Aging Cats: Difficulty Moving
Aging cats have trouble getting around - why? How can you keep your older cat active?
As your cat ages, it will naturally go through body changes and you can help your cat adapt. Here are a few things to look for.
What are the signs of arthritis in your cats?
Lack of mobility. Many times cats' favorite spots are up high or on ledges. If it does not jump up to its spot as often as it used to, it might be experiencing arthritis and may require a trip to the veterinarian. Some over-the-counter products give some relief, but it is best to check with your vet first about medications. Even if your vet prescribes it, you will want to follow the dosage. Cats have a very low tolerance for some anti-inflammatory medications.
Why is exercise important for your cats?
Cats lose muscle tone and mass when they do not exercise. Exercise is also important for their overall health. It helps their cardiovascular and nervous systems. If your cat is slowing down, it is important to keep them up and moving.
What happens if they cannot see their toys?
If for some reason your cats do not notice new toys, they may have a vision problem. Your cat should get an eye exam each year during its regular exam. If it is losing its sight, you will have to decide whether to move its food and water.
Should you move its food?
While you do want your cats to exercise, you do not want them to have to work for food or water. You may want to put their necessities on a level that's more accessible to them. The same goes for the litter box.
Should you feed them less?
When people age, their metabolisms slow. It also happens in many animals, but not in cats. You will want to give them the same amount of food as they age, to make sure they get the same amount of nutrition.
What else should you look for?
Once your cat starts to slow down, you will need to be aware of other diseases it could get. Lack of movement can slow its digestive track; in turn making it constipated. Perhaps set out more water to drink, this may also prevent hairballs. Constipation is also a sign of other diseases. If your cat is constipated, you should take it to the vet.
While many of these things might sound scary, many cats live very long happy lives. The more aware you are of their potential ailments, the more likely you can help relieve problems early on.