Most of us humans wish that our pets could live forever or at least as long as we do, but unfortunately most of the time, this isn’t the case. As with any life form on Earth, our beloved pets get older and at some point enter the “senior” age range.
For cats, this usually comes around the age of 10 or higher and is when our kitty friends start to slow down a little. We like to think of it as “cat retirement” because our feline friends will spend most days sunbathing in the window and chowing down on delectable treats - while marveling at the shredded armrest on the sofa, wondering - “when did I have all that energy!”
Risks of Inactivity in Older Cats
It’s important to realize, though, that even though our cats have entered “retirement” it’s still important to make sure they get some activity in (yawning doesn’t count!). One of the many complications that arise during a cat’s senior years is obesity due to the lack of exercise a senior cat is getting. Obesity can lead to even more health complications and decrease the lifespan of your furry friend.
These health risks include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Cardiovascular issues
So, it’s our duty as responsible, cat-loving owners to educate ourselves on methods of keeping our retired cats active by providing them with a mentally stimulating environment.
Tips to Keep Grandpa Cat Happy and Healthy
- Invest in toys
The more interesting the toy, the more likely your senior cat will play with it. Pet stores or online retailers such as Amazon are stocked with all sorts of new gadgets for your cat to enjoy. There are electronic toy mice that are powered by batteries that race around your house, which is sure to get your senior cat hunting and chasing after it.
If your cat is slower and can’t run very well, there are a variety of stationary toys that will provide her light exercise and get her brain thinking. The best toys in this category are puzzle feeders—such as the Cat Amazing toy—which embraces your cat’s natural ability to hunt and uses the top method of persuasion to get them moving—kitty treats! By purchasing a toy that gets your cat moving and gets them to think, you’ll keep your senior cat at the top of her game both physically and mentally. You’ll be happy as well, that she’s still having so much fun in her old age!
- Get Catnip
Just because they’re old doesn’t mean they don’t like getting high! Catnip is guaranteed to get your cat—no matter her age—riled up and moving around the house. You can purchase catnip toys, or, if you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint and buy less, you can purchase the catnip herb and create your own toy out of old socks or mittens. It’s a great way to recycle old clothes you don’t wear and get your senior cat moving.
- Get—or make—a tall cat tower
Cats love tall places. It’s why a lot of our feline friends can be found lounging on top of the cupboards or fridge and perched atop those closet shelves. When a cat gets to be older, though, it may be harder for her to jump to those high places. This is when cat towers become so helpful because they have various ledges leading up to the top that are a shorter distance for senior cats to jump to. We also recommend placing the cat tower near a sunny window so your cat can watch the birds or squirrels outside. You could even put a bird feeder right outside the window so she’s always got something to look at outside.
If you don’t want to purchase a new cat tower, try creating some smaller ledges using a step ladder or ottoman for your cat to jump on so she can get to those higher places in your home without putting any extra strain on her joints.
So, what are you waiting for? Start using some of these helpful tips to keep your senior cat healthy for years to come. We’re positive she’ll thank you in purrs, head butts, and night time snuggles.