With the right combination of diet, medical support and household changes, you can provide your aging cat with good care and a happy ending to life.
Each phase of your cat’s life, and especially old age, is characterized by individual joys and challenges. From the age of 10, your cat’s body and behavior will change, so you may need to adapt your cat’s living environment, exercise and diet to this last phase of life.
Cats live an average of 15 years, but it can also happen that a cat even lives 20 years – this corresponds to 96 years for humans. From the age of about 11 years you will notice the first external signs of aging in your cat. During this time, their nutritional needs also change.
The right environment for your aging cat
As your cat ages, it can develop joint wear and arthritis. She may not be as mobile as she used to be, may not be able to stand up well, or have difficulty lying down and standing up.
Build ramps or stairways for your aging cat to the higher spots in the house where she likes to be and create extra cozy sleeping places where she can rest. Your cat now needs a litter box with flatter sides to make getting in and out easier.
Her food, litter box, and fresh water should be easily accessible to her so she doesn’t have to put too much strain on her body. For example, you could set up a feeding station and a litter box on every floor of your house. Also, avoid making changes to her routine, as this could exacerbate any cognitive difficulties she may already have.
Proper exercise and care for your aging cat
If the joints are painful or tender, your cat may move less and may not come running willingly when you call her. If she is in pain, she can also resist being picked up. Older cats also often suffer from cognitive impairments that can affect their social behavior.
It’s still important for your cat to keep moving so she doesn’t gain weight. For example, you can get them to play a little with their favorite toys during the day. A positive side effect of playing extensively during the day is also a better sleep cycle.
In old age, cats are no longer so mobile and can no longer clean themselves sufficiently everywhere. Therefore, it is important that you comb them regularly to remove fallen hair and support their skin health.
Her aging cat and her diet
Your cat’s sense of taste and smell deteriorates with age, which can lead to decreased appetite. Older cats often suffer from dental diseases. This can make eating and chewing uncomfortable, which can lead to reduced food intake and eventual weight loss. To prevent this, highly palatable and soft textured foods are a good choice for aging cats as they are easier and more comfortable to eat.
Certain nutrients should be included in your senior cat’s diet to help reduce the signs of aging and delay the onset of age-related diseases:
- Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate and EPA/DHA along with Green Lipped Mussel Extract help improve mobility in aging cats and support joint function
- Antioxidants to support antioxidant capacity
- Reduced phosphorus to support kidney health and function
- Highly digestible protein to aid digestion in adult cats. Beet fiber for a positive prebiotic effect and EPA/DHA to maintain digestive health.
Visiting the vet with your aging cat
From the age of ten, you should visit your veterinarian at least every six months. In this way, possible diseases can be detected at an early stage. You should seek immediate veterinary care if your cat has increased thirst or urination, or has any digestive problems. You should also talk to your veterinarian if you have significant mobility problems, behavior changes, or if you can feel lumps under the skin. Because these can be signs of underlying diseases.
By following these simple tips, you can support your cat’s health as it ages. If in doubt, contact your veterinarian, who will be happy to help and advise you.