Understanding the behavior of old and aging cats
Cat behavior changes after a certain time period. Some people complain about the weird cat behavior in aging cats. The old cat behavior changes due to some very obvious reasons. These senior cats are often terminally ill and this illness changes their mood and personality. The people should be more considerate towards elderly cat behavior and how to deal with it.
Those who have cats as pets know that how much love and attention is demanded by this animal. Cats are mysterious. Unlike other pets, cats want to make sure that their place in the house is unique. Right from the kitten-hood, cats know everything. The behavior of cats with other cats, humans and other pets is always based on a rule which is “do not mess with me”. If someone is going to interrupt a cat then consequences could be in form of “bite”, “scratch” or “cat fight”. Aging cats behavior is not static either. The mood and stamina of cats change as they grow older. Some cats become extremely grumpy, others become extremely docile. It is very important to understand how cat is going to behave in her old age.
The Old Age of Cats
An average domestic cat (regardless of breed) could live up to 15 years. A cat with an age of 10 years and above is considered old cat and the activity level of these cats is evidence of their old age. Despite being old, cats love to jump over the walls and fences, chase mice and enjoy their time; but old age brings its flaws. Cats often start getting into physical troubles after 10 years of age. This is an extremely crucial time and a high level of physical check-up is a basic necessity of cats within this age group.
Physical and Behavioral Concerns of Aging and Old Cats
It is important that all cat owners learn about the needs of their aging cats. In fact, it is better to know things before hand and to monitor the health factors along with changes in lifestyle. For example, an aging cat would need more nutritional values and would require extra care while feeding. Similarly, an elderly cat would not be interested in play and would also resist any sort of noise or disturbance around. The hearing and visual abilities of cat would also change and so would the sense of smell.
Physical Problems in Aging Cats
The major physical threats to old cats are:
- Urinary tract disease
- Kidney Failure
- Dental Problems
- Hearing Problems
- Vision Problems
- Neuromuscular or Sensory Dysfunction
- Bladder Infections
- Bowel/Digestive Issues
Behavioral Changes in Geriatric Cats
Let us now discuss aging cats behavior. We already discussed about how to take care of old and aging cats but the level of care is not complete unless there is a fair understanding of what cats are going through in their old age.
There are many elements of a cat’s behavior that change a lot. A cat would start staying aloof and would avoid any excessive physical activity. The napping timings of old cats also become quite disruptive. Cats look lethargic and sometimes the anger emotion heightens. On the contrary, some senior cats become extremely docile and loving. Basically, it all depends whether cat is suffering from any physical pain or mental stress. Similarly, sometimes the cognitive abilities of cats do not let them react in the very desirable way.
If a cat starts staying agitated then it is possible that she is feeling physical pain due to some disease. Lack of sleep, excessive meowing, aggression, lack of hunger, lethargy, inability to use litter box are all major signs of an unhealthy old cat.
Aging cats behavior could be treated if it is not normal or worrying for cats’ owners. A proper treatment for any mental or physical health concern should be followed in order to make old age of cat better and happy. Healthy and nutritional diet along with any medication should be provided to the senior cats. Many stress related issues or physical discrepancies could be treated, therefore, it is not something impossible to deal with.
How Cats should be supported in Old Age?
Senior cats need support from their surroundings. A cat with arthritis or cancer might not be able to stay active and would need the food and water by her side. She might not be able to use litter box and it is possible that sometimes an old cat would never be able to control her urine or stools. In such extremely sad cases, cat’s human should provide comfort. A pet cat, which is a part of family for all these years, has rights to be taken care of in her tough days. So, abandoning old, ill and unhealthy cats is a cruel act. If she is to be sent to some health care facility, then a cat owner must regularly visit her until she gets better. These days, all sort of treatments are available. But it is also a harsh reality that these treatments cost a lot and 80% people are unable to go with a complete treatment plan.
If treatment is very costly or simply non-existent, then cat should be given all the love and comfort in her last day (which could become months and years by goodwill). Aging cats behavior is not always hard to deal with. Cats would always try to fight with hard situations and maintain their good personality. But old age is inevitable and unfortunately cats have to go through many physical problems in form of diseases and disabilities. A good cat owner knows how to take care of her lovely kitty. Hence, such cat owners would always make right decisions and keep their cats healthy for a longer time (unless some bad luck happens).