As cats grow older, they become more prone to health problems including arthritis, diabetes and urinary tract infections. While there is nothing you can do to 100% ensure that your cat does not become ill, there are some strategies you can use to reduce your older cat's risk of illness and keep him in better health.
Cats' energy levels seem to decrease when they get older. This means you'll have to put a little more effort into keeping your cat active. But, it's worth it – getting plenty of exercise will help your cat maintain a healthy weight, reducing the risk of diabetes, and it will also keep the joints loose, preventing arthritis pain. Some good ways to increase the amount of exercise your cat gets include:
- Feeding your cat at the top of a cat tower or bookshelf so that he or she has to climb or jump in order to eat (only do this for cats who are still reasonably agile)
- Keeping the food, water and litter box in separate rooms so your cat has to walk more
- Investing in a robotic cat toy that moves around for your cat to chase when you're not home
- Placing food in a specially-designed food dispenser ball that your cat has to bat around in order to get the food to leak out.
Feed a Cat Food Made For Older Cats
Once your cat is about 9 years old, he is approaching older age and will be slowing down a bit. At this point, it's important to switch to a food made specifically for older cats. This will serve several purposes. First, it will help ensure that your cat is not getting too many calories. Foods made for older cats are generally less calorie dense, since older cats move around less and will put on weight if they are fed a diet that's too calorie dense.
Also, foods made for older cats are usually lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein and fats. This helps ward off diabetes and also ensures that your cat gets the fatty acids he needs for healthy joints. Foods made for older cats are also softer and easier to chew, which ensures that cats who are beginning to develop dental problems are able to eat comfortably.
By switching your cat over to a food made for older cats and also ensuring he or she is getting plenty of exercise, you'll be doing your part to ensure healthy, happy aging. Remember to also take your cat to the vet for regular checkups so that any problems that do develop are diagnosed and treated early.
For more information, contact Northside Emergency Pet Clinic or a similar location.