When your cat gets older, the time has come to give him extra attention and the right care. Look carefully at his needs and the signals he gives to make sure you give your senior cat the right support.
When is my cat old?
That depends entirely on the cat in question. It's actually not possible to give an exact age, and an owner often finds it difficult to make an estimation. Some cats are already 'at age' when they are eight years old, others are still young when they are sixteen. Did you know that according to the Guiness World Record, the oldest cat is 38 years and 3 months old?(!) So some cats don't feel old for a long time and prefer to stay as long as possible with their owner. If you want to know if your cat is 'old', it is best to observe your own cat closely to see how he behaves.
As a cat gets older, he is more susceptible to health problems like:
- Less functioning kidneys and liver.
- Dental problems.
- Joint problems.
- Less good condition.
- Increased risk of deafness and blindness.
- Hormonal problems.
- Less functioning immune system.
- Disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.
Chronic kidney failure in cats is common, especially in older cats. Unfortunately the failure is discovered late, so a large part of the kidney function is already lost. It is therefore important to detect kidney failure early and support it where necessary. Would you like to learn more about chronic kidney failure in cats? Then read this article.
Joint problems unfortunately occur regularly in adult cats. We see osteoarthritis most often. Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the cartilage of a certain joint is worn.
Joint disorders are unfortunately not curable. However, we can take measures to reduce the symptoms and slow down the progress of the disorder. Think of a suitable diet such as Prins VitalCare Veterinary Diet Mobility. In addition, you can stimulate regular but dosed exercise and possibly give an additional treatment such as painkillers.
Also in cats at a later age dementia can occur. The cause lies in the nerve tissue of the brain. The symptoms associated with dementia are also seen in cats with severe kidney failure and/or a thyroid that works too fast. It is therefore important that cats with dementia symptoms are properly examined by a veterinarian to determine whether we are indeed dealing with dementia and not with another problem.
There are different ways to keep the brain active at a younger age and, to support a cat with dementia as well as possible.
- Brain games such as a feeding puzzle.
- Keep the environment predictable for the cat to change as little as possible. So keep the furniture in place as much as possible.
Aging can be recognized by:
- Reduced or increased appetite.
- Difficulty getting up.
- Not wanting to walk anymore.
- Condition problems.
- Change in sleep rhythm, for example being awake at night.
- Changes in behavior: very affectionate or distant, restless, bad orientation, mewing a lot and complaining.
- Unexpected leakage of urine.
- Stinks from the mouth.
- Digestion problems.
- Changes in coat structure: more shedding, flaking.
Keeping your senior cat fit
Your senior may become less active or may even eat less. This can cause complications. So be alert and keep your cat fit. We'll give you some tips to keep your senior cat fit:
- Have your cat checked regularly at the vet. In this way any problems can be discovered at an early stage and treated properly.
- Keep your cat in motion, that keeps his muscles supple. By playing with your older cat you stimulate the animal to move more. You can also offer his food for extra body and brain gymnastics in a soft rubber feeding ball or feeding puzzle.
- Certain muscles can decrease in strength in senior cats. Since the bladder is a muscle, it may be wise to check and change the litter box a little more often. With an older cat that has always done his needs outside, it is advisable to place a tray in the house to prevent accidents.
- It is important that a cat absorbs enough fluid. Make sure there is always fresh drinking water available at room temperature. Cats drink very little by nature. Preferably place multiple drinking bowls in the house to stimulate the drinking behavior of your cat. In old cats sufficient drinking is necessary because their kidney function decreases. You can also use a drinking fountain, available at the better pet store. Many cats like to drink from running water. Click on this article for handy tips to get your cat drinking.
- A senior cat can get cold faster and sometimes even look for a warm spot at room temperature. At the pet store you can get special hanging baskets that you can hang from the radiator.
- Older cats often become bad eaters. It can help them to prepare a small meal a few times a day. Give the meal at room temperature or heat the food briefly. A cat eats on the basis of temperature and smell, heating the food will release more smell. You can also soak the food in some lukewarm water. In this way you know that your cat will get enough moisture and the food will be available even when you don't have a few teeth.
- Make sure your cat's teeth are properly cleaned. Tartar and plaque can cause a lot of discomfort to the animal. In case of serious dental problems, an extensive treatment at the vet is necessary.
The right food for your senior cat
Above a certain age the cat becomes less active and some organs will not function optimally anymore, changing his nutritional needs. Then it is recommended to switch to a food specially formulated for older cats.
Prins has special 100% natural high quality crunchy foods for senior cats that meet the adapted nutritional needs of older animals:
- Prins VitalCare Senior: for older cats from the age of about seven years.
- Prins VitalCare Senior 12+: for cats from the age of twelve years.
- Prins VitalCare Protection Senior: a food especially for older cats from the age of about seven years with unique ingredients such as herbs, cell salts and extra glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM to keep the cat supple and active even in old age.
Ask for advice
Would you like to know which Prins food suits your senior cat best or could you use other advice? The Prins CareTeam will be happy to help you!