More than half of the 86.4 million cats in the United States are seniors. You may have owned your older cat since kittenhood, or perhaps you opted to adopt an adult. With age comes changes and special needs. Wendy Diamond, Today Show pet contributor and Animal Fair editor-in-chief, says, "I'm the owner of a senior cat, Pasha, and there are definitely things that I have had to be mindful of as he has progressed in years." She advises parents of senior cats to consider these areas and helpful products:
Skin care: Wendy says, "As any organism ages, the functions of life begin to slow down, which is why an owner needs to stimulate a cat's skin to keep their coat lustrous and healthy. Grooming is especially important for elderly animals as it stimulates the production of natural oils in their skin."
Wendy recommends the Cat Spa and Cat-a-Comb products, which include grooming spokes and bristles. She says, "The Cat Spa acts as a floor mounted cat playground, and the Cat-a-Comb adheres to the corner, providing something for your feline to rub up against as they walk towards you for a cuddle session."
Diet: According to Wendy, "The saying 'You are what you eat' applies to animals just as much as it does to humans! That's why it's so important to be mindful of what is going into a cat's stomach. Older cats have delicate digestive systems, and their ability to extract nutrition from their food begins to diminish."
Wendy recommends a food with high-quality ingredients. She has partnered with Hill's Pet Nutrition on the launch of their new cat food designed specifically for older cats. She says, "Science Diet Senior 11+ Age Defying cat food has a breakthrough formula of antioxidants and omega 6 fatty acids alongside wholesome ingredients that address the signs of aging and help senior cats feel younger in just 30 days.
"The special formula includes fish oil for healthy brain function; small, easily chewed and digested, kibble; L-Carnitine to increase lean muscle development and agility; Phosphorus for bladder health; and Amino Acids to maintain healthy organs. With all of these super foods working in tandem to maintain the health and youthfulness of your cat, they will be purring your praises for years to come."
Wendy knows the benefits of this product line personally, as she gives the food to her own cat, Pasha, and is very pleased with the results.
Agility: Wendy says, "Age affects mobility. There is no way around this fact, and refusing to acknowledge it will only make the aging process more difficult for a feline."
To help your pet keep moving, Wendy says, "Place ramps leading to your cat's favorite places and treat your cat to a daily massage to stimulate healthy musculature without putting too much pressure on their paws. This gentle approach to feline fitness will leave your cat agile, amiable, and they'll certainly never need a walker or a kitty cane!"
Senility: "Older cats may become bored or disinterested in activity," Wendy warns. "Thus, it is imperative to keep their minds active and engaged in order to stave off the trappings of old age, like senility or depression.
"Incorporating exploration and problem solving into your cat's daily routine will keep your feline's intellect as sharp as their claws," Wendy advises. "Hagen's CatIt Design Senses Food Maze is an incredible product that makes your cat have to sharpen its mind as much as its claws as it puzzles out how to retrieve tasty morsels from this ever changing contraption. The food maze is affixed atop a food bowl like a tower with multiple chambers and openings that all spin and rotate for your cat to explore. Fill the Food Maze with cat food and rest assured that your senior will be feeling like stalking a spring chicken in no time!"