Fram & Sax News & Cat Care February 2017
01 February 2017
We love to chat with people about their much loved cats and are often amazed at the great ages to which these felines live. It is a testament to much improved diets, modern veterinary care and the love and affection cats get that they are now living much longer than once they did.
As cats enter their later lives they do need a little extra consideration and TLC to take account of their changing lives. Cats are generally considered geriatric from around 12 years of age and there are lots of simple steps which will ensure their latter years are comfortable and happy.
As with humans, felines go through various ageing processes. Activity levels decrease and muscle tone reduces. Appetite and fluid intake may change, vision and hearing become less acute and bowel and urinary functions may alter. The immune system may weaken. Light sleep may increase but deep sleep decrease. Coat condition may deteriorate. Arthritis, diabetes, hyperthyroidism or renal problems may develop. Also, psychological and behavioural changes can occur, such as senility, aggression, increased dependence or excessive vocalisation.
All of the above are part of the 'natural' process of ageing, but your vet is on hand to help. It is important that an older cat is taken to the vet regularly, more often than a younger, healthier cat to ensure they are not suffering or in hidden pain. There are many treatments available for the majority of age related ailments. Discuss any concerns you have with your vet as soon as possible to ensure your cat enjoys its golden years free from too much discomfort.
There are also many things you can do to ensure your elderly feline friend is kept happy. Keep a close watch on eating and drinking habits. Ensure food and water are always easily accessible. Provide easy ways for them to access their favourite places so that they do not have to jump to high places. Provide extra litter trays indoors. Groom them more regularly as they may find it more difficult to do this themselves. Provide gentle playtime to keep them as active and alert as possible.
Caring for an older cat can bring tremendous joy. With their wandering days behind them they usually stay closer to home and with a few preventative measures you will be rewarded with a contented pet who is happy to spend time quietly at home as a companion.
So, please do not overlook some of our older cats, they will bring you happiness! This handsome tiger is George. He was not in the first flush of youth, but found a fabulous home with somebody who made George's final years comfortable and very happy, and he in turn brought great joy to his adopter.