Reducing these stress factors will help your cat feel better. If you are moving house, make sure your puss is moved quietly and that their favourite bedding and familiar food, water and litter box are used in the new house. Many cats become aggressive or anxious as they age. Arthritis can be very painful, and inhibits the cat’s ability to run and jump. Appetite also lessens with age, due to the cat’s decreased taste and smell. Cats may lose weight and become more prone to bowel problems, such as constipation. It is well noticed that cats become more yowly and vocal as they age, and often more demanding!
Older cats may cry or call, especially at night. Deafness is thought to play a role in the harshness of the cry. Like people get Alzheimer’s, older cats can suffer from senility and short-term memory problems, causing general confusion at night. Be sensitive to what your cat is going through and give him or her lots of care and attention. As cats become older, they also sleep more. This includes any sleeping, from deep sleep to cat naps to dozing. Older cats go out less, explore less and generally do less, giving them more time to rest and sleep.
Older cats are more sensitive to the cold. Their favourite place to sleep will most likely be near a heat source, such as a radiator or warm pipe. As cats age, they may feel colder, or even suffer hypothermia in some cases. As cats lose weight, they become more boney, so will look for soft, cushioned places to rest. The older cat’s fur is not how it used to be, so their coat is less resistant to cold and wet. How can I help my cat be more comfortable in old age? Sadly chronic illness is a big factor that can affect the older cat’s behaviour.
For example, a kidney problem will make the cat drink more, and deafness will make the cat more vocal. We want your cat to be happy and comfortable well into old age! It is best to treat any illness as soon as possible, be that to cure it or control and manage it to ensure a high quality of life. Give them an old age diet, such as Royal Canin Senior, which helps to protect the kidneys. Of course, like people, all cats are individuals and cats will age differently. Some may be perfectly fine their entire life.
Cats are sweet creatures and caring for an older cat is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Excellent vet care and small adaptations to your home can improve your cat’s quality of life for many more years. Ian Stroud is a highly experienced small animal veterinary surgeon with over 15 years working in practice. He currently practices in Teddington, Shepperton and Surbiton where he is the director of Vet4life. We have an 18 yr old female cat. She became very deaf some years ago. That apart she is in v.
Well muscled, good coat, teeth, eats well, leaps chair to settee to windows to table to chair etc. However she continually meows and you’ll at night. She is now sound asleep. We have tried keeping her occupied and awake for much of the day but no good. Last night was particularly bad. It sounds like your cat is doing well considering her age.
However being unsettled at night can often be a sign of underlying medical problems. For example the thyroid disease hyperthyroidism is common in elderly cats and is frequently associated with behaviour changes and hyperactivity. Other conditions, such as arthritis, could cause discomfort that may make it difficult for her to settle overnight. Cats often mask their pain and so cats with chronic mild discomfort may only show very subtle signs that an owner may not always notice at home. It is important that she has a consultation with a vet to assess her general health and ensure that the night crying is not due to a medical issue. Elderly cats can also suffer dementia type signs in old age. This may also be more noticeable since she is deaf and is therefore likely to vocalise more loudly, she won’t know how loud her voice is! If her health is found to be OK then there are measures you can take to try and help her settle overnight. Providing her with a quiet secure room that she can stay in overnight will help prevent her wandering the house. Place a warm bed, ideally slightly elevated so she feels secure with a view of her surroundings, as well as fresh litter, her food and water. A Feliway diffuser, which is an analogue of the calming facial pheromone, will also help her to feel more relaxed. Cats are also very susceptible to stress induced by changes in their environment. Try to identify triggers that may have set off this new behaviour. Renovations, house guests, a new pet or cat coming close to her territory may be enough to make her anxious. If you have other cats then ensure that there are adequate resources .