Exercise for Older Cats

When Whiskers is winding down, watch for issues.

As your cat’s nearing his ninth life or so, it’s only natural he’ll slow down a bit. You know, probably spend more time sleeping, and pawsing scenes of Mr. Biggles from Austin Powers – on VHS. But in all seriousness, pet-lovers, this is the time to give your senior Siamese more love and attention than ever: Keep a cat’s eye on any changes in temperament, or other signs he’s not feeling well or secure, and then find ways to make your cuddly companion more comfy, in his old age.

Read on:

Get that litterbox open for business.

Older kitties often become less outdoorsy, for a number of reasons. First, he may be being bullied by other cats, and has lost too much of his muscle and mightiness, to feel safe. Even dressed as Catwoman. He may also need to tinkle more, due to unfortunate conditions like kidney failure. To nail these issues, you may need to introduce a litterbox to prevent accidents inside. Litterboxes are best placed in a quiet area, away from food bowls and foot traffic.

Litterboxes come in open and closed-in designs, and there are a number of different cat litters available: clay, clumping, crystals, to name a few. It’s pawfectly normal for your Chausie to be a bit choosy, so if he’s not using the litterbox well, simply switch your litter type. One very important rule of paw: Cats are very clean, and the most common reason for failed toilet-training is that the litterbox hasn’t been cleaned regularly. OK, kitties?

Scratching posts are clawsome for oldies.

Scratching posts are also important if your ageing Abyssinian isn’t stalking the trees as often – a good case for long nail problems (see nail care). It’s best to put the post in an area your cat uses often – he certainly doesn’t want to mark his territory in some forgotten corner in a spare room, hisss. The right place for a scratching post is often right in front of that choice chaise lounge your Chartreux looooves to scratch. (This doesn’t have to be a permanent ‘look’ – simply shift the post to where you’d like it, once your cat’s learnt to use it.)

Keep in mind that, even though your oldie isn’t going out as much, he’s never too old to have fun. Exercise and game-playing can only help your older Ocicat, in the long run.

But if your La Perm has been lethargic, as most older cats are, do watch for any signs of pain, as arthritis is a common cause of inactivity in older cats.

If you have any concerns about changes in your older cat’s behaviour, your vet can give you the advice you need, one whisker at a time.