Author, Darlene Wager of Professional Pet Sitting Etc.
We love our pets, and want only the best for them throughout their lives and, especially, as they get older. If you’re the parent of a cherished cat entering her golden years, there are some things you can do to help her age gracefully and comfortably.
Feed your senior a balanced, antioxidant rich, feline-appropriate diet that includes omega-3 essential fats, such as krill oil. Moisture is an aging cat’s best friend, so encourage adequate hydration by providing a variety of water bowls throughout your house, in addition to minimizing dry food, which contains minimal water. If your cat is addicted to poor-quality dry food, try adding a whole body supplement, such as Standard Process Feline Whole Body Support.
Provide your kitty with a SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) supplement as a safe and effective way to stall or improve mental decline, improve mobility, and assist in liver detoxification. Some researchers believe SAMe may also be helpful in other conditions related to the damage of cell membranes such as diabetes, pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, Cushing’s disease, autoimmune disorders and certain heart conditions. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the proper dosage for your feline.
Coconut oil, a rich source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), has been shown to be safe for cats and can improve brain energy metabolism and decrease protein build-up that results in brain lesions in aging pets. It may even reduce your kitty’s hairball issues. Serve ¼ teaspoon for every 10 pounds of your cat’s body weight twice daily.
For aging kitties who prowl the house all night and vocalize (as many seniors do), consider a low dose of melatonin, which is a sedative with a calming effect that will help kitty sleep. Some vets even prescribe this supplement to treat mild feline anxiety, and it’s an effective antioxidant. Since melatonin is a hormone, not a drug, it has few side effects and can be used long-term. Again, consult with your vet regarding correct dosage.
Keep your cat’s mind and body active with regular exercise that is appropriate for her age and physical condition. Think of creative ways to enrich your cat’s indoor environment, like hiding bits of food or treats throughout the house, encouraging her to “hunt;” providing scratching posts and perches; and adding a shelf beneath a window so she can sit and watch the outdoor activities. Provide mental stimulation with puzzles and treat-release toys. And, of course, have regular playtime with your feline which not only serves as exercise, but also as much needed bonding time.
Set aside time every day to socialize with your senior. Ensure meals are provided on a consistent schedule, along with playtime and petting/lap time. If your cat enjoys being brushed or combed, work that into the daily schedule as well, to assist her with her own grooming chores, as they may slack as she ages. If she’ll allow it, trim the hair around her private areas since her age likely impacts her ability to reach those areas on her own.
As cats age, they may experience potty accidents. If eliminating outside the litter box is an issue, try putting additional boxes around the house. Make sure kitty is comfortable when getting into and out of the box. Cats are masters when it comes to hiding arthritis and other aches and pains, which can limit their ability to climb into high-sided boxes, or boxes kept in bathtubs or up a flight of stairs, for example.
We wish our pets could live as long as we do but, sadly, that just isn’t so. Do anything and everything you can to ensure your favorite feline is comfortable, happy and as healthy as possible while she’s here.
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Dorinne Whynott, is a long time animal professional. She is a successful business owner establishing one of the largest pet sitting companies in New Hampshire since 1990. Click to Read her complete History.
Professional Pet Sitting Etc. is a leading business in the pet care field and continues to grow since 1990. It is an AWARD WINNING business, having been awarded the 2015 Best Pet Sitting , 2015 Best Dog Walker, Business of the Year Awards in 1996, 1997, 2006 and 2010. It boasts 30+ amazing pet sitters on staff, over 3000 clients in 38 cities from Nashua to Concord, NH. Hundreds of satisfied client testimonials can be found on their website and more 5 star reviews on their Facebook page, Google+ page and more. They have sustained an A+ rating with the BBB, A rating with Angie’s List and are unmatched in the Pet Sitting Industry in New Hampshire.
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