The life span of a cat is defined by stages depending on its age. Cats are commonly referred to as ‘senior’ once they reach ten years of age. When your cat nears the senior stage of their life, it’s time to start paying attention to their behaviour and be on the lookout for signs you may need to adapt the care they receive to better suit their changing needs.
Eating & drinking
As cats age they don’t absorb food as well, so making sure your cat is eating and drinking enough is a big part of caring for a senior cat. Smaller, more frequent meals may be necessary, and easy access to clean, fresh drinking water. You may need to change their diet to help with their nutritional needs. We can provide advice on the types of food that would be best for your cat.
Play has many benefits for older cats and is just as important in their senior years as it was when they were younger. Older cats may move around more slowly, but play can help improve muscle tone and blood circulation. Experiment with different toys to find one that your cat can engage with in a way that’s compatible with their physical ability.
Aging cats will tend to sleep more, which is funny because we all know that cats like to sleep anyway! Take note of any changes in their sleeping patterns, make sure they can reach their bed easily and that it’s in a warm, draught-free place.
You may notice “cat naps” start to become more frequent than usual
Jumping and climbing may start to become more difficult should your cat start to suffer from achy joints or stiffness. If your cat likes to sit on your lap or curl up on the sofa, you can make it easier for them to climb up to their happy place by building steps from cardboard boxes, books, timber, or other sturdy items around the house.
Additional health problems can start to develop as cats age. Giving them a regular health check every six months means we can detect problems earlier and start any necessary care or treatment sooner.
Dental disease is a painful degenerative condition. While we recommend dental care starts early in life, it’s vital as they age. If your cat has not had a dental check-up in over a year, please schedule an appointment.
It’s not always obvious that your cat is slowing down with age; so watch for any signs of change to the way they normally do things and mention these changes to us at your next visit. It helps us to assess what should be done so your cat can continue living a quality life.