At what age does your kitty become a senior cat?
Modern medicine means that our beloved cats are living longer and better lives than ever before. And with the population of senior cats on the rise, it’s important that as cat parents we learn how to care for them in their golden years.
Here are some of the ways that you can take better care of your kitty as she ages.
At what age is your cat officially a senior cat?
Vets tend to deem your cat as senior when she reaches between 7-10 years of age. Once she’s 10+ years old, you may hear her referred to as ‘geriatric’. In a nutshell, this means that her health needs special consideration.
How can you tell your cat is aging?
Catching the signs of your cat aging can be really difficult. Felines hide their discomfort and disease well because when they were in the wild they were considered both predator and prey – showing signs of weakness meant they were more likely to be preyed upon. This means they do a great job at hiding their aging signs from you.
There are some signs that they can’t hide:
- Weight loss or gain
- Reduction in energy
- Increased sleeping
- Lack of interest in playing (which could signal hidden joint pain)
- Change in appetite
- Decreased vision or hearing
- Changes in hair coat including matting, oil, dandruff, or hair loss
- Changes in behavior including signs of increased anxiety or aggression
- Increased water consumption
- Urinating more
- Litter box issues.
What are some of the best ways to care for your senior cat?
The top things to be aware of when caring for a senior kitty are appropriate nutrition, exercise, pain control, and veterinary care.
The right foods and the right portion sizes are important considerations for your cat’s entire life, but when she’s older the correct nutrition becomes essential for her health and wellbeing. If your cat is overweight she will be at higher risk of type 2 diabetes and arthritis. Senior cats also struggle to digest food, so feeding specialized food for senior cats is really important.
Check out our senior foods for cats here:
Obesity and arthritis are extremely common in older cats, so keeping her moving is an important part of keeping her healthy. Toys enhanced with catnip are a good option for keeping her engaged. Hiding food around the house – preferably in high places so she needs to jump – is also a good way to keep her mind sharp and body trim.
Controlling her pain
It’s not unlikely that your senior cat might be in some pain from arthritis, even if you don’t notice it yourself – as mentioned before they’re clever at hiding their pain. Working with your vet is important to ensure she is comfortable, and there are things you can do at home to help too:
- Provide your cat with a heated bed as this will comfort aching joints
- Switch out your litter box for one with low sides so getting in and out is easier for her