The Cat Veterinarian’s 10 Best Tips for Healthy Aging In Your Cat

1. Senior check-ups

Going for regular senior check-ups with your veterinarian can make a dramatic difference to your cat’s health and well-being!

Senior check-ups include a health examination, blood pressure and blood tests where kidney values, liver values, sugar and thyroid values ​​are checked. Senior controls are very important to be able to find and start treating serious diseases early. Senior checks are recommended for all cats over the age of 7, as some of the diseases sometimes debut even when the cat is middle-aged. Cats hide signs of illness for the longest time and in the absence of regular check-ups, diseases are often detected late in the process.

Senior checks are recommended every 6-12 months. Keep in mind that 6 months for a cat corresponds to about 2 years for a human – during this time a lot can happen!

2. Lots of fluid

Cats are generally bad at drinking water and older cats often have an increased need for fluids. The easiest way to ensure that the cat gets enough fluids is to give only soft foods (yes, it is perfectly possible to skip the dry food!).

If you have a picky cat that refuses soft food, you can try one of the following tricks:

  • Water glasses placed in the home, filled to the brim
  • Use a large water bowl so that the cat does not reach the edge with the whiskers when it drinks
  • Do not place the water bowl next to the food bowl
  • Use the water fountain
  • Let the cat drink from running taps
  • Season the water with eg tuna spatula or the boiling water from chicken (unsalted)
  • Make sure that the cat with pain in the joints has easy access to the water, for example the water bowl may need to be raised

Even a slight dehydration increases the risk of constipation!

Cats with more severe dehydration quickly become very ill (compare with severe back pain!) And need veterinary care quickly.

3. Review claws and fur

Older cats often find it more difficult to care for their fur and wear their claws less. Discuss this with your veterinarian as it may be a sign of osteoarthritis / joint pain – this should be treated in that case!

You can help your cat by daily brushing (make it a cozy moment!) And cutting the claws if necessary. In cases where the claws do not wear or become clipped, there is a great risk that the clone grows around and into the pad – this hurts!

Offer horizontal and vertical claw boards. In addition to the claw helping the cat to keep its claws in shape, this also contributes to the cat getting a training and stretching workout!

4. Have resources readily available

Older cats need to have important resources readily available. Osteoarthritis can make it harder to run up and down stairs and dementia can make it harder for the cat to find the right one. Older cats want all the resources on every floor!

Important resources mean:

  • Cat box – should be easy to get in and out of even for the cat with stiff joints!
  • Food bowl – preferably raised
  • Water bowl
  • Claw tree / board – horizontal and vertical
  • Sleeping place – older cats often prefer soft and warm sleeping places – maybe your cat wants a heating pad?
  • Hiding places – leave the cat alone in these places!
  • Lookout points

Note! It is important for cats to have their own resources, having to share with other cats can easily lead to conflicts!

5. Do not change anything

Older cats are more sensitive to change than younger ones. They prefer that everything in the home looks like it always has! Changes such as refurnishing, painting, purchasing new furniture, etc. can be very stressful for the older cat.

If you need to make changes in your home, consider:

  • doing it gradually
  • using Feliway optimum or classic in the wall socket
  • giving supplements of sedative supplements, such as Aptus relax

Cats also appreciate routines – schedule feeding, toothbrushing, play, etc. and try to do this at about the same time every day!

6. Good oral health

Good oral health is sooo important for cats of all ages, not least for the older cat! There are many dental diseases that affect cats and most cats need professional dental care at the vet at some point in their lives.

Some of the most common problems in the oral cavity are TR, tartar / periodontitis and fractured teeth. All these changes hurt! They often also give rise to a local inflammation and infection that can spread through the blood and affect internal organs.

Poor oral health has been linked to the development of chronic kidney disease.

Tartar can be prevented with toothbrushing. Bad teeth due to TR, periodontitis or fractures need to be operated on!

For measures in the mouth, the cat needs to be anesthetized. Remember to choose a clinic with experience and training in anesthetizing older cats. When dental care, it is always important that the cat is anesthetized with gas anesthesia and that there is access to dental X-rays!

7. Activity and interactions

It is very important that older cats stay active! Older cats need to play and move, just like younger ones!

Schedule many short playtimes with your cat every day. Try it out until you find out exactly how your cat wants to play. Also different types of food puzzles or that the cat gets to go and look up their food keeps it active.

Positive interactions with humans are very important for many older cats. Let your cat take the initiative and give it a lot of cuddles and cuddles when it wants!

Activity and positive interactions prevent dementia and help the cat maintain good mobility, weight and muscle mass.

8. Weight

Keep track of your cat’s weight by weighing your cat every two weeks.

The cat should be of normal importance throughout life to avoid many boring sequelae.

The older cat often loses weight due to illness – the earlier you as the owner can detect and seek help, the better for your cat! If the cat loses weight (without you actively losing weight or having another explanation for the weight loss) contact your veterinarian for an examination. Over 5% weight loss is considered serious. Note that certain diseases, such as hyperthyroidism and diabetes, lead to weight loss despite maintaining or increased appetite!

9. Diet adapted for the senior cat

The older cat is at increased risk of developing diseases such as chronic kidney disease, osteoarthritis and dementia. Antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids are positive in all of these diseases and low phosphate content helps to counteract chronic kidney disease.

It is also important that the older cat is given easily digestible food as the intestine can become worse at absorbing important nutrients.

If possible, it is recommended to give soft food as this partly reduces the risk of dehydration and partly contains lower levels of carbohydrates compared to dry food.

10. Consideration of impaired vision, hearing and smell

It is common for older cats to see worse, hear worse and have a bad sense of smell. These cats can, with the help of you as the owner, nevertheless have an excellent quality of life!

The cat with poor eyesight can easily be surprised and frightened. Therefore, talk to the cat as you approach. If the cat looks very bad, it can be an advantage to become an indoor cat (NOTE! Some cats feel very bad as indoor cats, discuss with your veterinarian what may be suitable for your particular cat!). For the cat with poor eyesight, it can also help to have a light on at night.

Even hearing-impaired cats can easily get scared! Approach the cat from the front or from the side so the cat sees when you arrive. Keep in mind that deaf cats (as well as humans) often make more noises!

It is common for older cats to have a bad sense of smell. This can lead to decreased appetite and the cat losing weight. For these cats, you can try heating the soft food to bring out the aromas better.

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