There are all kinds of information on caring for kittens, mommy cats, and special needs kitties but no one really touches on our senior felines. I feel it is important to not only raise a kitten with proper love and care but to also continue to care for them into their elder years the right way to ensure a long healthy and happy life. Here are 5 simple things you can do to make your older cat’s life easier and more enjoyable!
Mind the Height
As cats age, they begin to have a harder time jumping as high as they once could. When you do not help with adjustments for your older cat, it can increase injury risks. Using pet stairs is a great way to combat this issue. The two most important places to have stairs are by windows and by beds. If your cat enjoys sleeping in the bed, making a few lower level platforms at the end of it will act as stairs and keep your kitty from needing to jump. You can use pre-built pet stairs or you can do what I do and use a small ottoman with a tiny step-stool. As for window areas, you can get quite creative here using the stairs to meet a small table or a window perch your cat can enjoy for mid-day napping.
Nap Time Is Important
Speaking of naps, sleep is very important for all mammals. Just like us humans, a cat’s body heals during sleep and rest. Ensuring your older cat has a quiet and comfortable place in the home it can access all times of the day is a great way to ensure this. If you have a louder home with kids and/or other pets, you can install a doggie-door to one of the bedroom doors in your home and keep the door closed at all times. The cat will have access to and from the room and the door being closed will block out some of the noises. You can also do this with a decent sized closet as well and just place a pet bed on the floor inside. Cats seem to like small, dark, and quiet places!
When your cat is not napping around the house, it is important to encourage movement and play. The trick here is not over-doing it. Playing at your cat’s pace is key to not over exhausting their joints or discouraging their hunting skills. Using a toy like The Cat’s Meow will allow your cat to play at its own pace without you and on their own schedule. My cats did not care for it until I did a bit of modding. Simply leave off the yellow cover, snip off the ball and mouse tail at the end of the stick, and attach a lightweight (short stick) feather wand to the stick with strong tape, and BAM! Almost every cat will enjoy this toy at any age or play level. Leaving empty boxes and loose cat toys around the home is also a great idea to encourage play.
As your cat ages, their body begins to slow down a bit and metabolizing food isn’t as easy which can lead to constipation and diarrhea. Making sure they are eating a healthy diet is key here and adding in a bit of vegetation will help out a lot! You can keep it simple and just have potted cat grass in your house or you can use other cat safe plants they may enjoy eating such as catnip, cat thyme, valerian, or chamomile (to name a few!). Just make sure your cat can reach the plants easily and the plants themselves get sunshine!
Not only is sunshine important for indoor plants but it is also important for indoor cats! This may be a bit tricky depending on your cat’s personality but when the weather permits, it is a good idea to let your cat get some sunshine. Cats naturally love to sunbathe so giving them access to a screened door that allows in direct sunlight is enough to keep them healthy. You want to make sure the sun isn’t getting blocked by glass, though. If a screened door or window is not an option, an outdoor enclosure would be the purrfect way for your cat to not only get some sunshine when they want, but it will also keep them safe and contained from danger!