For many of us, cats provide priceless friendship, making our home complete and warm. Isn’t it great to have a sweet little kitty welcoming you at the front door after a hard day’s work? Most cat owners would vouch for this. However, owning a cat brings with it many responsibilities, especially when they start aging. It is no wonder, then, that you see so many old cats abandoned or neglected. Aging cats, just like us, go through various old age related conditions. Deafness, blindness and senility are just some of them. Old age also brings painful bones, arthritis, kidney and liver malfunction, thyroid concerns and cancer. It is therefore important for you to take care of your aging cat with loads of love and careful nurturing in its twilight years. You must take care of them just as you would take care of an older member of the family. Here are a few tips on caring for elderly cats.
How To Care For An Older Cat
The digestive system of an older cat is more sensitive to certain kinds of food. It is also slower and less able to metabolize nutrients and proteins. It is therefore a good idea to give your cat smaller and more regular meals throughout the day instead of just two big meals a day. You could also make its food a little softer than usual for easier chewing. You also need to see that it gets its daily dose of nutrition in its diet. Nevertheless, while making this transition, do it gradually over a period of one week. In this way your kitty won’t have to suffer from intestinal upsets and diarrhea.
Eating And Nourishment Issues
Older cats are prone to losing weight due to inconsistent eating patterns. They might eat less or be generally disinterested in food. If you notice such tendencies, it is time you took it to the vet. Besides weight loss, it is imperative for you to look out for other signs of nutrition deficiency in the kitty’s system such as a thin dull coat, extreme shedding, queasiness, diarrhea, bad breath and yellow teeth. All these are warning signs that something is wrong. The problem could be intestinal, dental or something more grave. It is thus a good idea to head straight to the vet before a small problem becomes much bigger! If your cat has difficulty with its bowels, you can try giving it soft oatmeal, pureed potatoes, well cooked rice and the like.
As your pet cat grows older, both its agility and energy levels decrease. All cats are known to be excellent self groomers. However, an older one might need your assistance in keeping itself tidy and clean. This is especially true when the cat is unable to reach over and groom its hind quarters. You could help it by using a gentle brush to detangle its matted hair. There are instances of feces matting up the hair, and it is important to take care of that problem as well. You can also give the old puss a warm refreshing bath with a gentle soap. This will enliven it greatly and it will always be happy to have these sessions. For all you know it might even show its appreciation by rubbing its body against your legs and arms!
An older cat’s senses and impulses can become dull with age. Its eyesight and hearing may decline a bit and because of this you need to keep an eye on its response to stimuli. As a result, there are chances it will bump more into things, indicating poor vision. With such impediments you should take extra care of your cat. Make sure that it always knows where the litter box is. Do not suddenly or drastically change its food and water bowl positions, nor that of its litter box. It can be very puzzling for the cat not to find them all in their usual places. It is also important to care for it properly during outdoor trips. With bad hearing and vision, your old cat might just end up hurting itself.
The Final Farewell
There will be times when in spite of all your efforts, love, care and affection, your old friend is no longer enjoying life. It will have stopped eating and lost interest in its environs. There are chances it is in pain due to illnesses you are not even aware of. This will make it very irritable. More often than not, at this point, you would have no recourse left to any more treatments. When things reach this sad frustrating state, you have little choice but to come to terms with the fact that it is time to say good-bye. This is always very heartbreaking for most of you who love your pet dearly. However, it is important to remember that by putting it to sleep, you are only ending its pain. The kindest thing you can do is to liberate it from its hopeless state. Euthanasia is swift and gentle. You are now free to mull over taking in a new cat that will enjoy the love and attention you can heap on him.