Grooming is an Essential Part of Being a Cat
As your cat ages, she may no longer have the desire or strength to maintain her coat. Help out by gently brushing her every day. This will help distribute skin oils. It will also feel like a wonderful massage if done correctly. Your older cat’s skin is very sensitive and if she has lost weight, the spine will be sticking out so very gentle when brushing. Grooming your cat is also a time when you can gently examine her body to check for any suspicious lumps.
Maintain Age-and-Health-Appropriate Activity for Your Older Cat
Keep those joints lubricated and muscles toned by encouraging your cat to participate in some degree of play and activity. She may not leap six feet off the ground when chasing a toy but any form of exercise is beneficial.
Make Environmental Changes as Necessary for Your Cat
This may include getting a low-sided litter box to make it easier for an arthritic cat to get in and out as well as increasing the number of boxes. Your cat may not have the bladder control she did as a younger cat so provide more boxes in very convenient locations. Place boxes near where she spends the most time so she doesn’t have far to walk.
You might also have to create an easier way for your cat to get to her favorite elevated perch. A multi-perched cat tree is a good option. If your cat likes to sleep on the bed she may need stairs there to make it easy to go up and down. And speaking of beds, she may appreciate having a heated bed for those cozy cat naps. You can find heated window perches and beds at your local pet product store or online. You can also find pet stairs there as well. If you do get a heated bed make sure your cat is still mobile enough to be able to move away from it. Provide some non-heated options as well.
Minimize Your Cat’s Stress
As we all know, stress can cause havoc with health and as your cat ages she’s less able to deal with the effects of stress. Be aware of potential stressful situations in her environment so you can reduce her exposure. For example, if you’re having lots of company over it might be best to put the senior cat in a separate room where it’s quiet. In a multipet household, be aware of whether your senior cat is becoming the target of aggression or whether she’s getting nosed out of her food bowl or favorite napping areas.
Your Older Cat’s Temperature Intolerance
As cats age they can become more sensitive to temperature changes. If your cat normally loves to sit in the window in order to watch the outdoor activities it may be too drafty there in winter months. Ensure that your cat’s favorite windows are securely sealed to reduce drafts. You can also find heated window perches in several styles. Look for a heated bed that adjusts the temperature back down to room temperature when your cat isn’t on it. For some cats, just being able to curl up in a donut-shaped or pyramid-style bed can be cozy enough and can help retain warmth, and as mentioned previously, if using a heated bed, make sure your cat is mobile enough to be able to move away from it.