Updated: Dec 1, 2021
We all love our kitties, right? Which means that, as much as possible we want to educate ourselves on their needs. Calculating the age of your pet can be difficult at the best of times, and even if we do know their age, do we know what it means?
First of all, feline age is not linear like it is with humans. Just like how we refer to newborns as [X] month-old's until they're a year or older, kitten age works the same. For example, a one-month-old kitten is equivalent to a one-year-old baby. This increases on a non-linear level, as the charts indicate. Then, a one-year-old cat is equivalent to a fifteen-year-old teenager. From there it just continues, and a twenty-one-year-old cat is equivalent to a one-hundred-year-old person!
Throughout history, there have been cats famous for the amazing ages they lived to. The record for the oldest cat ever currently stands at 38 human years! That's 184 in human years! There's no real rhyme or reason to a cat outliving their general life expectancy, which is generally around 15 human years. Some say diet is key, some say it's all about breed. No-one really knows, but if you have a senior kitty then please let us know! We'd love to hear all about them.
We thought you might like some top tips on caring for your OAP (Old Age Pet). At the Kitty Café, we have a huge range of felines; from kittens that seem to get bigger and bigger every day, to our senior residents who just like a good cat nap!
Old age is universal!
Just like our grandparents might move into a bungalow as they get older, your senior feline is most likely going to struggle with stairs as they age. Keeping their belongings in flat, non-elevated areas will transform a feline obstacle course into a senior support system. This includes but is not limited to litter boxes, bedding, food, water and toys.
Nutrition is key!
Just like us, cats appetites tend to decrease as they get older. As with age their sense of taste and smell can diminish, this can be a larger or smaller change depending on each individual cat, but it's always a good idea to monitor your cats' eating and drinking habits regularly, as it could be an early warning sign of an underlying health condition. Many popular brands provide special food for elderly cats; tailored to meet their precise nutritional needs, including higher levels of good-quality protein. Your vet can also advise on the correct diet for your cat, and there's plenty of good advice online too. Additionally, if your cat has dental issues, they may prefer soft food in jelly or gravy rather than hard and crunchy biscuits or dry food.
Wrap up warm!
Older cats often need more warmth and padding to stay cozy, so your home environment may benefit from some adjustments. This is usually due to gradual weight loss that comes with old age, and is nothing to worry about. It might be nice to keep the temperature up to a certain level for your kitty, and to provide them with plenty of blankets for their bed or bedding.
Patience is a virtue!
Cats tend to slow down as they get older, and will usually take their time in getting from A to B. Sometimes this results in incontinence, as they can't reach their litter tray in time. If your cat has previously been used to using the outdoor facilities, then it might be worth investing in a litter tray - better for everyone in the long run. Try to be sympathetic though, as old age gets us all in the end!