This post was incredibly hard and sad for me to write but if it can help other animal lovers like myself who deal with loving and caring then it was worth it. What made it even harder for me is that this post was written on the day before we had to put our little old Heidi to sleep, I then had to go back and alter everything to the past which was awful. So this post is to share my elderly cat care with you from what I have learned over the years.
My three old kitties were geriatric cats. Cats from the age of 11-14 years old are considered seniors ages above are geriatric. I sometimes felt like a nurse in an old age home. Well, I guess that’s what I was, right? A nurse in a furry old age home since Lilly was 18, Lucy was 19 and Heidi was 22. I’m proud that they reached such high ages. I did whatever it took to keep them happy and comfortable until the day it was time to say goodbye.
I think having their teeth cleaned regularly and getting bad ones extracted has really helped them reach a high age.
Elderly cat care tips
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Before I get started, please have your cat get checked regularly, and don’t just use my tips without making sure your cat doesn’t need medical attention. Regular bloodwork checks, dental work, and other tests really help to keep your cats healthy.
Video of some of our elderly cats using their catio
Designated area for their things
My cats had a designated area for all their things with cozy blankets, food, and a fresh clean water fountain, so they didn’t have to walk far. Here is my favorite water fountain.
Easily accessible litter box
Keep a litter box close to them that is easy to enter. But make sure it is further away from the food. If your elderly cat still chooses to pee outside of the box consider using diapers to limit the stress on yourself and the animal. Using diapers has really done wonders for us. It also really helps to keep track of their bowel movements since that is one of the big questions you usually get asked by a vet.
Let me tell you a story: One day, I noticed that our downstairs litter box (the one I kept close to her) was constantly sitting in pee. I finally figured out, after catching her, that she just went straight into the box and let her behind hang out at the end and peed right out of it. There was no way for me to make sure that she used the litterbox correctly. So I decided to try small baby diapers on her. I was able to use human diapers on her because she was a Manx cat which is a cat born without a tail. You can just purchase disposable diapers for small dogs which work great for cats with tails.
She didn’t hate them and actually let me put them on her like a baby. Using diapers was a game-changer for me.
I cleaned their favorite litter box that was kept close to them every day once and sometimes even twice and the rest of the boxes every other day. (You should have one litter box more than the number of cats you have)
Use good urine cleaners
Use a good cat pee cleaner for those accidents. You can use it for pee, poop, and vomit as I did. My absolute favorite is Nature’s Miracle.
Have a set schedule
I gave them their medications every day at the same time and have reminders set on my phone to never forget (which gets kept up by someone else should we go away on vacation). Our calico had hyperthyroidism and needed medication twice daily since she was about 8 years old.
Pay attention to their food intake
All my cats get fed wet food twice a day every day at the same time and have diet dry food sitting out for them to nibble at all times. Pets love a set schedule! As they got older and older, and skinnier and skinnier, I started feeding them more frequently. I added high-calorie paste for them to lick, their favorite treats, probiotics that made them love their food more, boiled chicken or fish.
List of non-prescription supplements I have used over the years
I’ve mentioned on my blog before that we are lucky to have a vet in the family who is always just a text away. She has helped me so much over the years. And all of the supplement suggestions have come from her.
- FortiFlora Cat Probiotic (Great for gut health and for some reason makes them love their food more)
- Nutri-Cal High-Calorie Nutritional Oral Gel Supplement which was necessary when they kept losing weight (play around with other brands, cats don’t like every flavor)
- Cosequin Sprinkle Capsules supports bladder health and optimal joint function
- Rebound Recuperation Formula for Felines helps deliver key recuperation nutrients like Glutamine, Arginine, Taurine, Omega-3 & Omega-6 Fatty Acids and prebiotics to support gastrointestinal health and immune function, and support eating and drinking
- Enisyl-F Lysine Bites which helps support a strong immune system and eye & respiratory health
Help them keep up their grooming and cleaning routine
After brushing them, I cleaned their faces and paws with a warm washcloth because older cats aren’t able to groom themselves the way they used to. They also tend to keep litter on their paws that needs to get cleaned.
Look how full of life she looked when she was younger.
I clipped their claws more often than I used to because they didn’t wear them down anymore the way they used to when they were younger. Unfortunately, I learned that the hard way when we came home from a vacation and our poor old cat had her one claw grown into her paw. Poor baby!
Help them get around the house
Build or buy a ramp for them to get to areas they want to if they can’t jump anymore.
Or I just carried my old ladies around the house with me, so they could stay close to me.
Provide good bedding
Provide a heated spot or bed for them. Just like elderly humans, they suffer from aches and pains and as they get older and skinnier, they tend to be cold and love to snuggle in a warm area even more than they did when they were younger.
And as you can see below, these two elderly ladies were not the best of friends LOL. Just look at Lucy eyeballing her from the chair.
You can check out all my favorite cat products on Amazon.
Tribute: Saying goodbye to my geriatrics cats
All my geriatric cats have passed away now. It’s not easy caring for our beloved kitties when they have reached such a high age. Knowing that we have to face saying goodbye to them one day soon makes it even harder. I’m beyond grateful though that we were lucky enough to have had three cats who reached such a high age.
None of our other cats reached a geriatric age but some of them are thankfully still very young and will hopefully one day grow to very old themselves.
Sorry if I made you sad with my post but it was an important one to write for me.
Do you have any tips that I might have missed?
I have also written some other cat care posts about how to get cats to stop scratching furniture, how to help a scared cat adjust, how to bottle feed kittens, and how I trap, neuter and return feral cats in our neighborhood if you are interested and I’m also hoping to write more of them, so send me ideas if you have questions