Caring for Your Aging Cat - 9 Common Issues You Should Know About

More on PawNation: cat health, Red Room, senior cats

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Amy D. Shojai, a certified animal behavior consultant and the award-winning author of 23 pet care books, including "Complete Care for Your Aging Cat" and "Complete Care for Your Aging Dog," shares with Paw Nation her advice on caring for a senior cat.



Does your heart belong to a feline old fogy? You're not alone. Half of all pet owners have an animal aged 7 or older. Modern veterinary care means cats often live into their late teens or early twenties. But living longer increases the chance they'll develop common "old cat" conditions. Medical help is important, of course, but here are nine common issues with simple and/or inexpensive ways owners can help keep their aging cats happy and healthy.

About 75 percent of senior cats have arthritis. When creaky joints hurt, she can't perform cat-yoga stretches to groom herself and may become matted. Place kitty's bed under a lamp for soothing heat to loosen up creaky joints. Gentle massage works well, and over-the-counter supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids and glucosamine-type products also help.

With age, cats lose their sense of smell so that food is less appealing and they snub the bowl. Heat makes odors more pungent. Zapping food in the microwave for 10 seconds may be all that's necessary to stimulate a flagging appetite.

Deaf cats often become more vocal and "holler" from the next room when they can't hear you. Use vibration or visual cues to alert your deaf pet to your presence. Stomp your foot when you enter the room, for example, or flick lights on and off to avoid startling the cat.

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