In another article, certain aspects of, as well as conditions associated with, the feline aging process were covered at great length. One of the premises of feline longevity is that the housecat that is well cared for has a greater tendency at living longer than cats that spend time outdoors. Essential factors that promote longevity and allow your cat to enter their « golden years » in the best shape possible are:
· appropriate amounts of regular exercise
· good health care from the time they are a kitten
· proper diet and nutrition
· stimulating lifestyle and nurturing
Without these elements in place, they will be susceptible to a lengthy list of physical conditions, diseases, and other feline problems characteristically associate with the feline aging process. Here are 5 critical steps to perform as your cat ages so that they reach their geriatric years in the best physical condition possible.
Monitoring Specific Aspects of Behavior – it is imperative that you monitor three aspects of your cat’s behavior continually – bowel movements, urination, and water intake. Any change, no matter how slight, could be extremely significant. Conditions and problems that are caught in the earlier stages and addressed immediately could prevent dire consequences for your cat (and you).
Preventative Health Care – issues such as grooming, as well as dental, intestinal, and skin care and prevention of parasites should continue on an ongoing basis. You may want to consider brushing your cat’s teeth since periodontal conditions become more apparent as your cat ages. In order to optimize coat and skin health, proper grooming is recommended, and it is speculated that this is therapeutically beneficial as well.
Proper Diet and Nutrition – the following dietary adjustments may be of benefit to your cat:
· Lowering caloric intake as they become less active and keeping an eye on their weight
· Senses of smell and taste decrease as a cat ages so it may be necessary to afford them with more palatable foods (i.e. warm, moist foods)
· Avoid excess phosphorous, protein, and sodium ingestion while increasing the intake of Vitamins A, B1, B6, B12, and E. The addition of unsaturated fatty acids and zinc are acceptable dietary modifications in older felines. Ask your vet for assistance.
Regular Exercise – regular exercise in older cats is paramount, especially for those felines that are suffering with arthritis. Even if your cat is strictly an indoor pet, it is wise to encourage them to play as well as avoiding sleeping for hours at a time. This helps to maintain proper bowel functions, as well as muscle bulk and strength factors.
Regular Veterinary Check-Ups – semi-annual check-ups are the recommended norm for an older feline. In so doing, there is more likelihood of catching serious problems early on – e.g. arthritis or cancer as examples.
Your cat’s lifestyle can be evaluated correctly by your veterinarian and once your cat reaches 10 years of age you need to adjust their daily health regimen accordingly.