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Caring for Senior Cats April 4, 2014

Much like people, cats experience many physical and behavioral changes throughout the aging process. As your feline begins to age, it is more important than ever to provide her with loving, attentive care. Below are some ways that you can help your senior cat age gracefully:

Evaluate the health of your cat’s coat and skin.

Because senior cats often groom themselves less than young cats, daily brushing and grooming is recommended, as this reduces the amount of loose hairs that may cause matting or hairballs. Brushing your cat daily also increases blood circulation to the skin.

Adjust your cat’s diet as necessary.

Some cats become obese as they age, while others suffer from malnutrition. It’s important to be aware of any significant changes in your cat’s body weight, which may indicate the need for a dietary change. Many veterinarians recommend a diet mixed with premium dry and wet cat foods. Wet cat foods provide a diet high in moisture, meat protein and fats, which are essential for thriving cats, while dry cat foods help maintain clean teeth and reduce the risk of gum disease. Your trusted veterinarian can recommend certain brands to maintain the health of your cat.

Provide regular exercise.

Regular exercise can help your cat maintain a healthy body weight and lean muscle mass. If you notice that your cat quickly becomes tired or displays labored breathing, it is important to seek guidance from your veterinarian.

Reduce in-home stressors.

Because senior cats are much less adaptable to new circumstances, it is important to provide a consistent and comfortable environment. New pet additions are not recommended, as this can cause excess stress. When planning for a vacation, experts recommend arranging for a familiar friend, relative, or neighbor to care for your beloved cat, rather than relying on a boarding facility.

Risk Factors for Senior Cats

When observing your cat, there are certain risk factors that you should be aware of, including:

  • Decreased liquid intake, which can lead to dehydration.
  • Decreased interest in food, which can indicate more serious conditions.
  • Haziness of the eyes, which may indicate severe illnesses that affect eyesight.
  • Altered personality or loss of memory.
  • Decreased immune function, which is often the result of chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, cancer, hyperthyroidism, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Be alert to any changes in your cat’s behavior, and report any unusual symptoms to your vet.

Planning Ahead for Your Senior Cat

Planning end-of-life decisions is just as important for a beloved cat as it is for a human. At Paws, Whiskers & Wags, we urge to you consider the options available for your beloved cat. Speak to our caring, 24 hour staff about pet cremation options for your cat by calling (404) 609-1072, or visit our state-of-the-art facility in Decatur, GA.