The oldest known cat lived to age 38. That’s ancient in “cat years!” While your feline may not quite make it to that age, the average indoor kitty can be expected to live from 12 to 15 years. That’s still quite a bit of time that you have to enjoy with your furry companion.
A cat is considered a “senior” at around nine years old, and each cat handles those years differently. You might be lucky enough to have an older cat who still acts like a kitten, or you might find yourself caring for one who clearly shows signs of aging, like hearing or vision loss. Whatever the status of your aging cat, their bodies will all eventually start to show signs of aging. Here are a few senior cat care tips to help your cat age gracefully and live out their “golden years” by your side.
Up the Frequency of Vet Visits
Until now, your cat might have only seen a vet if you notice something wrong–a cough, a loose tooth, or an injury. But elderly cat care is a bit different. As your cat ages, it will go through natural physical changes. This could be at nine years old or 16, but at some point your cat will be likely to develop conditions like a weaker immune system, thinner skin, hearing loss, arthritis, and maybe even kidney failure.
While it’s easy enough to notice your cat’s eyes becoming hazy or its teeth yellowing, a lot of the changes brought on by aging are internal and a lot more difficult for the average person to notice. You may be able to tell that your cat is in pain, and identify the source of that pain, or you may not. Either way, it’s a good idea to ask your vet how often you should bring your aging cat in for a checkup–he or she might suggest you bump your yearly appointment up to every six months, in order to monitor any developing conditions.
Consider Switching Your Cat to a Senior Diet
Again, cats don’t age at the same pace; one 12-year-old cat might show almost no signs of aging, while another of the same age could have a lot of health problems. Just as there’s no one “right” way for a cat to age, there isn’t a specific age at which you have to worry about switching your cat’s diet from adult food to food designed specifically for senior cats. In fact, if your cat is doing well on an adult diet, there may be no need to switch.
Your cat might benefit from a change in diet if age has brought on health conditions like thyroid disease or heart disease. In that case, there are a lot of factors to consider in planning your cat’s diet, from levels of phosphorus and fat to the amount of protein and antioxidants going into the food.
Keep Your Cat’s Pearly Whites Clean
Your cat doesn’t have to go to the dentist like you do, but it still has teeth–30 of them, to be exact–and those teeth can develop plaque. Without proper brushing, particularly as a senior, your cat could wind up with periodontal disease. The disease causes bad breath, tooth loss, and potentially dangerous infection.
If you’ve never brushed your cat’s teeth and you can’t imaging trying to stick a toothbrush into its mouth, you may want to invest in some dental chews or sticks, which will do the job of clearing plaque from teeth and gums as your cat gnaws on it. You can also talk to your vet about yearly or biannual professional dental cleanings, which will get deeper into your cat’s gums than a toothbrush or a chew stick.
Ease Mobility Issues with a Few Home Adjustments
If your aging cat develops mobility issues, such as inflammation of the joints, moving around your home from food bowl to cat perch to your lap may prove difficult. Evaluate your cat’s needs; is your cat having trouble jumping onto the couch? Is the litter box proving to be a difficult mountain to traverse?
Small changes can mean a world of difference in quality of life for your old cat. A litter box with lower sides, for example, could make your feline’s whole bathroom process a lot easier and more comfortable. A short step stool near your couch can help your cat reach your side in place of a painful jump. A daily supplement can soothe some of those aches and pains. And always be sure that your cat can easily access food and water bowls!
Support Kidney Function and Joint Flexibility with a Supplement from Wapiti Labs
Wapiti Labs’ ReVitalize supplement is formulated with senior cats in mind, and is also helpful for cats who have slowed down in their older age, stopped using their litter box, are affected by cold weather, or have other health issues. Not only does the supplement support kidney function and joint flexibility, it also helps to maintain normal renal function, eye function, thyroid function, and a healthy immune system.
The concentrated formula comes in a powder, and uses a natural blend of Elk Velvet Antler (EVA) and traditional herbs derived from ingredients like ginseng root, and lycium fruit. Many Wapiti products utilize EVA, which promotes strength, stamina, and a healthy immune system in your cat.
We get the EVA included in several of our supplements from our herd of elk at our own Wolf Creek Elk Ranch in Minnesota. The elk are raised in a low-stress, natural environment with a full veterinarian staff to ensure their health and safety, and the humane extraction process is only done once a year. If you’d like to learn more about how a Wapiti Labs cat supplement can help your cat transition into old age, contact us today!