10 Ways to Help Make Your Senior Cat Happy October 12 2017
Did you know that a 12-year-old cat is the equivalent of a 64-year-old human? And like humans in their senior years, many cats will start to "slow down." And, hey, they deserve it! Their golden years should be enjoyed with as much verve and unequivocal sass as The Golden Girls themselves.
And much like the Golden Girls spoiling themselves with a slice of cheesecake (or two) every few episodes, our senior cats deserve to be spoiled.
1. Provide them with extra comfy places to nap.
Although cats aren't nearly as large as humans, they still suffer from the same aging process, and thus they often suffer from the same ailments that we do. Osteoarthritis is common in older cats and can lead to decreased mobility and make lying on tile or hard surfaces uncomfortable, even painful. Providing your cat with plenty of soft, comfortable orthopedic beds can help ease joint pain and lead to more restful and comfortable sleep.
2. Spend some extra time and attention on grooming.
Arthritic joints (especially in the spine and tail region) can prevent your cat from properly grooming themselves. Cats are normally fastidious groomers who like to keep their fur clean and tidy and even use grooming as a form of self-soothing and easing stress. So gently brushing your cat's fur will not only help keep your senior's fur shiny and full of that same old luster, but it is a great way to spend some quality time with them as well.
3. Provide stimulating fun and games.
Keeping your aging cat active can help keep them fit and healthy. While you don't want to play too rough with them, don't forget that senior cats are often still as ready to play as they were when they were a kitten! In fact, they might even be bored. Try giving them some new toys to pique their interest. And don't forget the benefits of "brain games" — use food puzzles to keep her body moving and her mind active.
4. Give them a step up.
Help your cat become Stair master / Ramp champ! Cats, like humans, can develop painful arthritis. Install a set of stairs to their favorite sleeping spots that happen to be high up - like your bed or maybe a cat perch they love - to ease the strain and stress on your cat's sensitive joints and bones.
5. Consider raising their food bowls.
If you notice that your cat is struggling to bend down and eat from their normal, flat food bowls, consider giving them easier access to the dishes by getting a raised or elevated feeding platform or tall bowl.
Speaking of food, as your cat ages, their bodies and needs change, just like humans. Various specialized cat foods designed to fit the dietary needs of senior cats are available, but you should consult your vet before switching foods. Based on your cat's individual needs (such as chronic conditions), they may benefit from supplements. Again, it is important to check with your vet!
7. Increased Veterinary Care
Cats are notoriously skilled at hiding illnesses. But there are a few common issues that senior cats are prone to developing, such as kidney issues, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism. Increased visits to the vet can help catch any signs or symptoms ahead of time. It is suggested that senior cats should visit the vet every 6 months.
8. Make their litter box more accessible
If you notice your older cat struggling to get in and out of a high-sided litter box, it might be time to consider lowering the barriers. If your cat doesn't feel comfortable or struggles to get into the litter box, they might start eliminating outside the box (which no one wants, not even your cat!) You might even consider adding additional litter boxes around the house to really spoil your golden-aged feline.
9. Install a nightlight.
House cats are crepuscular, which is why they like to prowl around in the late-night hours while the rest of the house is sleeping. But as your cat ages, their "night vision" might be less effective. By plugging in a nightlight, your senior kitty can safely and confidently navigate the house at night.
10. Keep to a regular routine.
Cats thrive on routine: especially senior cats, who, in addition to decreased mobility, may also be losing their vision and hearing. This can cause your cat to feel insecure in her ability to navigate her environment. By maintaining a consistent schedule of feeding and playtime, you can help her feel safer and more comfortable in her environment.