Friday, 1 February 2013

How to Care for an Elderly Cat

As cats get older they often slow down and spend more time sleeping.

It is important to watch your cat carefully for any signs of pain, as arthritis is a common cause of inactivity in older cats.

How to Care for an Elderly Cat
  1. Build ramps or stairs - Older cats are less active and have trouble reaching things, so build ramps or buy pet stairs to help Kitty onto his favourite chair or windowsill.
  2. Schedule checkups - Schedule veterinary checkups every 6 months. Tip: Ask your vet whether you should change your aging kitty's diet. For instance, some older cats do better on a diet of canned food.
  3. Keep cat away from drafts. Make sure eating, sleeping, and litter areas are in cozy spots throughout the home, far from any drafts. Older cats feel the cold more easily than youngsters.
  4. Groom cat - Self-grooming habits may take a hit as your kitty's joints become stiff. Remove loose hair and stimulate circulation by brushing or combing your cat once a week. Tip: Approach a cat with hearing problems from the front to avoid startling him.
  5. Keep fresh water within reach - Kidney function often declines in an older cat. Keep fresh water within easy reach. Tip: If your cat seems to drink and urinate much more than usual, schedule a vet appointment. Kidney medication can be very helpful.
  6. Keep cats indoors - Be extra vigilant about keeping older cats indoors — the sad truth is that some older cats go out and don't come back.
  7. Give him attention - Though your cat may not be as frisky or playful as they once were, they need your love just as much as ever. Take time to give them extra attention — and lift him onto your lap for a cuddle if he can't jump as well these days.
Sometimes older cats become less willing to go outside. This may be because they are being bullied by other cats and have become too old or frail to feel safe. Older cats may also need to toilet more often because of conditions such as kidney failure. For these reasons, you may need to introduce a litter box to prevent accidents inside. This should be placed away from food bowls, and in a quiet location away from lots of foot traffic.

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