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Behavior Issues For Older Cats

With reference to to the Guinness Book of World Records, the oldest cat survived to be in its 30’s, but most cats, even ones with protective owners, don’t even make it past 20 years. It may be a shock to realize that the cat who was a kitten when the owner’s human child was a baby is now an old cat as the human baby has not even reached maturity. But understanding older cat behavior, as well as appreciation and nurturing, can ease your old dear’s transition into their golden years and their final cat run.

Cats retain their feline behavior and attitudes into old age, though they do have lower activity levels. Their movements become less graceful and their coat may not appear as healthy. They might slumber more and more in their favorite chair or in their bed. Other than this, older cat behavior is not that different from younger cat behavior.

More mature cats still purr with contentment, knead the laps of their guardians and behave like kitties when they’re pampered. They will still play with their toys, but without as much spunk as they did when they were youthful. They might even catch a bug or a moth occasionally. It’s important for more mature cats to get their work out to keep their joints from becoming too stiff and their muscles from becoming weak. The older cat may keep its hunting instincts, but will have diminished faculties and speed. So older cats who are allowed to roam are more susceptible to attacks by hawks, coyotes or even dogs.

The guardian needs to pay close attention to an elderly cat’s teeth and gums, and if the cat permits it the guardian might brush their teeth as needed. If the cat doesn’t want this, the guardian might give it a portion of meat occasionally, to help take the place of brushing. If the teeth have to be taken out, the cat can still get down soft food. Adding fiber to the meal also helps to keep cats’ bowels functioning normally. By the way, sometimes an old cat might miss the litter box. It’s important that the litter box be cleaned and the litter exchanged fairly regularly. More mature cats can object to a box that’s dirty.

Other signs to watch out for in a senior cat are:

Loss of appetite
This may be because their mouths are hurting because of periodontal disease, or loose teeth.

Increased thirst
This could be a sign of kidney or liver difficulties, or even diabetes.

Stool that’s too hard or too soft
This might be a sign of a difficulty with the GI track.

Incontinence
This can be because the bladder is paralyzed, or that the more senior cat has a case of cystitis. Cystitis can be treated fairly easily, however.

Lumps and Bumps
These may be harmless, but the owner ought to observe them. If they change in shape or increase in size they could be tumors.

Many elderly cats also begin to lose kidney function, a result of their high protein diet. The weaker kidneys cause the cat lose weight. Sometimes the diet can be improved, but there will come the day when the guardian will have to discuss with the veterinarian what to do about a cat who’s clearly fading.

When the time arrives to say goodbye, the cat owner who has been good, loving and responsible will be sad, but will know they’ve done all they could to give their old cat a good, long and satisfying life.


Posted under Cat and Dog Helath Care, Cat Health Care Guide, Cats And Kittens

This post was written by TKB_Editor on September 18, 2015

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