If we see an old person, none of us thinks it is a boy of fifteen. Note the signs of aging in a person is not difficult, because the hair turn white, face form of wrinkles, the skin tends to fall and there are problems in walking, which usually are most noticeable.
But when we look at a cat these signs are: an older cat does not have wrinkles, his hair is white like polar bear and the difficulty in movement, if any, are masked by the fact that owners often do not have the eye trained to recognize them and by the fact that the cat … Well, eats and sleeps, moves very little.
So the only way to understand that a cat is getting older (veterinarians fail to understand, however, considering various factors that are out of reach of the average person) is age. A cat is considered old when it starts to exceed the age of 12 years, which is roughly equal to that of a man sixty-five, whereas a cat can get to live for 20 years.
How does an older cat?
If we treated our furry friend until he reached the age of 12, it means that we had an appropriate behavior towards him.
Getting to 12 years usually means, for a male, to be castrated, because for those who do not is difficult to arrive at that age because of very common diseases such as FIV and FeLV, which can lead to death.
So, in essence, our behavior toward him should not vary, not to be locked up in a glass bubble but must continue to live as usual. There are rules to which we should always pay attention not so much to improve or avoid those problems typical of old age that are inevitably present, as to make sure that the same problems do not become real obstacles to the cat’s life.
We will notice, for example, the cat tends to lose weight because its metabolism is no longer optimal, as well as to the fact that if we do not move willingly, and when we reach the call calmly, even to eat. It will also tend to avoid the company and feel more and more “inward looking”.
How should we deal with the older cat?
The rules to make him feel at ease anyway despite his age are not difficult to follow, just do a little ‘attention to some aspects.
Since the cat tends to lose weight because of its metabolism and difficult to digest, such as dry food, but we opt for wet food and easily digestible, preferably with more energy to compensate for the weight loss due to age.
Even older cats, like people, have joint problems, and have problems, for example, to jump if there is a place in which he likes to stay or if we are used to make him jump on the furniture, for example on bed, let us help provide a rudimentary staircase (a shoebox beside the bed will do) so that its joints will not stress more than necessary.
Children like cats, but if a young kitten is prone to play and run, an older cat may be irritated and react badly, especially if the presence of little children is sporadic. We tell children to leave him alone, maybe only to pet it.
Instead, we try to always keep the cat trained and do not become a vegetable every day: quietly and without being too heavy we take a few minutes a day to play with him, so as to stimulate activity.
We must also pay attention cleaning the cat. A senior animal tends to wipe less on their own, and it is also more subject to infections, even the simplest ones like the skin: care must be taken that despite the hair remains opaque as a sign of age, it is still clean; let’s clean him, at least once a week, especially at points where dirt tends to accumulate, and if there are knots let’s remove them: action that, in case there was something wrong, let you locate it immediately and bring the cat to a veterinarian (which still occasionally be made just for general check-up) to trim the bud the problems that might occur.
Having an older cat, then, does not mean that we must change our habits than having a cat in the prime of life: it just means some forethought, proper care and a little ‘attention. So that your four-legged friend will be able to keep you company for many years.