As your cat gets older, you’ll notice that it needs a little extra TLC. Here are 7 ways to care for your ageing cat.
- Schedule regular check-ups with the vet. It’s best to keep the same specialist over the years, who will be familiar with your cat and be able to pick up any changes in its health. Experts recommend visiting the vet
every six months, even if your cat appears to be healthy.
- Keep an eye on their weight. Any weight gain or loss, however subtle, is cause for concern in older cats and requires a visit to the vet. If a cat gains weight, it could be a sign of a chronic disease and could lead to a shortened life span; if your feline loses weight, this could be a sign of hyperthyroidism, intestinal disease, or diabetes – and weight loss can occur even with an increased appetite.
- As they get older cats’ nutritional needs change, so you might need to alter their food slightly. Discuss this with your specialist; you may need to add more protein or particular vitamins. Also take note of and let
your vet know if your cat is eating less so that the right type of food can be recommended to replace those vitamins they no longer get from eating less.
- Pay attention to the changes in behaviour and habits, however small. For example, if you notice your furry friend is sleeping more, or their bowel movement has changed, or they vomit, make an appointment with the vet. Slowing down is also a sign of pain or discomfort, so create a cosy environment for them by supplying extra cushions and bedding.
- Constipation or a change in the colour of their faeces can be a sign of dehydration. Keep an eye on the litter box too; more urination could signal illnesses like diabetes, an overactive thyroid gland, kidney disease or high blood pressure.
- If your cat starts to miss the litter box and has ‘accidents’ around the house, there may be a medical issue causing your cat to house-soil. Urinary infections, constipation, arthritis, and muscle weakness are a few
of the reasons an older cat can develop litter box issues.
- Lastly, just cuddle them as much as you can. At this age your feline friend needs as much love as possible, so make sure you spend enough time with your cat, continuing to bond in their last days.
COMPILED BY NOLWAZI DHLAMINI PHOTO: FOTOLIA.COM
The advice contained here is strictly for informational purposes. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Always consult your vet or animal behaviourist for specific information regarding your pets.