With the right care and nutrition, our beloved cats can have a lifespan of over 12 years, with an average cat lifespan of about 14 years. In fact, the oldest may be over 30! That’s so many more extra years to love and care for our favourite felines.
But as they grow older, their needs also change. Special considerations need to be made in order to make their lives easier and happier.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to do to care for senior cats and how you can enjoy your remaining years with them!
Ageing in Cats
So what exactly does ageing look like in cats? Much like with humans or other animals, senior cats experience many physical and behavioural changes.
The main physiological changes they will experience include:
Reduced ability to smell or taste
Reduced ability to digest fat and protein
Reduced Immune function and skin elasticity
Less stress tolerant
You may also notice changes in cat behaviours like your cat hunting, playing and grooming less, and generally spending less time being active. They may also sleep for longer and longer periods. Your cat may also become more dependent on you as they reach this stage in their lives.
With these changes in mind, how should you care for an elderly cat?
Caring for Senior Cats
One of the most important aspects of caring for a senior cat involves maintaining their diet. Even though your cat may have less appetite than before, their bodies still require a good amount of food.
In order to encourage your cat to eat more, you can try:
Generally speaking, wet food tends to be more appealing for your cat.
Offering them several small meals throughout the day (e.g. 4-6 meals a day)
Provide room temperature or gently warmed food
Experiment with different types of food (especially in terms of food texture)
Raise the food bowl slightly for easier access
Sit with your cat while they eat, petting them and encouraging them or assist them to do so.
Aside from the above, you can also consider a switch to more biologically appropriate diets like Schesir’s Senior Wet Cat Food. These types of diets are specially formulated for your cat’s needs and will help ensure they’re getting the right nutrition.
Senior cats have a higher chance of becoming dehydrated, so make sure to provide as many water bowls around the house as you can. Your cat should always have access to clean water.
You can also add small amounts of water to your cat’s food to provide additional hydration. Much like with their food bowls, raising your cat’s water bowl can help make drinking water a more comfortable experience for your cat! If you’re looking for a hassle-free way to achieve this, try using PetKit’s Fresh Nano Double Cat Feeding Bowl!
To help your cat maintain their health, you can also make use of cat supplements. Supplements are great ways to add additional nutritional support to your cat’s diet and can be very useful for cats with specific nutritional needs as well.
If your cat is experiencing more joint pain or discomfort, joint supplements like NaturVet’s ArthriSoothe Soft Chews can help your cat greatly. In particular, this supplement helps maintain joint flexibility and lubricates your cat’s joints to alleviate the aches and discomforts of old age.
As our cats grow older, they also become less efficient at grooming and may not be able to retract their claws effectively. As a result, they could get caught in furniture or be unable to clean up any discharge or dirt on their fur.
To help your cat feel cleaner and more comfortable, make sure to regularly trim your cat’s nails and groom their fur. Use a slightly moist cotton wool to wipe any discharge around your cat’s eyes, nose or anus. You could also use a soft brush to gently brush their fur. Make sure to be extra gentle as senior cats have less padding over their bones!
Regular Health Checkups
Older cats are more susceptible to different illnesses, so it’s absolutely vital to bring your cat to the vet more often as they grow older. With advancements in medicine, many cat illnesses can be managed and cured if spotted early. These checkups can also help prevent any further issues from occurring.
If your spot any of the following signs in your cat, you should probably send them to a vet just to be safe:
Loss of appetite/Weight loss
Drinking more often or a larger amount
Stiffness, lameness, having difficulty jumping or balancing
Lumps or bumps around the body
Toilet accidents or constipation
Disorientation or any distress
Uncharacteristic behaviour like aggressiveness or excessive vocalisations
There’s so many more products and tips that will be useful for your senior cat. However, with the amount of information and options available, it can be hard to make the right choice. Thankfully, Curious Cat People’s Kitten & Senior Club might be exactly what you’re looking for!
Through the KSC, cats over 8 years old can get an additional 5% off on any kitten or senior products purchased on CCP. For finicky cats, having this discount can be a lifesaver as it’ll allow you to experiment with different senior cat products more effectively!
You can sign up through the like above, and don't hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions.
Tammi is an avid writer, but especially loves learning and writing about animals! She spends her free time visiting cat cafes, playing video games and having plenty of cuddle time with her pup.