Health Care for Older Cats

It may be hard for a pet owner to notice a pet cat getting older. On the outside, cats may show the same things as when younger – playing with toys around the home, taking naps sprawled out on a favorite spot inside the home, or snuggling up with you on the sofa. But on the inside, it might be a whole different thing, and caring for older cats may be different as well.

When do Cats Start Aging?

When caring for an aging cat, there are things a concerned pet owner should know about. When a cat approaches somewhere between the ages of eight and twelve years, this is the equivalent of a human being approaching middle age. This will be the time your pet cat may start needing a bit of extra attention.

Most veterinarians generally estimate that cats start their geriatric years when they reach twelve years. This will be the time that caring for your cat would have to change to accommodate their aging needs.

Dietary Needs for an Aging Cat

Obviously, a major part of caring for older cats involves feeding them and their dietary needs. As cats get older, their digestive systems do not function as efficiently as before. Aging cats may need to eat smaller and easily digestible meals throughout the day rather than just two square meals. Also be sure to feed your cat a variety of food to ensure it is getting a well balanced diet.

There are a number of cat foods now available for the different life stages of your cat. For aging cats, there are cat foods specially formulated based upon their age, as well as for the less active cats. The best advice in feeding your aging cat would be to ask your vet about the nutritional needs of your cat.

Physical Activity of Aging Cats

When cats age, they also start to lead a less active lifestyle. Whereas cats enjoy playing around and hunting during their younger years, older cats seem to prefer spending more time quietly around the home. This would be a benefit for some pet owners since they no longer have to worry about their once playful cat overturning and breaking things around the house. But this sedentary lifestyle would not be good for the cat. Even though your older pet cat would enjoy lounging all day, you may still need to encourage him to be active since the exercise will help keep him healthy.

Vaccinations for Older Cats

As they age, it’s important to keep your cat’s vaccinations up-to-date. Typically, older cats have a less efficient immune system than their younger counterparts. Keeping their vaccinations current will help protect them from common cat diseases.

Dental Issues with Aging Cats

Dental problems may also become a concern for older cats. As they age, cats will be more prone to having loose teeth, tartar buildup, and sore gums. Besides being uncomfortable for your cat, this also has a big effect on your cat’s well-being. Dental problems may be the reason why they are not eating well. A regular dental check up might be needed as part of health care for old cats.

Aging Cats Still Need Human Loving

Just because your aging cat may not have as much spunk and energy as they did when they were kittens, doesn’t mean they don’t have many more happy years ahead of them. With the right attention to their diet, exercise and health needs, a conscientious pet owner can still provide the appropriate health care and love to their aging feline!



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