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Senior Cat Care
Caring for senior cats is either an easy situation or a very difficult situation for cats and owners. It can be easy if the proper monitoring of food, regular visits to the veterinarian and proper exercise have been ongoing habits. If not, this time of the animal’s life will be difficult for the elderly cat and the owner, plus the veterinary bills will be bigger. Prevention is everything.
Most of the health problems of caring for older cats are due to improper care and lack of understanding of the reality of what feline needs are. Obesity is the number one (1) health problem that cats have to face.
How many times have we seen cats that should weigh 7 to 12 pounds look like they weigh 85 pounds? When these owners are questioned about this, they respond by saying that they do not want to be mean to deprive their pet of food. They also feed the food of the table, this is not beneficial. Cats need a continuous intake of very high protein foods and table foods do not provide that. Like humans, an excessive intake of the wrong types of carbohydrates makes them obese.
Kittens need to eat several times a day until they reach maturity because of their stomachs. The proper care of senior cats calls for eating only twice a day. Pick up the food bowl after the morning feed is over, then pick it up again about 12 hours later. Start this practice immediately when the kittens become teenagers and they will always be used to this schedule. Don’t feel bad about it because the flip side is very harmful to your health. Obesity adds tremendous unnecessary stress on the heart, liver, bowels and kidneys.
Senior cat care foods on the market today are designed specifically for adequate nutrition and supplemental needs. Everything is here in the food. Nothing else should be given. For cats that have problems with hairballs, buy bags of food that say “Hairball” on the packaging. The only hairball food my cats will eat is from Hills Science Diet brand. You will be amazed at how well this food works when you realize that you haven’t seen hair bubbles in a while.
Regular visits to your vet are a must for senior cat care. Diseases will be recognized in their early stages. Common diseases in cats are cancer, dental, intestinal, kidney, lipidosis, anemia, diabetes, heart, liver, bladder stones and arthritis.
Preventative care is essential to add years to cats’ lives. Your vet will let you know his recommended frequency of visits.
Getting kittens to have their fingers in their mouths and continuing this practice throughout adulthood prepares them for vet visits. Doctors and staff have to put their fingers in there for examination purposes. You don’t want a bitten cat, do you? You can really appreciate this when you have to force feed them “pills” for elderly care medications. If tapeworm is present, the medication comes in pills.
The fun part of caring for senior cats is caring for long-haired cats every day. Others should be treated twice a week. Brush or comb in the opposite direction of the hair to help get close to the epidermis and hair roots. Grooming in this way brings the hair oils to the parts of the hair that need it. Have you noticed any fleas, lice, mites or ticks, so you will be able to treat them immediately and before they get out of control. Grooming is the perfect way to bond with your feline and your cat likes to bond in this way because that’s how it’s done in nature.
Vigorous play with indoor cats is important for senior care. This is the only time they have the opportunity to exercise and sleep more soundly as a result.
Remember, weight management, the right foods and supplements, grooming, vigorous exercise and regular vet visits starting as kittens take care of older cats.
By Drew Mezo
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