Cats are very independent pets and their daily care is usually very simple. However, the fact that they are so self-sufficient should not confuse us, especially when they are approaching the last stage of their lives. Older cats need specific care 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. A cat is considered old when its age exceeds 14 years. Even so, before reaching that age, many cats are already showing typical signs of old age, such as:
- Joint pain caused by degenerative osteoarthritis, a disease that causes wear and tear 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 cat's habits, increased blood pressure, loss of appetite, sudden changes in weight, and even vomiting and diarrhea.
- Oral diseases such as gum infections or dental fractures (the result of tartar accumulation throughout the cat's life), which cause pain that makes it difficult for them to eat food. Therefore, it is logical that they lose their appetite and stop eating.
- Chronic renal diseases, the result of a deficient diet throughout their life.
- Loss of hearing and vision, naturally caused by aging.
- Alzheimer's disease, a normal neurodegenerative disease in older cats, which causes 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 old cats, no matter how old they are, not to show obvious signs of aging. The reason is to be sought in their imprinting: felines are hunters and predators by nature, and they cannot show themselves to be vulnerable because their own survival instinct drives them not to do so.
Essential care for older cats
1. Comfortable and supportive environment
Older cats often have mobility problems: even if they don't complain visibly, that doesn't mean that their joints don't ache or that they aren't tired. Therefore, the best thing you can do for your elderly cat is to make him as comfortable as possible by removing unnecessary "architectural barriers".
Keep him from having to climb stairs and place his things (food bowl, water bowl, bed and litter box) as close at hand as possible, so that he doesn't have to do a lot of work to move around the house.
Additionally, his sandbox should have low edges to help reduce strain and his mattress should be as ergonomic and comfortable as possible. The balukaDREAM viscoelastic mattress we developed 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 of their lives, such as fruits, vegetables, chocolate, tea, coffee, salt, sugar or milk. These restrictions are accentuated when cats are old.
From this age onwards, soft food for older cats (rich in carbohydrates and lacking in vegetable proteins), animal proteins, probiotics and vitamin supplements for cats are recommended. vitamin supplements for cats such as the one we developed in baluka, which also includes turmeric extract, the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory you can give your cat.
3. Daily brushing
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 you will also be reinforcing the bond between you.
4. Moderate physical exercise
Loss of vitality is an unmistakable sign of aging that manifests itself in the progressive renunciation of physical activity. This can be a more serious problem in overweight cats.
Taking into account the possible joint pains of your cat, do not fail to propose play activities that will keep him active, without involving a great effort for him.
5. Regular veterinary control
At this stage of their life, cats are more prone to develop ailments they have never suffered from before. Consequently, you will have to increase your vigilance over their state of health, as there may be symptoms that you can see and others that your cat, due to its own predatory instinct, may hide from you.
The general recommendation is to establish a frequency of at least two annual visits to the veterinarian to perform general examinations of your cat, facilitate the early detection of diseases and establish a follow-up protocol.
As you have seen throughout the text, older cats need more exhaustive care. Food, exercise, veterinary control, hygiene and comfort will be your best resources to give the best quality of life to your feline friend in the final stage of his life.
Of course, we can not forget that with our viscoelastic mattress for cats balukaDREAM your older cat will have the ideal resting place, with the right pressure on his bones and joints, anti-allergic and anti-fur.