Caring for an elderly cat is not the same as caring for a kitten, adult, pregnant or giving birth cat. You can imagine it like taking care of the elderly. With the very natural rule: “Birth – Old age – Sickness – Death”, when cats get old you need to grasp the basic knowledge to take care of them. Pet cats that are well cared for, without any special diseases, can live up to 17 years. Cats’ lifespan can reach 20 years.
Changes in cats as they age
As cats get older, their bodies often become less healthy. Cats with impaired liver, kidney, digestive absorption functions, cats are weak, sluggish or unusually obese, have a big belly due to high blood fat, cardiovascular disorders, blood pressure… Senses such as vision, Hearing and possibly even taste are less sensitive.
Cats eat very little due to constipation, slow stool flow, difficulty or obstruction in defecation. Teeth fall out, yellow, bad breath, dark lips and mouth. The cry is small and hoarse and the breathing slows down. Skeletal and joint degeneration, osteoporosis. Dull coat, little licking.
There are many diseases of cats in old age. Because their bodies, like humans, will weaken over time. When they get old, the health of cats declines greatly. The body’s organs begin the “overload” phase. Therefore, you need to have the most scientific and reasonable way to care for elderly cats. Suitable for the cat’s health condition.
Caring for elderly cats with chronic kidney failure
Causes of kidney failure in cats
As you age, kidney function often declines. This process is not fast, but quite steady. This leads to the kidney losing its filtering ability. Cats have a certain amount of filtering machinery in their kidneys. And these parts will be lost as the blood vessel walls thicken as the cat ages. This process is called chronic glomerulonephritis or chronic interstitial nephritis.
Although there are platelets in reserve, this quantity is not enough. Therefore, waste products in the blood will gradually increase, causing uremia. If you are stressed and drink little water, this condition will become serious.
Signs of kidney failure
Cat loses weight and craves water. If the cat is examined, the amount of Albumin in the urine, increased levels of Urea Nitrogen (BUN) and Creatinine in the blood will be detected. At the same time, blood potassium decreases but blood phosphorus increases. However, these symptoms are often unclear. Sometimes, it is not until half of the kidney’s blood filtration function is impaired that we can determine accurate results.
How to care for elderly cats now requires paying attention to their diet and lifestyle. It has a great influence on the diseases of elderly cats. If you don’t eat enough nutrition, your kidney failure will quickly get worse. Your cat should drink enough water and eat wet food. Add antioxidants, fish oil… Owners need to maintain oral hygiene and avoid unclear overdose of vaccines.
Caring for elderly cats with hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism is a disease where a cat’s thyroid gland is overactive. This is also a common problem in older cats. However, some owners mistake the symptoms of hyperthyroidism for “rejuvenation”. Because this disease often leads to increased activity.
If you don’t know how to care for an elderly cat, letting the condition persist will lead to weight loss, increased activity, and decreased blood pressure. Causes digestive disorders, thirst, urination, heart disease and biochemical abnormalities. Another danger is that hyperthyroidism can lead to kidney failure.
And fortunately, most cases of this disease are easy to diagnose. Treatment can be with radioactive iodine therapy that destroys abnormal thyroid tissue. Another way is to control the disease by taking Methimazole (Tapazole).
Caring for elderly cats with blood pressure problems
Measuring blood pressure in cats is often more difficult than measuring blood pressure in dogs. Worse, the measured results are not necessarily accurate. If your cat’s blood pressure is above 170, treatment may have begun. Most cats with high blood pressure have hyperthyroidism or kidney failure.
The most common sign that owners can observe is decreased vision. Or even blindness. High blood pressure slowly destroys small blood vessels. Blood vessels in the eyes, heart, kidneys… are very sensitive so they are more easily destroyed.
Elderly cats can be cared for with a medication for cats with high blood pressure, Amlodipine (Norvasc…). If your cat refuses to take the medicine, you can mix the medicine with something less bitter. In addition, a reduced-salt diet is also quite beneficial for cats with high blood pressure.
Caring for elderly cats with diabetes
Cats that are too fat like British shorthair cats, floppy ears… will be susceptible to diabetes. Symptoms of this disease are drinking a lot of water, urinating a lot or losing weight quickly. Many people mistakenly think that their pet cat has diabetes when they see high levels of Glucose in the blood and urine. However, this conclusion is still not necessarily accurate.
Often, a diet high in carbohydrates will make cats susceptible to diabetes. Therefore, in this case, medical experts will advise on how to care for elderly cats and give owners an appropriate diet.
After the amount of Glucose in the cat’s blood has stabilized, the owner should still have the cat’s blood and urine tested to detect other potential diseases, if any. For cats with diabetes, a consistent, consistent schedule will benefit their health. Play sessions may need to be modified or adjusted to meet each cat’s individual health requirements.
Caring for sick and elderly cats
Being too fat is not good, but being too thin is not any better. When entering the 12th year, cats often have difficulty maintaining their body weight. They can lose weight severely, leading to emaciation. Cats that are too thin often die easily.
Older cats are often very picky. Most older cats suffer from dental disease, and their eyesight, sense of smell, and taste all decline. These are the things that lead to loss of appetite in cats. Therefore, owners should feed their cats meat. It can be fresh or canned meat like pate for cats.
