5 Ways to Help Your Cat Age Gracefully

See how to help your senior cat enter her golden years with ease.

By Erika Sorocco

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Playtime keeps senior cats young at heart.
When she was a kitten, you showered your cat with toys to provide extra stimulation and excitement. During her prime years, you changed your cat's food to give her the right nutrition for her current stage of life. Now, in the midst of her golden years, you want your cat to age as gracefully as possible, while still remaining comfortable. The following tips will show you how to let your senior cat do just that.

Find out how old your cat is in human years.
 
1. Grooming: During their senior years, cats often slow down on grooming due to arthritis or exhaustion. This makes them feel uncomfortable; cats are meticulous animals and like to feel clean. Take time each day grooming your cat – brushing through mats, and trimming nails – to make her feel good about herself.

“If a cat has decreased her grooming behavior, wiping her with a damp cloth can help stimulate grooming,” says Keisha Hayward, DVM at Falls Road Animal Hospital in Baltimore, Md. “Families should also assist with grooming difficult to reach areas around the rear and underside if the cat can no longer groom these areas.”

2. Playtime: It may seem like your cat spends countless hours sleeping, and would rather relax than play like a kitten, but the opposite is true. Even in their older years, cats require exercise and mental stimulation that playtime offers. Buy cat toys and treats, and offer at least 15 minutes a day of playtime to your cat. That lets your cat interact and bond with you. Playtime will keep her young at heart, regardless of age.

3. House Calls: In general, cats hate going to the vet. As cats age, they grow more perturbed by these interruptions of their day-to-day lives. Nevertheless, regular veterinary visits are necessary to maintain your cat's health; therefore, find a vet who can make house calls, to ensure the utmost comfort for your aging cat.

“I do a great number of house calls, and find that most senior cats do much better at home than at the veterinary clinic,” says Chantal J. Mullins, DVM at Godspeed Animal Care in Williamsburg, Va.

4. Water Consumption: Water consumption is one of the key factors in helping your cat to age gracefully. Aging cats can become dehydrated, forgetting to drink. As the owner, you must make a multitude of water sources available to your cat, to make sure that she consumes enough each day.

“Encouraging water consumption may keep older kidneys well-flushed, so using multiple water sources near and far-away from food bowls, as well as motion-based water sources like fountains may encourage better drinking habits by making them more attractive and increasing palatability,” says Randon D. Feinsod, DVM and Owner/Operator of Ani-Care Animal Hospital in Dallastown, Pa.

5. T.L.C.: When all is said and done, one of the best ways to help your cat age gracefully is simply to shower her with a little tender loving care. No matter how old your cat gets, she enjoys your company, your presence and your adoration. Keep all of the above in high supply.

With the proper knowledge, ensuring that your cat ages gracefully is an enjoyable task that will make the bond between the two of you stronger.
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Reader Comments

Joy    Rosemount, MN

10/10/2012 2:34:27 PM

This really helped! Thank you so much. ^_^

CatChannelEditor    Irvine, CA

8/2/2012 9:15:55 AM

Thanks, Tammy! We hope your share will let more folks get a chance to hear tips about keeping senior cats healthy.

Tammy    Bloomington, IN

8/1/2012 2:37:38 AM

I just poked the like button and said I liked it, it's good advice.

Deb    Burlington, IA

7/30/2012 3:59:52 PM

Thanks! Your tips are helpful!

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