Video: Older Cats: Behavioral Changes
With age, cats are prone to changes in their behavior and sometimes they even have certain problems. With timely diagnosis and treatment, many of them can be avoided. It may take a lot of patience on your part, but having a long and happy life with your furry friend is worth it.
Incontinence. Urinary or fecal incontinence is a common problem in older cats. There are countless reasons for this behavior, many of them medical in nature, so you should take your animal to your veterinarian. In most cases, laboratory tests will be required.
Incontinence can be a symptom of many conditions, such as colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, kidney and liver disease, and feline lower urinary tract disease (Feline Urological Syndrome, FLUDT). Conditions that make it painful for your cat to urinate or defecate or have difficulty getting in and out of the litter box can also cause incontinence. These conditions include arthritis, FLUTD, anal gland disease, vision loss, and some forms of colitis. Treatment of these diseases will help get rid of their consequences. Also, use a low-sided litter box and place it where the cat spends a lot of time. It is also possible to put several trays.
The main cause of incontinence in cats of all ages is stress. Both older and young cats do not tolerate stressful conditions very well. Anything can become stressful for a cat - moving, changing the daily routine, the appearance of new members in the family, including other animals. Try to keep the impact of stress on the animal to a minimum. For example, keep your cat in the quietest part of the apartment when packing up and preparing to move. At the new place of residence, at first, do not let the cat out of some quiet room, for example, a bedroom, where put its bowl, tray, put your favorite bedding. Clean the tray, feed her and play with her as usual. Gradually give her the opportunity to familiarize herself with the rest of the premises.
There is a product called "Feliway" (pheromone regulator for cats) that helps reduce arousal. It contains pheromones from a cat's face. Pheromones are chemicals used to communicate between members of the same species. You may notice how your cat rubs its face and chin against vertical surfaces. There she leaves her scent, which contains these pheromones. Sprinkling Feliway on vertical surfaces will have a calming effect on the cat and may help reduce urinary incontinence.
Cats of all ages can develop an aversion to the litter box or litter box. Try different types of litter, such as sand, lump filler, newspaper, or just leave the tray empty.
To control the “unauthorized” tagging of the territory, try different methods. For example, wash the stained floor with detergents containing enzymes. Or feed your cat where she likes to mark. You can use double-sided tape, sprinkle with pet repellent, or use a motion detector to restrict your cat's access to areas of the apartment where she likes to leave tags.
Aggression. As they get older, cats can become aggressive towards people or other animals in the house. This aggression can be triggered with pain if the cat has, for example, arthritis, loss of vision and hearing (causing the cat to become easily frightened) or diseases affecting the nervous system. Stress can also cause irritability and, as a result, aggressive behavior in some cats. If your cat has become aggressive as it gets older, consult your veterinarian and animal behavior specialist.
Fear and anxiety. Hearing and vision loss, stress, pain and nervous system disease can contribute to anxiety and fear in cats. Before starting treatment, it is necessary to determine the cause of the fear and try to get rid of it or reduce its impact on the animal to a minimum. The veterinarian may also prescribe various antidepressants. If a disease is a prerequisite for anxiety, then treatment should be started with it.
Changes in the sleep-wake cycle. Throughout their lives, cats tend to be active throughout the night, keeping us awake, and as soon as we get up they fall asleep sweetly. Some older cats will experience changes in this sleep-wake cycle. Painful conditions, the need to go to the toilet more often, increased or loss of appetite, nervous diseases - all this underlies the change in the cycle. Playing with or petting your cat before bed may help her sleep. Experiment with feeding times and see the results. If you can't influence your cat's sleep-wake cycle, keep her awake in your bedroom.
In addition, by staying awake all night, the cat can also begin to practice vocals. You will need to stop these concerts somehow. Try distance correction. Throw a tin with a few coins or a pebble towards (but not at) the cat. This will scare her and she will stop meowing. You don't need to show her that you are the culprit for this noise, or she may start meowing even more, just to get your attention. In some cases, medications are needed to change the sleep cycle.
Let's summarize. Many behavioral changes in older cats are due to disease. If your cat begins to behave differently, take her to the veterinarian. Older cats are more prone to stress, so try to minimize stress by gradually changing their lifestyle. The patience, understanding and treatment prescribed by your veterinarian will help your cat live with you for many more happy years.
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