If you have an older cat, that you have had for a long time, then you know they can have special personalities! But as our cats age, we need to address certain areas of their life, just like us humans have to do. If we take care of an older cat, and watch out for early symptoms of problems, then there is no reason why our cats can't reach and enjoy the golden years.
Weight Problems in Older Cats
This is one of the first problems you may notice. As your cat gets older, she is not going to be quite as active, maybe doing a bit more sleeping and cuddling up in warm spots with no intention of moving!
We had a older cat, that would hog the heat register in the winter months and basically stay their until spring! But the problem is they still continue to eat. So, there are two ways to deal with weight gain in older cats. The first way, is to monitor their food. Rather than free feed, measure out their food for the day, and put it in their bowl, and don't refill until the next day.
The second way, is to get them moving just a bit more. Try and find some enticing toys, ones with good fresh cat nip in them. One toy I found that worked well was one I made myself. I cut out two small squares of cotton fabric (2 x 2 inches) and sew them together leaving a opening to fill with dried cat nip. Then sew up the opening and toss on the floor for your cat.
You may need to put it right in front of them to entice them, but they should start playing a little bit. Another great toy is a crumpled piece of tin foil and throw it at them, they will chase this around.
I have an older cat that is over weight, and I purchased a cat tree. At first I needed to give her a stool just to get to the first shelf! But as the days went by she was able to jump up herself, and pick and scratch at the post. She loves to sit on the shelf and watch the dogs from a height.
Throwing a toy that she loves down the stairs, will cause her to run down the stairs, which can burn some calories too.
If you can do a bit of both, for your older cat, cut back on the food slightly and get your older cat moving, then you should be able to keep the weight under control. Overweight cats, can end up with a host of health problems just like us humans.
Litter Boxes for Older Cats
If you have a house with lots of stairs, you may find that your older cat has accidents, and although you should get a checkup to rule out medical reasons, you may find it is because she is not allowing enough time to get to the basement, or where ever you keep the litter box, due to her age.
My vet was convinced my older cat was now incontinent, and we may have to make some decisions which was heartbreaking for me, but when I watched her daily activities one weekend, I realized she was moving much slower on the stairs. But I didn't want to restrict her from the upstairs because she liked to sleep in the bedroom with us. So, I purchased another litter box for upstairs. The problem went away instantly.
Older Cats and the Outside
Building a Cat Enclosure, may be another great way to get your cat moving. Sometimes being out in the fresh air and hearing the birds and feeling the breezes, will get her moving. You can purchase outdoor cat enclosures, or you can make your own. Just make sure it is escape proof!
So, if you have an older cat, there may be different needs, but you can still enjoy your cats company without too many problems right into those golden years.