Did you know November is Adopt a Senior Pet month? If you’re interested in bringing home a new furry family member, you should consider adopting a senior cat. They are often much calmer and better trained than kittens. Plus, they have lots of love that they can’t wait to give a forever family. Here are our team’s tips on how to make adopting a senior cat go as smoothly as possible.
Adopting a Senior Cat: Five Tips for Bringing Them Home
1: Make Your Home a Friendly Place
Your senior cat will likely be shy when you first bring them home, so it’s a good idea to set up a designated room with all the essentials—food, water, toys, a litter box, and a comfy bed. Give them time to adjust to this room, then let them explore the rest of your home a little at a time.
You can make your newly adopted senior cat more comfortable in your home by knowing exactly what to get. For instance, shallow litter boxes are easier for cats with sore joints to use. And make sure to provide cozy beds and nap spots for them to enjoy—senior cats love to nap.
Older cats often suffer from arthritis, so it’s important to keep food and water where they can easily access them without having to jump. It’s also essential to provide plenty of water sources, as senior cats are more susceptible to kidney issues. You can encourage your cat to drink more with a water fountain. Otherwise, wide, shallow food and water bowls are ideal.
2: Slowly Introduce Them to Other Pets and Children
If you have any other pets in the home, introducing them to the new cat too quickly may scare them or even lead to a fight. Introduce your senior cat to each pet one at a time, under supervision.
The same goes for excited young children—take it slow and go one at a time, with time for the cat to rest between introductions. It’s important to ensure that your cat always has a safe place to hide away from other pets and young children if they need to.
3: Make Sure They Exercise
Although senior cats are known to sleep all day, they still need exercise to keep their joints healthy. Just like kittens, play time is an excellent form of exercise for senior cats. However, you need to be more gentle with older cats, because they can’t climb or jump as easily as kittens.
But playing with toys isn’t the only way cats can get exercise. You can also try moving their food bowl away from where they typically sleep so they have to walk over to it. Climbing is good exercise as well, as long as it doesn’t hurt their joints. Smaller jumps are easier on senior cats, so try placing a table or secure shelves near your cat’s tower or other favorite climbing spots.
4: Closely Monitor Their Health
As cats age, their risk of health issues increases. Learn your new cat’s habits and normal behaviors so you can quickly identify any changes. Keep an eye out for warning signs like slower movement, changes in urine or stool, food avoidance, and sounds of pain when urinating or eating.
When adopting an elderly cat, it’s a good idea to ask for their medical history. Understanding the health issues they’ve had in the past can help you know what to look for in the future. If you notice anything unusual about your newly adopted cat, don’t hesitate to visit the vet. A senior cat’s health can quickly decline if they don’t get treatment in time.
5: Schedule Wellness Checks
Not all health problems are noticeable. You should bring your older cat to the vet every six months for regular wellness visits. Routine blood tests and checkups will ensure that any underlying conditions are diagnosed as early as possible. Swift treatment will always improve your senior cat’s quality of life.
Senior Pet Care in Gilbert
Ready to bring home a new companion? Make sure you schedule a vet visit as soon as possible after adoption. The compassionate team at Anasazi Animal Clinic will evaluate your cat’s health and answer any questions you may have about caring for a senior cat. Give us a call at 480-497-0505 today to set up an appointment.
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (11/8/2022). Photo by Tucker Good on Unsplash