November is Adopt A Senior Pet Month, so it’s a good time to go over preparing your home for an older feline, whether you plan to adopt or your current kitty resident is getting up there in years.
If we’re lucky, all of our cats will live long enough to become seniors. Living with a senior cat has many advantages, not the least of which is the fact that senior cats tend to be much more calm and well-mannered than their younger counterparts. As our cats mature, there are some things we can do to make their lives easier and more enjoyable.
1. Install A Night Light
As your cat gets older, their eyesight may begin to weaken. Many cats sleep during the day and spend the night exploring and hunting. Installing a night light will help them safely and confidently continue hunting at night even when their vision isn’t as sharp as it used to be.
2. Employ Ramps, Steps, And Stools
Stiff or achy joints may deter your cat from sleeping on your bed or the highest tier of the cat tree. You can keep their favorite spots accessible to them by adding ramps, steps, and stools to your home. A strategically placed stool by the bed can help a cat regain confidence.
3. Add More Litter Boxes
As your cat gets older, they may not have as much control over her bladder. This, paired with less mobility, could lead to accidents. If your home is large or multi-floored, add another litter box or two so they won’t have to travel as far to find one.
4. Create A Calmer, Quieter Space
Cats use their senses of sight, hearing, and smell to determine whether an environment is safe. When these senses become dull, a senior cat in a loud or social home may feel anxious or on edge. The same can be said for senior cats who share their home with more rambunctious younger animals or children. If your home is a bit wild, don’t worry– you can create a quiet space for your senior cat in a low-traffic area of your home, such as a bedroom or closet. Just be sure that your cat has access to the essentials (litter box, food, fresh water) without venturing too far from their safe space.
5. Give Extra Care
As your cat gets older, it will be even more important to keep on top of annual checkups to make sure their organs are functioning properly, or to build a plan early with your vet if they aren’t. Your vet will also help you assess whether your cat should be on a special diet based on their individual needs. As your cat becomes less flexible, they may also need a little help with grooming. Having a good brush and some pet wipes on hand will help.
In the end, the most important thing will be to remain patient while your cat adjusts to their changing body, even if it means they don’t quite make it to the litter box now and then. Being with a friend towards the end of their life is a privilege. Embrace it with the love, care, and compassion you both deserve, and the benefits will be returned tenfold.
Do you have a senior cat at home? Are you planning to adopt an older kitty during Adopt A Senior Pet Month? Let us know in the comments below!