Do you have an elderly cat in your home, or know someone who does? Learn how to keep your furry friend comfortable in the last chapters of its life.
A reader of our blog wrote recently, “I have a cat that is 21 years old, and he’s awesome. I’ve had him since he was 5 weeks old. Many of us would like to know about care for older cats. Thank you for all your hard work and for brightening many of my days.”
I’m very happy to talk about this topic. About 16 years ago, my family adopted one of our first cats. He was a birthday surprise for my brother, who named him Persian. Persian loved being outdoors and loved to play. However, he is now an elderly feline who has arthritis and needs a lot of help. For cats, any age above 10 years is considered to be a “senior citizen.” The important thing with an older pet is to help your animal feel comfortable and to keep it as healthy as possible. These days, for example, we often find Persian asleep on top of the dryer, which is his favorite place because of the warmth.
While it is always important to schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian, it becomes especially important when you have an elderly animal. Your veterinarian is able to guide you in matters such as your pet’s diet, weight and overall health. Your animal’s body condition (whether they are at the ideal weight, overweight or underweight) will determine if it needs to be placed on a special diet. If your feline has arthritis, consider moving its food and water bowls, as well as the litter box to a more accessible spot—possibly with few stairs. In addition, you may want to get a litter box with lower sides that are more joint-friendly for your pet. Another good idea for elderly cats is to soften their bedding by adding towels or blankets.
After a lifetime of jumping and landing on their feet, older cats deserve a little downtime!
What do you do to help your older cat?