They might be getting old and grey, they might be slowing down and sleeping more, but our senior pets are still full of love for us. Even the most energetic and playful kittens will eventually turn into wise mini-panthers or venerable floofs. The chilly time of the year has officially begun and we wanted to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, dear Readers. So Bored Panda collected the most wholesome and blessed photos of senior cats for you to hug through the screen. Scroll down, remember to pet your favorite elderly cats with an upvote, and share photos of your own cats in the comment section below.
“Senior cats certainly require special accommodations. They need more frequent vet visits to manage chronic illness for one thing. Cats are silent sufferers and mask their illness so routine veterinary care is paramount,” cat behaviorist Ingrid Johnson told Bored Panda. Read on for the rest of Ingrid’s advice on how to take care of elderly cats.
And don’t worry, dog lovers, we haven’t forgotten about you. When you’re done enjoying this list, have a look through our earlier post about adorable senior dogs right here.
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Cat behaviorist Ingrid explained that older cats need easy access to food, water, and their litter; they also need soft, warm bedding.
“This means ensuring that you have resources placed in all of the areas where your senior citizen spends time. The last thing you want to do is have a litter box in the basement of a three-story home knowing your cat spends most of their time on the top floor in the bedroom,” the expert said, pointing out that not keeping litter boxes close by might lead to some icky ‘surprises’ on the carpet.
“Would you want to walk down two flights of stairs to go to the bathroom when you are 90? No! You would not!” Ingrid pointed out that we should set our senior cats up for success, instead of making life difficult for them.
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Senior cats need to use ‘the facilities’ more often and have larger volumes of waste to get rid of, so it might be a good idea to have multiple litter boxes for them to use. You should also strive to keep the boxes immaculately clean: this way, they’ll avoid stepping in urine clumps while navigating the box.
“It can be challenging for senior cats to navigate cat litter if they are arthritic. How many 85-year-old humans walk the beach for fun? Walking on sand is tough! Many cats start developing signs of arthritis between the ages of 10-12 years, so preventative joint care is key and this helps keep them being able to use their litter box!” cat behaviorist Ingrid said.
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According to Ingrid, there are lots of ways to help out your senior cats. For example, arthritis is often under-diagnosed and under-treated in cats, so scratch ramps are a way to help cats keep limber.
Meanwhile, environmental enrichment and optimizing a healthy mind can lessen cognitive dysfunction and senility in older cats. What’s more, foraging toys and food puzzles can be a good way to keep your cat’s brain healthy.
“Foraging for food keeps cats fit and engaged, it is close to letting a mouse loose in the house as you can get!” the cat behaviorist said. You can find more info about challenging your cat with food puzzles right here.
“Last but not least, offer warmth! A heated bed, easy access to sunny spots, etc. Seniors often have kidney disease. The kidneys help regulate body temperature, so these seniors tend to be cold. Offer warmth!” Ingrid stressed.
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Vet visits become more and more frequent when your cat gets older because new illnesses or hereditary issues will be popping up as the animal’s body wears down. However, even if your catto seems fine, it’s still important to go for regular check-ups at the vet around every 6 months. Better safe than sorry!
According to Cat Friendly, cats can be very subtle and sneaky when it comes to hiding their illnesses. So you have to keep a keen eye out for any unusual changes in their behavior, appetite, and mood.
Even if you think they might be small enough to ignore or not bother your vet with. The biggest indication that something’s wrong is when your cat’s weight changes drastically. The same applies to practically any pet and human being, too.
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Meanwhile, Cats Protection explains that elderly cats need extra care and attention from their owners to ensure that they spend their twilight years comfortably. So older cats really do need more warmth and extra soft bedding.
What’s more, they might have difficulty getting to high places in their senior years, so consider providing stools, ramps, or ladders leading up to their favorite napping spots. Or you can keep picking your cat up and placing it where it wants to go. We’re sure your cat won’t mind that.
Older cats can also have difficulty looking after their coats. So to keep them gleaming and neat, spend some more time grooming them. It’s a win-win situation: your cat’s coat will look nicer, you’ll spend more quality time together bonding, and you’ll reduce your stress levels while you’re stroking your cat. No matter their age, cats deserve care from their owners to keep the happy days coming.