Catvice Column, Guest Blogs, Senior Cats

How to Prevent Your Senior Cat From Getting Injured

Author bio: This guest blog post was submitted by Isa.

Your feline best friend has offered you many hours of unconditional love, giggles, and companionship over the years. Now that they’re aging, you have to repay all this by staying on top of your cat’s health needs and showering them with extra tender loving care. This is key to prolonging their life and ensuring that their senior years remain comfortable. 

Photo by Arina Krasnikova from Pexels

Signs Your Cat Is Getting Older

As you know, cats are elusive creatures. They don’t usually make a big scene whenever they’re feeling unwell. But whether your furbaby is subtle or not, they’re vulnerable to as many health issues related to aging as the rest of us. There are a few common signs that may indicate your cat is approaching its senior years, including:

  • Eye Problems. Eye and vision health issues in senior cats can present as a primary condition. It may also only be secondary to a more severe, underlying problem. Does your cat blink excessively, paw at their eye, or bump into objects more often than usual? These may indicate that they’re having eye or vision problems. Other signs to watch out for include visible debris or cloudiness on their eye and swollen blood vessels in the whites of their eyes.
  • Kidney Disease. Your cat’s kidneys undergo many age-related changes that may ultimately result in impaired function. Sadly, kidney failure is one of the common diseases in senior cats. There are two kinds of kidney failure in cats: acute renal failure and chronic kidney disease. Both types have the same symptoms, such as frequent urination, drinking lots of water, and bacterial infections. Other signs include loss of appetite, weight loss, mouth ulcers, brown-colored tongue, and breath that smells like urine or ammonia. 
  • Joint Disease. Many middle-aged and senior cats develop arthritis, which is a general term used to describe abnormal joint changes. The condition can be a source of chronic pain for your pet, affecting their health and mobility. Visit your vet as soon as you notice signs like limping, walking stiffly, or difficulty jumping on and off surfaces. Other manifestations of arthritis in cats are decreased activity and social reclusiveness. 

Other common health issues in senior cats are heart disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and cancer. Sadly, older cats may be plagued by two or more illnesses at the same time. Some of them struggle with several different problems, making diagnosis and treatment more challenging. 

Joint Care Ideas

For cats, old age may start as early as six years old, but it’s usually 10 years or older. A 14-year-old cat is well into its senior years. Once your feline companion reaches old age, ensure that you spend time with them every day. This will allow you to spot any signs of discomfort right away. 

Visit your vet for a physical examination and diagnosis. Then, discuss any necessary changes to their diet, supplements, and furniture requirements, among others. 

If your cat has joint issues, this will not only keep them from moving around as easily as before, but it can also make them prone to injuries. Since your cat will no longer be able to climb or jump as they used to, you need to make special accommodations for them. These include getting a litterbox that’s easier to climb into and providing them with comfortable bedding. 

How to Safely Feed Your Cat’s Curiosity and Natural Instinct to Climb

If your cat has a joint problem, climbing and jumping would be difficult. Nevertheless, like with humans, you can make accommodations for your feline friend. This way, they can continue on living a happy and fulfilled life. They may no longer be able to reach the heights they used to, but you definitely can do something to help them get to some heights, however slowly. 

Some of the popular options are the use of ramps or cat stands with staircases. Instead of using separate stands, choose wall-mounted platforms that go up with ramps. Lastly, keep some small ladders or any special cat-climbing structures around the house. This way, your senior pet can still have access to their favorite spots, such as the couch or window. 

How Can You Maintain or Improve Your Pet’s Quality of Life

Your four-legged best friend may not show any visible signs of aging. But providing them with proper care and attention during the advanced stages of their life can go a long way toward keeping their golden years happy. Here are a few ways to care for your senior cat:

  • Nutrition. Talk to your vet regarding your pet’s nutrition needs at their current age. Invest in high-quality cat food specially formulated for senior cats. Equally important is to give your aging cat constant access to plentiful and fresh drinking water. Keeping them hydrated will help improve their kidney function. Since older cats may forget to drink at times, it’s best to add wet food to their meals. 
  • Exercise. Some cats may be less active now than they’ve aged. But this shouldn’t stop you from encouraging them to play and move about as much as necessary. Never push them past their limits, though, especially if your cat has arthritis or displays signs of joint pain.
  • Health Checks. Cats are great at masking their pain. Any symptom will likely go unnoticed until they’ve become too advanced to ignore. For this reason, taking your aging cat for regular health examinations is vital. Pay close attention to your pet’s behavior patterns. Then, report any changes to your vet. They will be able to detect problems that you may have missed and catch diseases before they become life-threatening or cause too much damage. 

As with humans, the aging process in cats is natural and inevitable. There may be a lot of complex physiological changes linked to old age. However, age in and of itself is not a disease. Despite the fact that some health conditions affecting senior cats are incurable, their symptoms can often be managed. What matters is you always find ways to give your aging pet the healthiest and highest quality of life possible.