Cats like their human counterparts will also experience physiological changes that come with the aging process. As such, elderly cat care considerably differs from caring for kittens and adult cats especially when it comes to daily care. Veterinary visits also become more frequent with the obvious goal of diagnosing diseases and disorders as early as possible so as to increase the favorable chances for a good prognosis.
The following changes are the easiest ones that pet owners can adopt for their cats’ daily care. Asking the veterinarian for special tips is also an excellent idea if your cat has an underlying medical condition.
Changes in Diet
Unlike dogs, cats maintain similar levels of energy needs all throughout their adulthood although senior cats tend to lose a few percentage of their body fat. As such, the caloric needs may stay the same but the fat requirements can increase. This is a general rule, however, in elderly cat care where diet is concerned with notable exceptions for more than a few senior cats.
You must carefully monitor the weight gain or weight loss of elderly cats for two reasons. First, you can adjust the cat’s diet depending on his weight progress. Obesity being a problem in cats, you want to avoid feeding your pet too much.
Second, you can have the cat immediately examined by the veterinarian if the weight gain or weight loss appears significant. Either case can signal an underlying medical condition that may or may not be related to the cat’s diet.
Changes in the diet as part of elderly cat care are also necessary because the structure of the teeth and the digestive system changes with age. For example, senior cats are more prone to constipation than their kitten and adult counterparts.
Changes in Grooming
The cat’s fur also changes with age. The hair becomes thinner and duller while the skin becomes drier in cats, all of which leads to a host of health problems. Hairballs are more frequent because of the faster rate of shedding in the rapidly thinning hair while the thinner skin becomes more prone to injuries and, as a consequence, slower to heal. You must be very vigilant about grooming your pet cat as well as checking for lumps, bumps and sores while you are doing so.
Changes in skin and hair also demand certain changes suitable for elderly cat care. For one thing, you must add fatty acid supplements to the diet so as to bring back the luster of the coat and to protect the skin from injuries. For another thing, brushing sessions must also be increased mainly to spread the oil from the sebaceous glands into the other parts of the cat’s body, which will lessen dry skin.
Changes in Physical Activity
And then there are the changes in physical activity borne of the decreased functioning of the lungs and the heart, not to mention the development of joint diseases like arthritis. Despite the weaker body, you must encourage your pet cat to engage in physical activity even if it means playing with a yarn of ball.
Proper elderly cat care is a responsibility that every pet owner must take to heart. It behooves every pet owner to take care of their loyal companions till their last breath.