Congratulations! You’ve hit Part Three of our series on the mysteries of cat happiness, the joys of cat vitality and the journey of keeping your cat as spry and active throughout its (hopefully) long and mischievous life.
In this third and final article, we’re going to look at senior-aged cats. While old-age creeps up slowly on most of our feline comrades, you can generally consider a cat to be hitting old age at about eight to ten years. At this point, your cat may require a bit of extra help to stay happy and healthy.
So let’s get down to it and look at three important facets of keeping a senior cat hale and hearty.
Become a Feline Detective
If you haven’t already, now will be the time to become an expert cat detective. We all know cats have moods, but as your cat ages, those bad mood days may not just be the regular grumpies. Yep, as unpleasant as this is to ponder, your cat may be dealing with pain.
An early 2000 study on cats and joint pain found that as many as 90% of senior cats experience degenerative joint disease. This will reduce your cat’s mobility, often making once trivial activities painful or even impossible.
So how can you tell if pain is becoming a serious issue?
If you see hissing or biting, pay close attention to whether that behavior is being triggered when you touch a specific part of your cat’s body. If you observe changed eating and bathroom habits, watch closely at meal or … ahem … personal hygiene times. Are they struggling physically? Remember, cats conceal this stuff! You’ll need to watch very closely.
If you think or even vaguely suspect that your cat is in pain, get to a vet immediately. Pain medication and supplements can bring a lot of relief. The sooner you get medical advice, the better.
Pay Attention to Kidney Health
As your cat ages, kidney health can become a serious and persistent issue. One in ten cats over the age of ten is going to contract chronic kidney disease (CKD). As their age progresses, the likelihood will only increase.
CKD will rob your cat of energy and place their health in serious jeopardy if not addressed properly. You’ll need veterinary advice here, but two things you can do in combination with vet guidance are working on their hydration and introducing supplements.
Hydration is one important strategy you’ll need to employ here. If your cat struggles to imbibe regular pure water, stir a little bit into their regular food every day. Also, move their bowl or add more bowls around the house. Anything you can do to ease the process of getting fluids will help.
Let’s talk about supplements. The Astragalus and Rehmannia in Scruffy Paws Kidney-Vitalize Chews are a great way to delay and limit the onset of chronic kidney disease and related conditions. A recent study showed Astragalus and Rehmannia has a 91% effectiveness in reducing the severity of CKD, making it a great addition to actively managing your cat’s kidney health in their senior years.
Think Carefully About Toys
One delightful thing about cats is that most cats will enjoy playing their whole lives. That hunting instinct runs deep.
But as a cat gets older, their usual go-to toys might not work quite so well.
If your older feline friend doesn’t run, jump and chase like he or she used to, consider gentler forms of play. One option is to go for the good old-fashioned staple of a feather on a string. Just a gentle jiggle just out of reach may be all it takes for your senior bewhiskered companion to relive those heady, kitten playful years. But go gentle. Make the activity fun and surprising without being physically taxing.
Play keeps a cat happy, and just as importantly, it reinforces your bond. Your venerable feline overlord deserves nothing less.
Happy Cat, Happy Human!
And here we are at the end of our three-part journey into the secrets of sharing the cat-happies. Long may such blissful moments last.
You know, there has to be a reason we humans have brought cats into our lives over the millennia! And I think a big part of that is that cat happiness is infectious. If you’re a cat person you’ll already know that a happy, exuberant and active cat in your house is the very stuff of life!
A happy cat makes a house a home. A joyous cat makes the furballs and litter boxes and mysteriously missing socks worthwhile.
Good luck in bringing your friend happiness. We hope that odd, sometimes bumpy journey brings you happiness in equal measure.