anything odd, call your vet right away.

How Much Care Do Senior Cats Need?

Your feline friend will mostly need the same things as any other kitty: good food, clean water, a litter box, and, of course, frequent visits to the vet. But you should start making small changes.

Nutrition is very important. Ask your vet when to switch your pet to a senior formula food. Fluffy might also need to eat more or less or perhaps switch from kibble to canned food or the other way around. Pay attention to portion sizes; you don’t want your furball to become obese!

Make sure your furball has access to clean water at all times. Start keeping an eye on how much water Fluffy drinks. One way to do this is to always fill her bowls at the same time. You might want to put out more water dishes if your house is big or has more than one floor, especially in the summer.

Cats need a clean litterbox. This should be somewhere your kitty can easily get to. If you have more than one story, put extras on every floor. 

Then there’s veterinary care. As she gets older, your feline friend may need to come in more often. Ask your vet to recommend an appointment schedule.

What Can I Do To Make My Home A More Comfortable Space For My Older Cat?

Kitties are quite easy to care for, and it does not take much to make them happy. Small things can make a big difference when it comes to taking care of an older cat. For instance, Fluffy will never get tired of her cute box obsession, and she’ll still love lying in the sun.

Here are some more things that will make your furry buddy purr:

Window Seats

We always suggest keeping Fluffy inside. Of course, she will still need to be entertained. Our feline friends like to spend their free time watching birds. You may find Fluffy sleeping, sunbathing, and watching birds and mice for hours on end. Give your animal friend a nice, comfy seat by the window. A storage bench or ottoman can work well for this. Cover it with a pretty blanket that goes with your room’s style. Or, put a kitty bed on it. Instant purr! 

Get Nightlights

Like people, kitties can have trouble seeing as they get older. Fluffy might have problems getting around in the dark at night. Set out some little nightlights for her.

Pet Ramps

Your feline friend will not be able to climb or jump as high as she used to. Along with that, she might become less coordinated, which would make her more likely to trip and fall. Set up pet stairs or ramps so she can get to her favorite spots on couches and beds. 

A Lot Of Beds

Older kitties can sleep for up to twenty hours a day. Fluffy had to practice for years to be able to sleep that much. Make sure your furball has lots of places to sleep and beds to choose from.

Senior Litterbox

Your feline buddy might find it hard to get in and out of a litter box with high walls. Get one that’s made just for seniors. Also, we suggest putting a litterbox on every floor of your house. 

How Can I Keep My Senior Kitty Content?

Senior cats, like kittens, require fun and excitement. Playing is very important here. She might not be as wild as she used to be, but your feline buddy friend will still love showing off her lion skills occasionally. This will also help your kitty stay healthy. Plus it’s good for her brain! Like people, feline seniors can lose some of their mental capacity as they get older. playing might also help with that. Kittens need to keep their eyes on that small red dot in order to land their jumps properly. Leaving the radio on can provide stimulation and enrichment.

Other than that, just pay close attention to your furry friend. Play with her, talk to her, and let her curl up on your lap. Last but not least, make sure Fluffy knows you love and care for her. Senior cats’ purrs are very special!

Set Up A Time To Visit Our Fort Myers, FL Pet Clinic

Do you want to know more about how to take care of older cats? Do not be afraid to get in touch with your Fort Myers, FL  veterinary clinic at any time. We are always happy to help!

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