How to adapt your home for a senior cat
Whether your feline is entering his or her golden years and you’re starting to see the signs, or you’ve decided to take in an older cat for the first time and want to be prepared, this article will help. We’ll talk you through the things you need to think about with a older cat in the house…
Why is it important to adapt a home for a senior cat?
Sadly, stiff, creaky joints are all part of the normal ageing process when it comes to cats. And, as owners, it’s natural we want to help our four-legged companions in any way we can. You might be surprised at how much a few simple home adjustments could improve your cat’s comfort and wellbeing.
When’s the right time to house-proof?
Like dogs, cats can be extremely effective at hiding the signs of joint stiffness. Take a look at the list below to see if your feline might be struggling, and act now.
Signs of joint stiffness in cats
Do you recognise any of the following in your feline?
- Reduced mobility
- Reluctance to go up or down stairs
- Stiffness in the legs – especially after snoozing
- Difficulty jumping up or down
- Difficulty using the litter tray
- Difficulty bending down to eat or drink
- Change in behaviours – aggression or irritability
- Less energy
- Less time grooming
- Sleeping considerably more or less than usual
If your cat is displaying these signs, chances are, adapting your home will help.
How to adapt your home for an older cat
1. Raise food and drink bowls
It’s really important to invest in a raised eating and drinking set-up. By elevating your cat’s bowls, you’ll reduce the strain of bending, which can cause further damage to the hips and spine. It’s also a great aid for swallowing and digestion!
2. Ensure your cat has access to their favourite spots
Is your feline suddenly sidestepping the sunny windowsill they once adored? Or no longer snoozing on the top of that tucked-away book shelf? Well, it could be down to sore joints and an inability to reach their favoured nooks and crannies. You can help by installing ramps or propping up a chair.
3. Consider the litter tray location
Have a think about where the litter tray is right now. If it’s currently tucked out of sight somewhere, you might want to move it to a more accessible space. Somewhere your feline can easily see, and where there’s no belongings to navigate around, for instance. You might also want to add a second litter tray – say, upstairs. As our cats age, they need to use it more frequently, and it can help a confused cat who’s lost their bearings to have one close by at all times.
4. Treat your moggy to an Orthopaedic bed
If a cat with joint problems could talk, they’d probably tell you there’s nothing better than having somewhere thick and squishy to curl up in and get some zzzz’s. Orthopaedic cat beds are especially designed with dense padding. The padding moulds to your cat’s entire body as it sleeps, protecting and cushioning the joints.
5. Rethink the regular Feng Shui makeovers
A consistent routine is important for an ageing cat, who may experience confusion or distress when presented with change. We’re certainly not suggesting that all decorating should completely go out of the window, but we we’d caution you if you’re a chop-and-change-the-furniture-on-the-regular fan!
In summary, just by making a few home adjustments, you could drastically improve your feline’s quality of life. Have patience, stick with it, and you’ll have a happier cat in no time!