Cats are very independent pets whose daily care is usually very simple. However, the fact that they are so self-sufficient should not confuse us, especially as they approach the last stage of their lives. Older cats need specific attention that we are going to review in this post.
From what age is a cat considered old?
Domestic cats have an average longevity of about 16 years. An elderly cat is considered when its age exceeds 14 years . Even so, before reaching that age, many cats already show typical signs of old age, such as:
- Joint pain caused by degenerative osteoarthritis, a disease that causes wear of the cartilage that cushions the union of the joint with the bone.
- Hyperthyroidism (excess activity of the thyroid gland), which causes alterations in the habits of the cat, increased blood pressure, loss of appetite, sudden changes in weight, and even vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Oral diseases such as gum infections or dental fractures (the result of an accumulation of tartar throughout life of the cat), which cause pain that makes it difficult for them to eat. Therefore, it is logical that he loses his appetite and stops eating.
- Chronic kidney diseases, the result of a poor diet throughout his life.
- Hearing and vision loss , caused naturally by aging.
- Alzheimer's , a common neurodegenerative disease in older cats, causing severe cognitive dysfunction. It manifests itself in random changes in their character, such as increased irritability, aggressiveness, withdrawal from the owner or changes in sleep patterns.
It is also normal for older cats, no matter how old they are , show no obvious signs of aging. The reason must be found in their imprint: felines are hunters and predators by nature, and they cannot be vulnerable because their own survival instinct drives them not to do so.
Essential care of older cats
1. Comfortable and supportive environment
Older cats often have mobility problems: even if they don't visibly complain, that doesn't mean their joints don't ache or they aren't tired. Therefore, the best thing you can do for your elderly cat is to give him all the comforts you can , removing unnecessary "architectural barriers".
Prevent him from having to climb stairs and place his things (feeder, drinker, litter, and litter box) as close at hand as possible, so you don't have to do a lot of work moving around the house.
In addition, your litter box should have low edges to help reduce effort and your mattress should be as ergonomic and comfortable as possible . The balukaDREAM viscoelastic mattress that we develop at Baluka is designed to help your pet rest.
2. Complete and quality food
Although it seems that they can eat everything, there are certain foods that are not recommended for cats at any time in their lives, such as fruits, vegetables, chocolate, tea, coffee, salt, sugar or milk. These restrictions are accentuated when cats are old.
From this age, soft food is recommended for older cats (rich in carbohydrates and lacking in vegetable proteins), animal proteins , probiotics and vitamin supplements such as the one we developed in baluka, which also includes turmeric extract, the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory you can give your cat.
As it is easy to deduce, with age cats become more reluctant to groom themselves: therefore, they tend to accumulate more hair with the consequent risk of contracting diseases caused by parasites
We recommend that you brush your cat every day: by removing dead fur you will be helping to prevent these possible infections and, in addition, you will be reinforcing the bond that unites you.
4. Moderate physical exercise
The loss of vitality is an unequivocal sign of aging that manifests itself in the progressive renunciation of physical activity. This can be a more serious problem in cats that are overweight.
Taking into account your cat's possible joint pain, be sure to propose play activities that keep him active, without that this supposes a great effort for him.
5. Regular veterinary checkup
At this stage of their life, cats are more prone to developing ailments than they have ever suffered before. Consequently, you will have to increase vigilance over its health status, since there may be symptoms that you can see and others that your cat, due to its own predatory instinct, could hide from you.
The general recommendation is to establish a frequency of two annual visits to the vet, at least, to carry out general examinations of your cat, facilitate the early detection of diseases and establish a follow-up protocol.
As As you have been able to verify throughout the text, older cats need more exhaustive care. Food, exercise, veterinary control, hygiene and comfort will be your best resources to give your feline friend the best quality of life in the final stage of his life.
Of course, we cannot forget that with our viscoelastic mattress for cats balukaDREAM your older cat will have the ideal resting place, with the right pressure on its bones and joints, anti-allergy and anti-hair.