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Elder cat care

How to Care for Old Cat:

Elderly cat care is almost like caring for an older person and cats require routine checkups with the veterinarian and will have to undergo complete blood and thyroid tests.

Most cats are prone to an overactive thyroid and if the onset of disease is detected early enough, they can be treated successfully before it leads to the development of heart problems. Older cats are susceptible to degenerative joint disease and arthritis. They become less energetic and may find it difficult to climb up and down stairs, to jump up on couches or even get in and out of their litter box.

Older cat care involves carefully monitoring and substituting items in their diet to suit their changing needs. As cats age, they begin to lose their sense of smell and can become very picky eaters. It is important to not change their dish or the place that they eat at as it may upset it and put it off its food.

Old cats are averse to drinking water and they are susceptible to dehydration due to fatigue, stress or hot weather conditions. Even when provided with water bowls all over the house, they may be resistant to drinking water. One way to solve this problem is to make sure the cat gets wet food rather than dry as this will contribute to its daily intake of water. Senior cat food is available in the markets and these are often fortified with vitamins and minerals to fight possible infections and to keep the joints healthy. When switching to this diet, start slow by mixing small quantities of the new food with the old diet and slowly increase the amount till you switch completely to the new food. Elder cat care also involves home cooking the cat’s food if it is not used to store bought cat food. A lot of pet owners feed their elderly cats homemade diets. Since older cats tend to lose teeth as they age, the bones can be avoided while cooking their meal.

Elderly cat care also involves grooming as the once fastidious animal may not be capable of doing so as frequently. General debility and arthritis may slow them down and they may require a weekly bath and daily grooming with a soft brush. Daily brushing will stimulate the skin and encourage blood circulation while maintaining a healthy coat. As they grow older, cat claws become brittle and may be painful. A fingernail clipper can prevent the onset of any painful ulcers.

  Submitted on May 7, 2010