- Jen Van de Kieft
Improve Quality of Life in Geriatric Cats
This is Max, pictured above. Max came into our life at the age of 15. He had a series of health issues including diabetes and needed insulin injections twice daily. Although his health issues affected him physically, he was an incredibly affectionate cat, and loved to play. He passed away 9 months after he came into our home, and we miss him dearly.
Geriatric cats, typically 15 years and older, can start to show signs of slowing down - including sleeping more, decrease in activity, and mobility issues. At this stage, cats are likely developing chronic medical issues and should be seen at least twice yearly by their veterinarian as changes can happen quickly at this stage. Keep cats comfortable at home by making these slight adjustments:
Night lights may help seniors from being disoriented in the dark, and are important near resource locations like food and litter;
Ensure multiple comfortable warm (use heating pads) areas for resting that are easily accessible;
Groom coat and nails regularly;
Provide physical and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and keep active;
Keep careful track of food and water intake, as well as weight changes, to help identify health issues;
Lower litter box walls and taller feeding areas help cats with mobility issues;
Limit environmental changes which can be stressful;
Behavioral changes should be discussed with a veterinarian as they can indicate medical issues.