Welcome again to my blog my dear feline enthusiasts who love their spouses almost as much as their cat! I will now touch on the subject of food and related issues that might stem from improper usage or feeding of it to your pet. I will also give you some awareness about lifestyle and how it will affect how you should feed your senior feline friend differently than if they were younger or with more energy to give.
Firstly, I would want you to see if this is your cat type…
Or is THIS what your cat is like?
A big difference between them, no?
Common issues related to nutrition:
As a cat ages, their basal metabolism slows down which means calories that are shed for regular body maintenance, repair, and temperature. This usually translates that they will either need to cut back on the caloric intake or we will need to get creative in keeping them active or even to supply them with foods that will rev-up their metabolism.
Direct effects of food on your cat:
Some are poisoning, choking, infection (gastrointestinal and parasitical), malnutrition, lack of energy, indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, intestinal occlusion, dental and gum problems, obesity, food intolerance, and allergies.
Indirect, more long-term effects on cats:
Morbid obesity, anemia, fur and skin issues, thyroid problems, renal insufficiency and failure, liver diseases, heart failure, cancer, arthrosis and definitely a shorter lifespan.
How to avoid all the above:
Be always ready to take your cat to the vet at a phone calls notice. Treat your feline friend as if a child and gather all the numbers, names, and addresses of emergency response for animals, the vet, the cat sitter, the store your buy your food at, the cats known allergies and medications, their specs (name, weight, age,etc.) put on the fridge or any place the sitter or family will easily see and access it.
Be wise enough to keep the instructions of the food packaging and read ingredients carefully before buying. Weigh your cat every so often to adjust the recommended food quantities and frequency of feeding.
Give much freshwater to your cat and try to habituate them to wet cat food and/or alternate between dry and wet but wet is best to prevent renal difficulties in your cat. If you can, to buy a distributor of water and food.
Let me elaborate! The water distributor for cats is like a mini-sized version of our blue 18-liter bottles that we have and it will distribute water ad-lib from source water. Some places that sell bowls for the water offer a low-cost alternative to the blue bottle. The bowl will come equipped with a place you can screw an ordinary source bottle (around 500 ml.), flip it and it will distribute water to your cat as they drink.
The other option for hydrating kitty is the water fountain. It might be considered pricey with a filter to change but it might be worth it to keep your cat well hydrated!
Another option is classical. To leave 2 or more bowls of water at their disposition. Why? They might not be able to get around as easily as before and can have pain that is present at times or chronically.
As for the food, it depends on the cats weight and condition. If they are “chubby”, I wouldn’t recommend the food distributor that is in a blue bottle like the water and you screw the top that is their plate and reverse it so the food goes down in the plate by gravity and as your cat is eating away at the food.
No, if your cat is obese, not only do you not want that (he’ll be looking at the bottle full of food and take it as a challenge, LOL!) but you’ll probably need to acquire a food plate that has a timer that you can program so the cat gets his food at appropriate times and doesn’t overdo it!
You can connect your phone to this feeder and adjust the portions and auto-feed times. See this link for more interesting details about this intelligent dispenser:
Still, another option is the toys, also called “puzzles”, to make them work for their food. It is thought to be the best way as cats are hunters by nature. If you find that too “cruel” for your fur-baby, just put the treats in there for them! But I can assure you that it can be very rewarding for your cat to “hunt” and “catch” their food and it should keep them fit.
I have found a website that just amazes me and takes feeding your feline to the next level! To re-think how you feed your pet, check this out:
For the cat owners who are more conscious of their cats intake and who contemplate making the food themselves, please make sure that there is enough protein as cats are carnivorous and check with the doc for anything that could warrant a limit to calories, proteins, or water intake and specifications on texture that is more appropriate for your cat to assimilate the nutrients in the food.
I am pondering whether I should write a totally separate post about feeding your pet with “real food”. It deserves that I lean in on the issue as it can be considered very polarizing in certain circles.
I found, however, another option for water: a cat activated water fountain that is attached to your sink called Aqua-Purr and is 129$ with free shipping… Don’t we love to treat them like royalty, eh?!
