As cats get older, past the age of 10, they develop natural ailments that all seniors experience – not much unlike you or me. Whether your senior cat is gaining weight or losing fur, keeping your cat’s health conditions in check will give you peace of mind and let you experience a longer, happier relationship with your pet. Here are a few specific steps you can take to ensure that you and your cat will grow old together.
1. Watch His Weight
Just like humans, when cat’s grow old their metabolism slows down. This mean that your cat’s body has a tougher time getting rid of calories and thus is more prone to gain weight. A cat that’s too large can often lead to debilitating medical conditions associated with the circulatory, musculoskeletal and immune systems. An obese cat isn’t a strange occurance (think; Garfield), and can happen to even the most responsible cat owners. You may need to lower the amount of food he consumes or consider a food made specifically for senior cats. These types of food are often low in fat and protein to minimize calorie intake. Keeping playtime or physical activity up, as long as he is physically capable, is also a great way to keep the extra pounds off.
2. Is He Too Skinny?
Just as a senior cat’s jiggle will get in the way of a healthy lifestyle, so too will excessive thinness. According to Hill’s Nutrition, if your senior cat has no problem eating but is still losing weight, it could be the result of heart or periodontal disease (gum and tooth problems), thyroid dysfunction or, kidney failure. On the other hand, if your cat has a loss of appetite, it could be due to a reduction in taste sensation.
3. Symptoms of Arthritis
It’s often difficult to tell when your cat is suffering from arthritis or joint pain, but there could be subtle changes that will be apparent to you. Because arthritis is a dull ache and not sharp, cats will almost never vocalize their pain. They may, instead alter their behavior by eating too much or too little or disappear by himself more consistently. Other signs to be aware of include:
- Limping or hobbling
- Altered walking or gait
- Difficulty rising or going down to sleep
- Avoiding high jumps or stairs
While arthritis isn’t life threatening it is a heavy burden for your cat to suffer through, and will only get worse as he ages. Reducing inflammation is key to supporting joint function. If you’re worried about cat arthritis, there are a number of things you can do at home, like giving your cat a soft bed, a large litter box and making his food accessible. Additionally, joint supplements are another natural and easy home remedy to control inflammation and keep your cat’s bones and joints healthy throughout old age.
4. Excessive Laziness
Most cats get much lazier as they pass from a kitten into a full-grown cat. That laziness can unfortunately get worse as they go from adult cat to senior cat. “[Cats] all seem to get extremely lazy as they move from kittens to adults. Try putting his food in different areas of the house so he has to move around to get it,” says veterinarian Dr. Marie Haynes. Other ways to keep you cat from a lethargic lifestyle include:
- Develop a custom diet plan with your vet,
- Feed your cat high-fiber food
- Increase playtime to at least 10-15 minutes per day
- Give your cat food puzzle toys
- Buy your cat a scratching post
- Take your cat for a romp outside
5. Changes in Skin/Fur
If your senior cat is losing his fur, it may be signs of a serious condition like cancer. Whether the hair loss is complete or partial, the patterns varied or symmetrical, fur loss can be treated. If your cat has been diagnosed with cancer and is losing fur, it may be caused by alopecia a distinctive form of hair loss in cats, characterized by hair loss forming in a symmetrical pattern with no gross changes to the skin. Your cat could also have a minor or major skin condition caused by parasites, ringworm or allergies. These conditions can be treated medically by your vet.
A cat can also have behavioral issues, such as nervous disorders that can cause hair loss. In order to help a cat suffering from behavioral issues, modification treatment may be needed. Techniques such as reinforcement, conditioning and overlearning can all be helpful in your pursuit to keep your cat’s hide healthy.
6. Use Supplements to Keep Your Senior Cat Healthy
Natural herbal supplements are an easy and intelligent addition to an all-around healthy diet. Wapiti Labs has developed a line of cat supplmenents that provides support at every stage of life. We use elk velvet antler to assist in the health of joints, lungs, heart, stomach and more. It has been used as an all-natural dietary supplement and health treatment throughout the Eastern world for more than 2,000 years.
- Here is some of what EVA is known to be composed of by Traditional Chinese Medicine Experts:
- Amino Acids: Great for muscle recovery and repair
- Collagen: The most abundant protein in the body, helps protect your skin
- Insulin-like Growth Factors (IGF-1): For muscle and tissue growth
- Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF): Stimulates cell growth for renewal or healing wounds
- Glucosamine: Vital to building and repairing joint structures such as bones, cartilage and ligaments
- Hyaluronic Acid: Lubricates joints
- Minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium
- Elements such as iron, copper and zinc which help healthy skin, growth, the healing of wounds and your red blood cells
If your senior cat is experiencing health problems, or you want to make sure his transition into old age is as positive as possible, give Wapiti Labs’ cat supplements a try today!