Ageing cat: everything you need to know
When your cat gets old, both its body and behaviour change. Signs of aging are progressive in cats: their senses (sight, hearing, smell) weaken; breath becomes fouler due to dental problems.
We can see that a cat is becoming deaf when he/she no longer reacts to sound stimuli that previously made him/her react. For example, you can try to call them by their name or snap your fingers behind their head. A deaf cat is at great risk if he/she is allowed to go out, as they are unable to detect danger.
Smell is fundamental to encourage a cat to taste a meal, and if this sense is diminished, then nothing seems appetising to them. Since heat makes the smell more intense, a slightly warm dish can be used to stimulate their appetite.
Appetite can become a problem for older cats. An old cat loses muscle mass and looks bonier. But they can, on the other hand, become obese, even if they eat the same as before, because they are less active. First and foremost, ensure that the cause of this change is not a medical problem.
Changes in behaviour of an aging cat
The hair can become drier and the skin less elastic. The cat is no longer as attentive to grooming as they used to be, because they are no longer as agile in their movements. It is therefore recommended to consult your veterinarian and help your cat stay clean by brushing them more frequently. Behaviour also tends to change with age.
The ageing cat prefers to sleep rather than climb curtains or perform acrobatics on furniture. It is therefore important to continue to stimulate them through play, encourage them to follow you around your home in order to maintain their interest and offer them another activity. Remember that behavioural problems are often linked to health problems.
If a cat that is usually sweet and affectionate becomes irritable and cranky, they may simply be expressing chronic pain. A cat who suddenly neglects their litter box may, for example, be suffering from a urinary tract infection or diabetes.
This is why it is always a good idea to carefully observe your cat's behavioural changes and body language.