No matter how much you want them to stay adorable kittens, every cat eventually grows up to become an adorable senior. In fact, thanks to improvements in medical care and nutrition, cats are now living longer and healthier lives than ever before.
But as they age, your cat’s needs can change. By staying aware of the common signs of aging in cats and making a few adjustments to help them stay comfortable, you can turn your cat’s older years into their golden years.
Signs of aging in senior cats
Every feline is unique, but cats are usually considered senior once they reach 7 years old. Your older cat isn’t going to start leaving the blinker on or hiking their pants up to their armpits, but there are signs that may indicate your cat is getting on in years.
Changes in weight
Older cats often eat less as their senses of smell and taste diminish. Sudden weight loss or gain could be a sign that something is off.
Low energy and listlessness
We all know cats love to sleep, but if yours is sleeping more than usual and doesn’t show the same interest in playing or other activities, it could indicate lower energy levels. Not being able to jump or climb to their favorite spots could be a sign of arthritis as well.
It’s a good idea to check your older cat’s teeth more often, looking for any changes in appearance. If they’re pawing at their mouth or aren’t eating as much, it could mean something is amiss. If you suspect there’s an issue, consult your vet.
Enjoying your cat’s golden years together
With a few simple changes, you can keep your older cat happy and comfortable for many years to come — here’s how.
Serve a healthy diet
Your older cat probably won’t ask for the senior dinner discount at 4 p.m., but you should still make sure they’re eating food packed with nutritious, quality ingredients. IAMS™ PROACTIVE HEALTH™ Healthy Senior dry cat food has two times the antioxidants for healthy immunity vs. IAMS™ Healthy Adult™ and has real chicken as the first ingredient.
For wet food lovers, IAMS™ PERFECT PORTIONS™ Healthy Senior Chicken Recipe Wet Cat Food is perfectly balanced to maintain health, and it has vitamin E to support your senior cat’s immune system. Older cats love the easy-to-chew-and-digest texture, too. And you should always listen to your elders.
It can be harder for older cats to groom themselves as thoroughly as before. You can lend a helping hand by giving them regular brushings. Make sure to keep their nails trimmed, too. It’s a great way to spend some extra quality time together.
After years of leaping onto the kitchen counter when you weren’t looking, your senior kitty might have trouble getting to their favorite spots. You may want to place a ramp or folding steps near their favorite couch or bed so they don’t have to jump as much. Make sure they have easy access to their food and litter box, too. Adding a litter box on each floor of your house can help prevent accidents.
Routines are relaxing
Older cats are cute curmudgeons who love their routines, dagnabbit. The more you’re able to keep things consistent and predictable, the calmer and less frightened they’ll be.
Scheduled vet visits
One cat year is like four human years, so a lot can happen in that span, especially in older cats. More frequent vet exams can detect health issues before they become serious.
Cats crave warmth. Make sure your grandcat has access to a number of sunny spots or heating vents to keep them toasty. Leave comfortable, warm blankets around your home for lounging, and consider bumping up the thermostat a degree or two for them — even though their favorite furnace will always be your lap.
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This article is part of a series on how to spot signs of a healthy cat. You can learn more about the key signs here.
Cats don’t lack personality; that’s for sure. They can be shy, outgoing, snuggly, independent, energetic, relaxed and everything in between. Yet some breeds tend to exhibit certain traits more strongly than others. Here are our picks for what we’re calling the Cat Personality Awards.
The friendliest cat breed:
This larger cat has a big heart to match. They’re often very social and happy to chat with you, whether they’re curled up on your lap or following you around the house. They make excellent family pets because more family members means more people to snuggle and play with.
Also outgoing: Ragdoll, Siamese, Burmese
The most laid-back cat breed:
Gentle and calm, this soft and silky-furred feline is friendly without being demanding. Ragdolls are usually totally cool sharing a house with other pets and kids. They don’t stress much about routine changes or even being carried around. Their motto? It’s all good.
Other cool kitties: Scottish fold, Birman, British shorthair
The most playful cat breed:
Making up around 90% of cats in the U.S., with more than 80 colors and patterns, domestic shorthairs are a melting pot of different breeds. They were originally working cats used to hunt mice and other critters on farms. They still love to stalk, hunt and pounce on toys and play games with their owners — so expect to spend lots of energetic playtime together.
Also ready to play: Siamese, Maine coon, Manx
The most independent cat breed:
This popular breed has been around humans since the 1600s, but is satisfied doing its own thing. Gentle, docile and quiet, Persian cats don’t insist on a lot of attention. They’re just as content sitting on your lap or observing what’s going on by themselves from a sunny perch across the room. They can be discerning in who they give their affection to, but you’ll be on their good side once you earn their trust.
Also fine on their own: Russian blue, American shorthair, Norwegian Forest cat
The most trainable cat breed:
The idea of training a cat may seem hilarious, but the curiosity and intelligence of Abyssinians make them highly trainable. Some can even be taught tricks or to walk on a leash and harness. Training and playing games are perfect ways to direct their affectionate energy.
Also eager to learn: Bengal, Siamese, American shorthair
The cleanest cat breed:
Owning this affectionate, hairless breed means you can spend more time cuddling and less time lint-rolling your clothes. They do require regular baths, but that just means more time to hang out together.
Other neat freaks: Siamese, Russian blue
The best cat for first-time owners:
it’s a toss-up!
Thinking of getting your first kitty? It’s hard to pick just one breed, so we’ve got three:
- Maine coons are super friendly and charming, and adapt well in a variety of living situations.
- Siamese are clean, love to talk and are very loyal.
- American shorthairs are smart, playful and independent.
Remember, most cats — especially those found in shelters — are a mix of breeds, which just means they often combine the best of all cat personality traits! Whatever personality you’re looking for in a cat, you’ll know it when you find your fuzzy soulmate.
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