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Modifying Your Home to Care for an Elderly Cat: Creating a Safe and Comfortable Space

As our beloved feline friends enter their golden years, their needs evolve. Like humans, elderly cats may face various age-related challenges, including reduced mobility, diminished vision, and more delicate health. As a caring pet owner, you can make this phase of their life more comfortable and joyful by making thoughtful modifications to your home. Here's how to create a safe, serene, and accessible environment for your aging kitty.

Woman cuddling a tabby and white cat
Older cats need plenty of love, but they have other needs as well!

1. Optimize the Living Area for Easy Navigation

As cats age, they may not be as agile as they once were. Arthritis and muscle loss can make it hard for them to jump or climb.

Lower the Heights: Consider providing steps or a ramp to their favourite perch or windowsill. A pet-friendly staircase or ramp can also make their ascent and descent safer if they love lounging on the bed or sofa.

Rethink the Litter Box: Elderly cats might find stepping into a high-sided litter box challenging. Opt for one with lower sides or a cut-out entrance. Keep it in an easily accessible area, ensuring no entry barriers exist.

A tabby cat resting comfortably  on a bed
A soft, warm bed is a must for older cats.

2. Ensure Comfortable Resting Spots

Senior cats spend more time resting, so having comfortable spots to relax is crucial.

Soft Bedding: Provide plush, soft bedding in various spots around the house. Memory foam cat beds can offer extra support for arthritic joints.

Warm Spaces: Older cats might seek warmth more frequently. Ensure their beds are away from drafts and consider a safe, cat-specific heating pad for those colder days.

3. Adjust Nutrition and Hydration Stations

With age, cats might experience a decreased sense of smell and taste, reducing appetite. They also tend to be less hydrated.

Accessible Food and Water: Keep food and water bowls in easily accessible places. Consider elevating the bowls slightly to avoid strain on their neck and arthritic joints.

Encourage Hydration: Older cats are at a higher risk of dehydration. Encourage drinking by providing fresh water daily or investing in a cat water fountain that provides a constant stream of clean, filtered water.

An elderly Siamese cat eating from an elevated ceramic bowl
Elevated food bowls help to reduce stress on joints.

4. Enhance Safety Measures

Reduced vision and hearing can make elderly cats more prone to accidents.

Secure Hazardous Areas: Ensure windows, balconies, or staircases are safely enclosed.

Non-Slip Surfaces: Place rugs or mats where your cat might be prone to slipping, like near the litter box or on sleek floors.

5. Stimulate Their Senses

Maintaining mental agility is crucial for senior cats. Even though they might not have the same energy levels, gentle stimulation is beneficial.

Interactive Toys: Offer toys that encourage gentle play without exerting too much effort. Puzzle feeders can also keep them mentally stimulated.

Routine Grooming: Regularly brush your cat to prevent matting and to keep an eye on any new lumps, bumps, or skin conditions. It's also a comforting ritual that can help strengthen your bond.

A tabby cat on an examination table at the vets
Six-monthly veterinary visits are recommended in cats that are 10+ yrs.

6. Regular Veterinary Check-ups

Elderly cats need frequent veterinary check-ups to monitor their health. We recommend a checkup every four to six months for cats over ten years of age to catch problems early.

Some owners are worried that taking their senior cat to the vet may lead to unwanted interventions or expenses. Early disease detection often leads to lower overall vet bills, modern compounding pharmacy options can ease the stress of medication, and telehealth vet reviews can mean less time spent in the clinic.

An elderly grey cat being held by a man
The golden years can be made easier with a few easy adjustments to the elderly cat's environment and regular health checks.

Creating a senior cat-friendly home and providing optimal medical care doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Elderly cat care involving simple changes can significantly enhance the quality of life for your senior cat, ensuring their golden years are as golden as can be. Remember, a comfortable cat is a happy cat, and these adjustments will go a long way in showing your furry friend just how much you care.


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