Don’t take care of older cats by giving them too much deworming medication. Because weight loss in older cats usually has nothing to do with worms. Some foods are not suitable for older cats that owners should remember: tuna, canned meat for humans or baby food.
Caring for elderly cats with cardiovascular disease
Cats don’t have heart attacks as often as people do. But they can still get cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy often causes blood clots in the lower part of the veins, leading to paralysis of the legs. Symptoms of this disease are that your cat will breathe a lot.
Even opening your mouth to breathe and getting tired easily. Cardiomyopathy may be associated with hyperthyroidism. That’s why doctors often check the thyroid and kidneys when cats have cardiovascular problems. Heart disease is not an easy disease to deal with.
Therefore, owners must see a doctor for advice on how to properly care for elderly cats with cardiovascular disease. Be sure to consult a veterinarian immediately after discovering that your cat has symptoms of heart disease. Note that cats with heart failure do not have the tolerance to participate in games or too vigorous exercise.
Caring for elderly cats with constipation
As they get older, their intestinal motility decreases, so cats are susceptible to constipation. Don’t underestimate the illness of old cats. Because constipation will lead to dehydration. When dehydrated, you will suffer from a more serious disease, which is arthritis.
Care for constipated elderly cats by increasing the amount of fiber and water in their diet. If the condition continues, give your cat medications containing Petrolatum and Lactulose. However, you should not use too much. Cats with diabetes must be careful when using Lactulose.
It is best for owners to seek advice from experts to ensure the best care for their cats. You can add rice bran, Psyllium seeds, wheat bran, and pumpkin to your cat’s food to increase fiber and resolve constipation.
Caring for elderly cats with arthritis
Most older cats have difficulty moving and suffer from pain due to arthritis. At this time, they will no longer be able to jump and climb flexibly like before. Unlike dogs, cats rarely show their pain.
They can walk slowly, short distances. The stretch between joints is reduced. If you touch them, they will show discomfort. Even nagging your hand because of the pain. A cat’s shoulders and elbows are often the most painful areas. Owners should note that if their cat drags one leg or only has pain in one leg, it is likely not due to arthritis. It could be due to damage to that leg.
Cats do not tolerate pain relievers. In case your cat is in too much pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Rimadyl, Zenecarp, Carprofen) are a good choice. Cats cannot be given painkillers for a long time. Especially when the above drugs can have quite dangerous side effects.
Some less dangerous but less effective pain relief methods are using Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements. With the right dosage, your cat’s arthritis pain can be completely safely reduced. In addition, you can also inject Adequan if using Glucosamine and Chondrotin does not work.
Caring for cats with cancer
As age increases, older cats are more likely to get sick. Especially cancer. Symptoms of cancer can be lumps, tumors, and difficult-to-heal sores on the body. These include weight loss, loss of appetite, difficulty eating, chewing and swallowing, chronic diarrhea, vomiting, bleeding, difficulty moving, and abnormal bowel movements.
If your cat shows any of the above signs, you should quickly take your cat to the doctor. As soon as possible. Cancer is very dangerous and can cause cats to die at any time. Benign tumors can be treated with surgery. At that time, it is necessary to take care of old cats carefully and thoughtfully according to the doctor’s instructions.
Exercise with toys for older cats
Toys for old cats
Toys for older cats can be items that roll around or move on the floor. These toys may remind them of a mouse or other similar prey. Playing with old cats with a fishing rod also makes them excited.
Balls with food inside are the simplest form of intelligence toys. Basically, you just need to prepare a hollow ball and stuff it with food or snacks. Your cat will have to be clever to “dig out” the food inside the ball through a small gap.
To maintain your cat’s interest, change and rotate the toys regularly. You don’t need to constantly buy new toys. Simply reuse existing old toys.
Currently, there are many types of cat toys available on the market. You can easily find and buy it at Pet Mart pet accessories stores. Combine the use of catnip – Catnip, an herb that has the ability to stimulate cats’ nerves. It can be a powerful tool to encourage your cat to play.
Pay attention when playing with old cats
The safety of your cat is the most important factor to consider. Check your cat’s toys carefully. Especially small items that they can chew and swallow. In addition, never let your cat play alone with toys with long strings. For example, wool rolls, handmade items or items made of metal without anyone’s supervision.
Playing with old cats requires extreme caution. Pay attention to their every movement. Your cat can injure himself. Or worse, it will unravel, tangle the wool, and swallow it. It can lead to a very dangerous condition for the intestines of an elderly cat.
Some notes when taking care of elderly cats
For older cats, it is necessary to have a veterinarian examine their health every 2-3 months. If you see unusual symptoms such as: urinary retention, difficulty walking, loss of appetite, etc., you must notify your doctor immediately.
Diets for older cats need to be light, easy to digest, and rich in calories. Reduce the amount of food per meal and increase the number of daily feedings. You should mix some foods with vegetable oil or Paraffin to prevent constipation. Always keep enough water nearby so your cat can easily see and drink.
Use the best quality cat food. Some famous brands have products for elderly cats such as: Royal Cacnin, CatSeaFish, Whiskas, Maxpower.
Do not let your cat exercise, run forcibly, or play too much with dogs or other pets. Need time to cuddle and caress the cat. Do not expose to cold wind, cold wetness or keep in a stuffy, polluted place. Avoid close contact with fire, gas or some operating household machines such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners… Do not tie ropes, chains, or lock cats in high positions where they can easily fall.