What to expect from your older cat
As your cat ages, you may notice that they spend less time running around playing and a bit more time resting and hiding. Many older cats may suffer from arthritis and other age-related ailments and cognitive changes but this doesn’t mean that your cat prefers to be inactive. It is important that aging cats still stay physically and mentally stimulated, which can still easily be accomplished by slowing activities down a bit and making a few simple adjustments.
Toys and activities
Below are a list of toys that are senior-cat and pocket book friendly that will offer you and your fluffy friend many hours of entertainment:
- Paper bags- Believe it or not but a simple paper bag can keep your cat super happy! Place your cat’s favorite food, treats, and toys inside the bag for fluffy to seek out or just let your cat climb inside and hide. Make sure to put the bag somewhere it can’t be stepped on accidentally.
- Boxes – Boxes and cats seem to go together like peas and carrots. The Internet is full of pictures showing cats happily hanging out in boxes of various sizes. So why not take advantage of a spare box or two you may have lying around the house? Poke holes in it so your cat can see out. Fill the box with some fun toys or treats and voila! Your cat literally has a toy box! If the walls of the box are too high for your older cat to get into, try cutting down the sides to make the box more accessible.
- Balls – If you don’t have some already, go out and pick up a few – you can find them at your pet supply store made just for cats. On the cat-toy market today you can also find balls that allow cat parents to place treats inside. Not only is this mentally stimulating for your cat it will offer your cat some physical activity as well. Cats are natural hunters, which will make this incentivized task even more rewarding.
- Towers – As your cat grows older, she is going to need and enjoy her “me time” a lot more. Which is why a kitty tower is such an excellent addition to your kitty arsenal of fun things to do. Not only does a kitty tower provide your cat with physical activity, because she has to climb it, your cat will also have a fun vantage point in which to safely observe the world going on around her. A tower with a few shelves is sure to become Fluffy’s favorite.
- Hide some of her food or have treasure hunts–As mentioned above, cats are natural hunters and because of this, even as they age, they do not lose their instinctual desire to partake in this feline activity. With a little creativity and some of your cat’s favorite treats or food, you can have a treasure hunt with your cat. Strategically and easily place your cat’s yum-yums where she can seek them out. Enjoy watching your cat enjoy herself and stay mentally and physically sharp.
How to keep your cat comfortable
- Stay consistent – Don’t change your kitty’s food unless specifically told to do so by your cat’s veterinarian.
- De-clutter – As cats age they can experience some cognitive impairments and some confusion from time to time. Because of this it is a good idea to remove any old or unused toys your cat doesn’t play with anymore or anything else that could impede your cat’s day-to-day coming and goings. This includes anything she may need to unnecessarily have to jump over to get to a litter box or food.
- Limit space –As discussed, it is not uncommon for older cats to become confused at times, which is why it is important to make things as simple for your cat as possible. One thing you can do at night, when many cats are active but their human companions are not, is limit the space you give her to do her usual wandering. Give Fluffy access to only one level in your home instead of multiple levels that require stairs to access. You may even choose to limit kitty’s activities to one room, just make sure her litter box, food and water are available.
- Viewing enjoyment–Make sure your kitty has plenty of stimulating stuff to look at. If you don’t already have one, set up a comfy perch near a window where Fluffy can view the world outside. If you don’t have a suitable window available there are videos designed especially to keep cats engaged.