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How To Care For An Older Cat


An older cat being cared forOn average you should expect your cat to have an average lifespan of around 15 years. However, some cats can live far beyond this and into their 20's. The age old premise that seven human years equals one cat year is not scientifically proven. A two year old cat is thought to be the equivalent of a 25 year human after that the consensus on guidelines is that one human year is around four cat years. Nevertheless, the basic fact that your cat is going to get older quicker is true and you will need to spot the signs of aging and care for your senior cat's needs and understand your cat’s new behavior patterns as they develop. Once your cat is over the ten year old threshold then your vet may consider your cat to be late middle age to early senior.

The Signs Of An Aging Cat

Spotting a slowing down process in a creature whose specialist subject is, "sleep", could be tough but watch for:

  • Impaired or difficult movement such as, grooming the typical tough to reach zones, jumping, and climbing or descending the stairs. Bear in mind that muscle atrophy in aging is normal but difficulty moving could also be a medical problem, consult your vet
  • Sleeping more that usual
  • Hearing loss, however, this could be down to parasites or infections, have your cat checked by your vet
  • Vision, your cat's eyes could take on a bluish haze as it gets older and your cat may become light sensitive as its iris thins. Vision problems could also be medical conditions so, again a check by the vet is a wise precaution to take
  • Urinating or defecating outside of the litter tray and spraying. Again, the cause for this behavior change could be a medical one, consult your vet
  • Behavior changes, older humans often get grumpy and stress easily, especially if they are in pain, cats will too. Your cat may also become aggressive, fearful or anxious, and may change its sleeping behavior. Your vet will most likely have a solution to help

Tips For Helping Your Senior Cat

Think laterally and keep it simple:

  • Above all else love your cat and give it plenty of attention and mental stimulation. Help your cat with grooming if it needs it; grooming is a great opportunity for an examination
  • Allow your cat peace and quiet and try to limit the access of young children and other animals to your cat
  • It your cat goes outside for elimination, consider putting a litter box inside too. With senior cats, litter boxes with lower sides and perhaps more of them may save a mess or two. If your cat develops an aversion to the litter box, try different types of litter or even newspaper
  • Keep food and water bowls readily accessible, consider changing the food if your cat doesn't seem to be digesting it as well as it used to; there are special formulas available for senior cats
  • Cats are comfort and warmth junkies, senior cats even more so. Provide a warm quiet bed
  • Exercise is important to keep those joints moving but not too much
  • As far as possible, keep to the same routine as your cat is used to
  • Take your cat for regular vet exams and keep your cat's vaccinations up to date. Diseases and problems are better able to be treated if they are caught early
  • When you take vacations, older cats will not cope with being boarded at catteries as well as they used to. Consider getting a friend to look after your cat while you are away.

You can make a huge difference to your cat's senior years and you and your family will benefit from the love that your cat returns to you leaving behind fond memories for that time when you will have to say goodbye.


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