Your cat may not be a wound-up kitten anymore, but old age shouldn’t keep your senior cat from getting the most out of the years ahead.
Senior cats are generally classified as being over 10 years of age. If your cat falls within this age group, it is important to be aware of certain physical and mental changes your senior cat will undergo at this stage of life. The following list contains common symptoms and conditions often associated with senior cats that can potentially impact their quality of life:
- Weight changes (either gaining or losing too much weight)
- Decreased sense of smell and hearing
- Sensitivity to light
- Heart or circulatory problems
- Less agility
- Digestion difficulties
- Brittle nails
- Grooming difficulties in hard-to-reach areas
- Loss of muscle mass/Loose skin
- Behavior changes, such as increased accidents outside the litter box, irritability, decreased human interaction, confusion and less playfulness
- Fluctuating sleep patterns
- Reduced digestive function
- Reduced immune response
If your older cat has become less active and is now reluctant to jump on counters and other areas that he used to frequent, it may be because your cat has developed arthritis.
What can you do to help your senior cat? Here are some tips:
- Schedule regular visits with your veterinarian.
- Ask for a body condition evaluation during each vet visit.
- Feed your older cat a diet formulated for mature cats
- Feed your cat to remain at its ideal body weight.
- Take care of your cat’s mouth and teeth
- Environmental enrichment is important for cats of all ages and should not be abandoned for senior cats.
- Provide your older cat with special accommodations.