Great practices to keep your elder cat healthy:
I don’t need to tell you what you already know about your elder cat, their ways and habits and what works versus what doesn’t, do I? The simple truth is that we don’t pay attention to changes in our aging cat enough. We must study our animal and search like a detective why they are as they are and why they act like they do.
I’ve seen some pins on Pinterest that make me cringe and frown! They posted pictures of their cats having done something “wrong” or “weirdly wrong or funny” and don’t analyze much out of it! I have given medical advice in my comments because some of them don’t know that certain behaviors are simply caused for alarm and to bring them to the vet.
Although there is this age-old wives’ tale that cats are independent-they are not! They are just more “choosy” and have more “class” when it comes to discern whom they want to socialize with and bond with because, after all, they ARE social beings! They need us and they must get our care and attention.
Another wives’ tale is that cats are low maintenance and that you can leave your cat alone all day or a few days with just water, food and a source of “presence”: TV., radio, another cat.NO! They are like kittens towards us and they need our interaction (talk, playing, “chilling” with us and on our lap, tending to medical needs).
Psychologically, they act like a kitten and stay that way with us because of the manner we have raised cats to become domesticated. So, they are needy little buggers! It’s been proven that it’s not good to leave a dog alone more than 4 hours at a time and cats are very intelligent and they got emotions and feelings and they too can get lonely and depressed and even…angry at our absences!
Playing with your cat at least 1/2 hour a day or by 5-minute increments if you can’t manage the former.
Giving interactive means for your cat to play and explore around the house and to look outside.
Sterilize your cat to avoid problems like cancer later on in its lifetime.
Register and chip your animal to make sure they don’t get lost if they wander.
Vaccines up to date, even if they are indoor as contamination can arise between an indoor and outdoorsy pet of the same household or if the cat wanders, they might get infected by wildlife that are living the “city life”.
Brushing your cat because it is like going to the spa for them and might relieve pain and comfort them and encourage circulation and nice shiny coat of fur. Good for the upping of endorphins and immune defense. It will prevent hairballs and constipation and cleaning up vomit-a bonus!!!
Not giving the same medication to them as for a human, unless you receive a special reference from your cat’s vet.
Brushing their teeth with a soft brush and “fish-flavored” toothpaste and get teeth tartar removed by your vet.
Helpful and nutritious to give meowsy:
In older cats, it can be a challenge for them to go do a bowel movement. Having some pumpkin mashed up can really help them get things moving. If they don’t like that, there are other options like this gel:
Oh, just so you can see what your cat is pooping and if you should take action:
Things to consider as a source of constipation:
Note: It is not recommended having your cat poop/pee on a “human” litter box. They can fall in and the bacteria they leave us is not for a hygienic practice so don’t get too creative… Even if your cat can learn potty training before your toddler!
How food relates to psychological problems:
Are you aware that your bundle of fur can be a big pile of nerves? Cats love their routines and habits and how things don’t change. Creatures of habit! But when someone moves with their pet, gets a divorce, the owner dies or any other change like a new pet in the house (that wasn’t properly introduced), etc. They can eat emotionally, frantically in “survival mode” and overeat.
They, in my experience, have been seen vomiting and leaving poop as a sign of disapproval for something we did or didn’t do!
A bored or neglected cat is also a candidate for an unbalanced relationship with food that tends towards a cycle of eating and sleeping but in overdoing so, thus getting more fat and sluggish and…depressed.
Cognitive and physical limitations to eating and hydration:
Older felines that are “senile” can forget how to “cat” and Alzheimer’s is something cats get too. Known as “Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome in cats (CDS)”, they can lose their sense of what to do and forget to eat or where their food for example.
You can read about this and get tips for your aging cat here:
And there are ways to stimulate your cat and transform your home into a feline-friendly place:
One final purr…:
I hope that I covered what is relevant to you in this post and I will probably elaborate on some above-discussed themes in the future if you need to clarify on a point or are interested or inspired to ask me about another one based on what you have seen and read today.
May you be living superrrrb holidays and looking forward to a promising and cozy new year with our little fur-babies!!!
Purrfectly at your disposal,