5 tips to make your house ‘friendly’ for an elderly cat.
If you have read our articles on ageing in cats you’ll remember that we mentioned that there are simple things that you can do around the home to make it easier for your elderly cat to enjoy life.
1. Floor surfaces – Older cats may find it harder to keep their balance on shiny or smooth surfaces e.g laminate, wood or tile surfaces. They may also struggle on loop pile carpets, where they can get their claws stuck easily. If your cat finds it tricky to walk on these flooring types it may be worthwhile adding some cut pile carpet runners to act as walkways for your cat.
2. Accesibility- Your cat may have a favourite perch high up off the ground. Some cats like to sit on the windowsill and watch the world go by. As they get older, their ability to jump up and reach these spots may decrease. A simple way to make their life easier may be to rearrange furniture to create a series of low steps so they can access their favourite spot easily. Another option would be to create a gently sloping ramp up to their perch.
Some cats may also find coming down a flight of stairs trickier as they get older. If this is the case they may end up stuck on upper levels of your house until you can come to their rescue! To make this easier for them ensure that there are plenty of opportunities to access food, water and toilet facilities on each floor of your home.
3. Water water everywhere! – This is a tip that can apply to cats of any age. We want to encourage our cats to drink water, something that is especially important in older cats or those with kidney disease. An easy way to do this is to make sure there are plenty of chances for your cat to access clean, safe drinking water. Placing multiple water bowls around the house can help. Some cats prefer bowls of different materials, and shallow dishes are often easier to drink from. Bear in mind that some cats have a preference for running water, so pet drinking fountains may also be useful. You can also add water to dry and wet food, which will have the added bonus of making these easier to eat.
4. Do not disturb! – Sometimes cats need a bit of down time away from the hustle and bustle of the human world. This need can increase as your pet gets older. Try and create some safe hideaway spots for your pet. Choose somewhere warm, easily accessible and somewhere they can’t get stuck or shut in. Behind the sofa or under the bed can often work very well as secret dens.
5. Play time – Scratching posts are a useful solution to over long claws. Older cats might find it hard to use traditional vertical posts. Turning a post on its side (lying flat) may make it easier for your pet. Older cats can enjoy toys just as much as they did when they were kittens, it might just take a little bit of imagination to find something they like. Large cat toys that can be grasped are a good choice, as they help to simulate prey hunting behaviour. If they ‘catch’ the toy in their front paws they may try and kick at it with their hind legs, a great way of keeping them exercising. Empty boxes are another feline favourite, although older cats might not be able to jump into them any more. Try leaving a box on its side and see if it entices your pet.
If you have any suggestions, tips or tricks for making a house elderly cat friendly please get in touch! We’d love to hear your suggestions.