Kitty’s Golden Years: How to Take Care of Your Aging Cat

Is your cat growing old gracefully? Here’s how you could show him or her some TLC!

As we humans grow older, our bodies change and so do our needs. Most living things go through this process of degeneration, and cats are no exception. As they age, cats become more vulnerable to illnesses and more prone to accidents, just like their senior human companions. Because of the aging cats’ decreased and hampered mobility, they become more at risk of weight gain, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, dental issues, behavioral problems, and even cancer.

However, one of the differences with humans is that cats age much faster. A human year, they say, is equivalent to 7 cat years. That’s not entirely true, but how did you know when your cat has reached his or her senior years?

Here are some signs to watch out for: a few gray patches on her chin, clouded eyes, and a hint of slowness to her once frisky gait.

Aging can cause a lot of changes to your cat, physically and mentally. Hence, as a cat parent, you would have to adjust her needs to those changes accordingly. Many cat owners are in denial that their cats are aging, but being a supportive cat parent and being with them through this new phase in their life could help them live a more comfortable life longer and prevent diseases from setting.

Here are some of the most common issues that senior cats face:

1. Bladder Issues

Just like in humans, incontinence is also an issue that comes with aging. You may begin to notice your cat losing weight and drinking more water than usual. Hence, they would frequent their litter box more than usual. This could be a sign of bladder problems.

To help avoid these issues, include cranberries and celery seeds in his or her diet to help prevent urinary infections and issues.

2. Weight Gain and Loss

Weight fluctuation is common in aging cats because of different factors: decreased mobility, less exercise, and slower metabolism. Hence, they need an adjustment in their diet and activities.

To prevent obesity, you may encourage play through interactive toys, or regular walks with your cat on a leash.

3. Hairballs

If your cat was once a compulsive groomer, once he or she gets old, you may start to notice that they are less interested on grooming themselves as much as before. This could result in more shedding, and eventually, hairballs. These might seem normal, but they are actually dangerous if left unattended.
Consider giving your aging cats a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids to help with your cat’s coat. It is also a good idea to add more fiber into his or her diet to improve motility and the elimination of hairballs in his or her system.

When your cat reaches his or her “golden” years, you should also start making regular physical check-ups on him or her. Check for lumps and bumps, and take your beloved kitty to the vet every 6 months for a more thorough check up.

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