Caring for Your Senior Feline Friend
Your cat is getting up in years, or you adopted a senior cat, good to know that caring for an aging feline is different than the care of a kitten. Older cats are prone to the effects of age just like humans. With each passing year, they become more susceptible to certain diseases, mobility limitations, and problems with their vision and hearing. It is up to us to make sure they are as comfortable – and healthy – as possible. Here are a few tips that help with caring for a senior cat
Understand Senior Feline Health
According to Petfinder.com, there are many changes that go along with advancing age. Many of these involve your cat’s skin, claws, teeth, and coat. Take your cat to their veterinarian at least once each year for a checkup so that your vet can help you monitor changes that may need attention.
One issue to be on the lookout for, which is common in older animals of all species, is joint pain. This is usually caused by arthritis. Arthritis triggers systemic inflammation that can make it difficult and painful to move. Instead of using prescription medication to treat this issue, CBD oil is a popular choice for senior pets since it may also be effective in treating issues with appetite and seizures. Not all CBD supplements are the same, so be sure to consider ingredient quality and reviews from other pet owners. Always talk to your veterinarian before giving your pet CBD. Your veterinarian may also recommend fish oil and other natural vitamins to help your cat live their best life.
Do Not Declaw
Senior cats often experience problems with their claws. This may take the form of a weak texture or it may be more difficult to retract when your cat is relaxed. Unfortunately, this can result in scuffed up floors and unintentional scratching during physical contact. The Nest explains that regular trimming can keep overgrowth problems in check and can help you keep an eye out for wounds on your cat’s paws. Avoid the temptation to have your cat declawed, which many vets will no longer do outside of medical necessity. The Humane Society of the United States affirms that there is no benefit to having this done and likens the procedure to having your own fingers amputated at the knuckle closest to your fingernail — the human equivalent of claws.
Senior Feline Care Basics
While taking care of an older cat is a unique experience, some things are universal for all pets. Your cat needs plenty of freshwater, healthy food, and even exercise. You may find it necessary to be more hands-on since many older cats tend to naturally slack on self-grooming, which may be attributed to joint pain. Continue to provide your older cat with lots of toys, a cat tree where they can climb and scratch, and a sunny spot where they can lounge around, look out the window, and enjoy lazy days.
Professional Care When Away
If you are taking a vacation or on a business trip, you will need to find reliable care for your senior cat. Many cats do not do well when in a boarding facility, so look at the option of an in-home pet sitter. Cats at Home Pet Sitting can provide the care and attention your senior pet needs while you are away.
Introduce New Pets with Caution
If you know your older cat is getting close to the end, you may be tempted to bring home a new kitten to fill the impending void. However, keep in mind that this can be a stressful experience. You will have to weigh the benefits against the potential discomfort your older cat might feel when having his space invaded by an energetic bundle of fur. Remember that cats can be territorial, so bringing in a new kitten could cause your older cat to act out which could include scratching and tearing furniture.
There is nothing quite like the love of the cat, especially one that has been a lifelong companion. And with advances in veterinary medicine, many cats are living – and thriving – well past their 20th year. But remember, your older cat has unique needs, and it’s up to you to provide for them. With a little diligence, it is possible to ensure their health and comfort for a lifetime.
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