5 Essential senior and geriatric cat care tips

6 May 2020

We’ve got some good ‘meows’ for cat-lovers: science says that cats nowadays live longer than ever before. With good care and a little luck on your furball’s side, he should live a long and ‘prosPURRous’ life. These days it’s not unusual for cats to live into their late teens, early twenties or in extremely rare cases even hit their late 30’s like Crème Puff, who broke the Guinness World Records for being the world’s oldest cat. This golden oldie reached an impressive age of 38 years before trading in her ‘ninth life’ and ‘crossing the rainbow bridge’.

Although we can’t always predict how long we will be blessed to have Snowy Senior by our side, we can do our best to give him the love and care he deserves.

But wait, how do you know that Snowy is a senior (or geriatric) citizen?

According to Hill’s Pet Nutrition, cats are considered mature at 7 to 10 years; senior at 11 to 14 years; and geriatric at 15 years or older.

 

Here are some signs of ageing provided by Hill’s:

  • Changes in weight
  • Appetite loss
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Lethargy
  • Forgetfulness
  • Excessive meowing, yowling, or other vocalizations
  • Runny nose or eyes
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Bumping into objects
  • Pawing
  • Excessive blinking

 

With the age guidelines and signs of ageing in mind, let’s consider a few essential care tips for senior cats.

 

5 essential senior cat care tips:

 

  1. Feed your feline quality food

Cats are what they eat – give them the nutrition they need to stay healthy. Older cats need special diets, so it is recommended that you consult a qualified vet to make sure that your ageing furball gets the nutrition he/she needs to stay by your side for even longer.

If your senior cat has specific health problems like skin sensitivities or kidney issues, he or she can try Hill’s special range of pet food, which is scientifically formulated to help treat certain health conditions.

Tip: Feed your cat smaller meals (2-3 a day) more frequently to help with digestion.

 

  1. Good hydration is key

Older cats are prone to constipation and kidney disease, especially if they don’t drink enough water. Make sure your senior member has access to enough aqua. Put full water bowls at all your furball’s favourite chilling spots and make sure to refill them with fresh water daily. You can also introduce more wet cat food to their diets to increase hydration.

 

  1. Beware of obesity

Cats are masters at hiding their feelings, especially when they reach their wiser years. According to Hill’s, as many as 9 out of 10 senior cats suffer from arthritis without the knowledge of their pet owners. Maintain your cat’s weight to relief some of the pain caused by arthritis. Weighing a few 100 grams more could increase the pain of sore joints.

The ideal weight for a domestic cat is between 4 – 4.5kg, depending on the cat’s breed and size. Larger cat breeds can weigh up to 11kg.

 

  1. Maintain those pearly whites

Infections in your kitty’s ‘meowth’ can enter their bloodstream and cause liver, kidney and heart problems. That’s why paying attention to your cat’s dental health is essential to caring for them during their senior years.

According to PETMD, thorough routine veterinary examinations and dental care can drastically improve your cat’s quality of life and can even extend their lifespan.

 

  1. Don’t skip the vet visits

Routine appointments with the vet are vital! Make sure that your purry senior citizen visits the local vet at least once every six months for a routine check-up. This might help detect early stages of health conditions and ensure that your older feline remains in tip top condition. Remember that prevention is better than cure.

 

Don’t forget to grab insurance for ol’ Whiskers with dotsure.co.za. This way, you can focus on covering the cuddles while we take care of the vet bills*. 😉 Get a quick online quote in less than 5 minutes here! Or chat with one of our friendly consultants if you need a bit more guidance in deciding between our wide range of pet plans – you can do so by clicking on the chat bubble at the bottom of the screen on our website.

 

*T&Cs apply and are obtainable by emailing u2us@dotsure.co.za.

 

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