SENIOR CAT PREVENTATIVE CARE GUIDELINES
CLASSIFICATION BY AGE
Nutrition and Weight Management
Frequency and Calories
- Feeding small meals frequently increases digestive availability of nutrients
- Adjust calories based on body condition score
- Increased fresh water intake is important as older cats are more prone to conditions that predispose to dehydration and subsequent constipation
- Consider offering canned food
- Use multiple water dishes
- Tuna juice ice cubes
- Water added to dry food
- Drinking fountains
If a diet change is needed
- Gradual changes over weeks to months may be needed
- Offer the new food as a choice, rather than mixing it with the current food
- Appetite stimulants may occasionally be indicated
- Consider feeding a variety of quality canned and dry foods
- Consider placing food in a variety of places around the house to encourage smaller, frequent meals.
Environmental Enrichment and Quality of Life
Keeping cats inside protects them from a variety of injuries and infectious disease and makes it easier to monitor for subtle changes.
- Enriching the environment or allowing cats to be in a strictly supervised outdoor environment or enclosure is key to providing quality of life.
- Provide companionship with regular human interaction
- As chronic illnesses become more common in these age groups, it becomes more important to be vigilant for control of pain and distress and to monitor for quality of life.
- Visit the web site for the Indoor Cat Initiative at www.vet.ohio-state.edu/indoorcat for more information.