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Give Your Cat More Years: 10 Ways to Help
CatsHealth

Give Your Cat More Years: 10 Ways to Help

Critter Culture Staff
Updated Jan 17, 2023

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As any cat human knows, kitties are not exactly known for their boundless energy. Even the most kittenish of felines usually prefer to take a nap or two throughout the day. So, it's really no surprise that as your cat enters their senior years, they may slow down and become less active.

However, with the proper care, your senior cat can stay healthy and happy well into their golden years.

1

Schedule regular checkups

Veterinarian examining cat on examination table in clinic with cat's owner. simonkr/ Getty Images

Kitties aren't always the most forthcoming about their health. One minute they're purring away, and the next, they're hiding under the bed. That's why scheduling regular checkups with your veterinarian is so important.

As your cat ages, their health needs will change, and it's important to keep up with those changes. Your vet can help you identify any health concerns early and ensure your cat stays up to date on their shots. Plus, regular checkups are a great opportunity to give your kitty some much-needed TLC.

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2

Think trim, not tubby

A beautiful domestic cat is resting in a light blue room, a gray Shorthair cat with yellow eyes looking at the camera Kseniya Ovchinnikova/ Getty Images

All cats should maintain a healthy weight to ensure their long-term health and well-being. For seniors, this is especially important, as extra weight can put strain on their joints and organs. So how can you help your cat stay at a healthy weight?

First, avoid giving them table scraps or too many treats. Just like us, felines love a tasty snack, but it's important to resist the temptation to overindulge them. Instead, stick to a nutritious diet that meets all their needs. You should also monitor their food intake and weigh them regularly.

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3

Give them the runaround

Shot of two domestic cats playing in living room with cat stand and toys in front of a white background Martin Deja/ Getty Images

Just because Puss is getting a little long in the tooth doesn't mean they don't need exercise. In fact, regular exercise can help keep your senior cat healthy and prevent them from becoming obese. So give them plenty of toys and scratching posts to keep them active, and take them on short walks or play with them regularly.

If you're really looking to give your old cat a workout, try chasing them around the house a few times a day. They may not be as fast as they used to be, but they'll still enjoy the challenge.

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4

Cleanliness is purr-fection

female hand cleaning cat litter box with shovel at home. Mila Naumova/ Getty Images

Let's face it; no one likes a dirty litter box. It's smelly, unsightly, and can attract unwanted guests (i.e., bugs).

For senior cats, a clean litter box is especially important. As they age, cats can become more sensitive to smells and may avoid using a dirty litter box. This can lead to health problems such as urinary tract infections or constipation. To keep your senior feline friend happy and healthy, scoop out the litter box daily and clean it completely every two to three weeks.

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5

Keep them well-groomed

Man Brushing With Comb Anti Fleas The Domestic Cat deimagine/ Getty Images

Anyone who has ever been scratched by a cat can attest to the fact that their nails are sharp. While those claws can come in handy for climbing and defending themselves, they can also be dangerous if left unchecked. That's why it's important to groom your furry friend and trim their nails regularly.

Not only will this help keep their coat healthy and prevent painful matting, but it will also help keep them comfortable and safe from potential injuries. In addition, regular grooming is a great way to bond with your feline friend.

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6

Naps are non-negotiable

This kittens favorite sleeping place is on the back of her owners chair Beech Photography Tokyo/ Getty Images

Our feline friends are not exactly known for their laid-back attitude. Most cats are full of energy, running and climbing at all hours of the day and night. But as they age, many kitties begin to slow down and prefer to spend more time resting.

If your senior cat is starting to spend more time napping, it's important to ensure they have a comfortable bed or perch where they can relax. A soft pillow or blanket will help them stay warm, and a raised platform will give them a good view of their surroundings.

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7

Cuddles are key

Little boy snuggling cute pet animal sitting on white couch in sunny living room at home. Kseniya Ovchinnikova/ Getty Images

Cats may not be as openly affectionate as dogs, but that doesn't mean they don't appreciate a good cuddle from time to time. In fact, senior cats often enjoy being held and petted more than their younger counterparts.

If your kitty is starting to spend more time in your lap, take it as a compliment and give them all the cuddles they desire. They'll appreciate the attention, and you'll get to enjoy some quality time with your furry friend.

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8

Keep them inside

A playful tabby cat swishes its tail and looks curiously at the camera indoors. Purple Collar Pet Photography/ getty Images

Outdoor kitties face many dangers, from cars to predators. Senior cats are especially vulnerable, so it's best to keep them inside where they'll be safe and comfortable. However, indoor cats can also be at risk if they don't have access to the right kind of enrichment.

Boredom can lead to destructive behaviors, like chewing on electrical cords or furniture or excessive grooming that can cause health problems. So, if you're going to keep your cat indoors, be sure to provide plenty of toys, climbing surfaces, and windows for birdwatching.

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9

The age gap is real

a young female domestic ginger cat cuddle with an adult male tabby cat. Akimasa Harada/ Getty Images

Getting a new kitten can be an exciting time. However, it's important to remember that not all older cats are interested in playing with their furry little colleagues. In fact, for some senior cats, the addition of a kitten to the household can be a bit overwhelming.

If your cat seems uninterested in playing with a kitten, don't force them to. Just let them relax and take things at their own pace. After all, they've earned it.

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10

Fresh water is a must

Cat drinking in the kitchen faucet of a family home Miguel Sotomayor/ Getty Images

Many cats go to great lengths to avoid getting wet. However, it's important to ensure your kitty has access to fresh water, especially as they get older.

As cats age, they may not drink as much water as they used to, which can lead to dehydration, so it's important to make sure your senior cat always has fresh, clean water available. One way to encourage your cat to drink more water is by adding a little tuna juice or chicken broth to their bowl.

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