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How to Care for Your Senior Cat

How to Care for Your Senior CatWhen you adopt a kitten the last thing you think about is them becoming a senior cat, but it will eventually happen. As that time draws near, it’s important for you to be ready to take care of them. There are a few special ways you can do so.

Watch for Changes in Your Cat’s Habits

Cats do a great job of hiding the fact that they’re sick. Since signs are subtle and easy to miss, any difference in behavior (e.g. sleeping more, hiding) is something you should mention to your veterinarian since you know your cat best.

Watch for Changes in Weight

It’s challenging to notice a gradual change in your cat’s weight. However, when you notice either weight gain or an unplanned weight loss you should tell your veterinarian. A gain could result in a chronic disease that shortens your cat’s life span. On the other hand, a weight loss typically means there’s something wrong such as hyperthyroidism, intestinal disease, or diabetes.

Watch Their Litter Box

There’s a lot that your cat’s litter box can tell you about. Since you should be scooping the litter box more frequently to keep up with your cat’s increased urine output, these are things you should be able to easily notice and bring to the attention of your veterinarian.

Missing the litter box or having accidents around the house could be a sign that there’s an underlying medical issue. These could include:

  • Difficulty getting into the litter box due to muscle weakness
  • The litter box being in a “bad” place (e.g. having to traverse stairs)
  • Being frightened by too much noise or by other pets may cause your elderly cat not to use the litter box if it’s not in a secluded location
  • Your cat’s paws change as they grow older so you’ll want to make sure that the litter you use is gentle on them

Besides missing the litter box, your elderly cat may also suffer from:

  • Increased urine output is often a sign of urinary infections, but it could be a sign of diabetes, an over active thyroid gland, kidney disease, or high blood pressure
  • Constipation or not defecating daily due to dehydration
  • Stools that are softer, harder, or a different color

Watch how Much Your cat is Eating

It can be challenging to know how much your cat is eating if you have multiple cats in your home. However, you need to know if your elderly cat is eating less than normal so your veterinarian can intervene if there’s an issue. This could be a sign of a chronic disease, which if caught early enough could be easily treated.

Understand They’re Doing More Than “Slowing Down”

With age comes things like arthritis and degenerative joint disease – things your veterinarian will notice, but you may not. This is why you should develop a close relationship with Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Care Center. Routine visits coupled with both mental and physical stimulation while at home will help your cat enjoy the remainder of their lives with you.

Picture Credit: Save-A-Pet Adoption

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