The average life expectancy of well-cared-for cats is 14 or 15 years, with some occasionally reaching 20 years. More cats are kept indoors away from traffic hazards and disease prevention advances have resulted in an increase in life expectancy.
SENIOR YEARS OF THE CAT
Around the age of 10, your cat may begin to show signs of aging, such as weight loss (or gain), deteriorating vision, dental disease, decreased mobility, a thinner, less shiny coat, and a decrease in fastidious grooming. You may also notice changes in his personality, such as an increase in noise and irritability, especially at night. Senior cats often feel disoriented and may go outside the litter box to relieve themselves.
It will be necessary to check the health of the older cat more frequently. Make sure to take him to the vet twice a year for a routine check-up. There are now many veterinary practices that offer clinics for older cats so that they can be detected and treated for age-related problems. Even senility can be managed with a variety of treatments now available.
CARE FOR CATS AT HOME
In order to maximize your cat’s comfort and well-being as he ages, you may need to make changes to his diet and living conditions. If your cat’s metabolism and digestion have changed, your vet may recommend a senior diet that provides the correct nutrients. There is a possibility that your cat prefers smaller meals more frequently during the day. You can tempt him with warmer or tastier foods if he doesn’t seem to be interested in eating.
Every two weeks, you should also weigh your cat. The reason is that cats who are older can gain excessive weight due to inactivity, or lose weight due to conditions such as hyperthyroidism, a hormonal disorder that is common in older individuals.
In time, your cat’s body will become less supple, making it more difficult for him to groom hard-to-reach areas. He will be more comfortable if you brush him a few times a week. It is important to clip his claws regularly or ask your vet to do it for you if he is not very active. When he is not very active, his claws can grow harder and become overgrown. Ensure that your cat doesn’t have to jump up to reach his bowls if he is no longer as agile as he used to be.
The litter boxes and bowls should be placed in quiet places in the house where he won’t be disturbed. You can nonetheless let him reach his favorite perches and windowsills by using boxes or furniture as stepping stones. Your cat will feel more comfortable sleeping in a warm, comfortable cat bed if you place it in a place where he already likes to sleep. Washable beds are a good option if your cat has a problem with soiling. Cardboard boxes lined with newspaper can also be used in this case.
The litter box in the house is a good idea even if your cat prefers to urinate and defecate outside. Cats who are older are less likely to go outside, either because they fear confrontation with other cats or because they do not have the desire to hunt and explore. Cats of all ages enjoy playing with toys, so make sure you provide him with some. The more gentle you are in your play with your cat, the better it is for your cat’s mind to stay active, and you will let him express his natural instincts.
SIGNS OF CAT WARNING
In order to detect any changes in the normal behavior of an older cat, you should keep an eye on him more closely. Any of the following changes should be reported to your veterinarian. Be on the lookout for any changes in appetite, such as a ravenous appetite coupled with weight loss despite eating regularly. The opposite may be true if your cat apparently needs to eat, but turns away from certain foods (particularly hard foods), or paws at his mouth, which is a sign of loose or painful teeth.
Changing your cat’s litter box or drinking from the bathroom faucet could indicate an increase in thirst. Dehydration may also occur in elderly cats. By holding the scruff of the neck and releasing it, you can determine whether it is frosted. It is likely that the cat is not getting enough liquid if the skin doesn’t immediately fall back. In the event that your cat strains or tears when excreting feces or urine, or starts to have “accidents” at home, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
A bowel or bladder disorder may need to be investigated. The stiff joints or arthritis in older cats may make them difficult to run or jump, and your cat may have trouble climbing steps. Occasionally, elderly cats are unable to see well, which results in them bumping into things and misjudging heights. In the case of very sick cats or those who are showing signs of dementia, a cat may become more aggressive or withdrawn, hideaway, or meow more than usual.
DRINKING HABITS THAT ARE UNUSUAL
In case your cat is drinking more water than usual, tell your veterinarian. This could include water from puddles or a dripping faucet. Older cats may experience excessive thirst due to various disorders.
CATERING TO SMALLER APPETITES
There is a tendency for older cats to lose the robust appetite they once had. Providing frequent small meals and a few extra-tasty treats may help your senior maintain a healthy intake of nutrients. For an elderly cat with stiff joints, climbing stairs can be quite a challenge. All floors of your home should have litter boxes, bowls, and beds for your senior pet.
The lifespan of a cat is estimated to be seven years, while that of a human is one year. In recent years, pet cats have lived longer, so this is not a reliable comparison. The analysis also ignores the fact that cats and humans develop into adulthood at very different rates. In comparison with a seven-year-old child, a one-year-old cat can reproduce and raise kittens.
The life expectancy of a cat is roughly the same as that of a person in their early 40s when it is about three years old. It takes about three cat years to equal one human year from then on. Here is a chart that will help you estimate your cat’s “human age.”
Sometimes, the most compassionate thing to do for an elderly or sick cat is to give him a dignified, peaceful death. Most euthanasias are performed in veterinary practices, but they can also be performed at home (with advance booking required). An overdose of anesthetic will be injected into a vein in the front leg by the vet. Before passing away, the cat will become unconscious and lose consciousness.
Involuntary movements may occur, and the bladder or bowels may empty. A cremation can be arranged for your cat, or you can choose to take the body home. Others choose to bury their pets in pet cemeteries, while others bury them in their yard near one of their favorite places.
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