Let’s face it, we all love to spoil our cats now and then, especially in their senior years. Whether you have a kitten, a junior or senior cat it’s nice to know it is having a happy life. Here are 18 ways you can spoil your furry feline friend.
1. Get Pet Insurance
Pet medical bills can soon mount up. I can’t stress enough how important it is to research and purchase a good pet insurance plan as soon as you get a Maine Coon. Don’t leave it until something that requires it arises. It is virtually impossible to find insurance that covers pre-existing conditions. Buying a policy for the first time for a senior cat can be expensive too. Even if you’re Maine Coon never goes outside it can still develop illnesses that are expensive to treat. I don’t know any owner who would not be mortified if they couldn’t afford necessary medical treatment for their cat.
Expect this to cost around $25 per month (for a 1-year-old domestic shorthaired). For our two Maine Coons, we have used Petplan for 15 years. They have been excellent every time we’ve had to make a claim, settling each bill fully without any fuss.
2. Take It For Regular Health Checks
Most pet insurance plans insist on annual health checks. This gives your vet the chance to administer any booster vaccinations due and check your cat’s general health such as heart rate, weight, and teeth. These are important to keep your cat healthy and give it the greatest chance of having a long and happy life with you.
3. Give It The Perfect Diet
Cats have different dietary requirements at each stage of their lives. Most pre-prepared cat food is labeled for a specific age of cat so make sure you choose the right food for yours. Good quality food is developed with the correct balance of calories, protein, minerals, and vitamins for each life stage. By giving your kittie the correct balanced diet for its age, you will be doing your best to keep it as healthy as possible throughout its life.
4. Raise Its Food Bowl
A raised bowl allows a cat to eat in a more natural position. Many cats prefer to eat from elevated dishes, especially senior ones who may begin to struggle to bend their heads down. You can put your existing bowls on a platform or purchase a custom made one. If you’re after one then I have found the perfect one on Amazon and couldn’t believe the price – I wish I’d bought this one! It also comes with a shallow bowl for cats who suffer from whisker fatigue. Don’t laugh! This is a genuine condition that some cats suffer from. They don’t like the sensitive tips of their whiskers bumping the sides of food bowls. If your cat often drags food from its bowl to eat it from the floor, whisker fatigue could well be the cause.
5. Get It A Lovely Drinking Fountain
Cats must drink plenty of water to maintain good health. Many cats love to drink from a moving source of water If you have one that likes to drink from the faucet and doesn’t seem to drink water from a dish then a cat drinking fountain is a perfect solution. It is especially important for older cats to remember to drink. So, why not spoil your cat by treating it to a drinking fountain? This is my favorite. We have used this fountain for years and the main reason I prefer it is that it also provides a bowl of water so if there is a power cut your cat will not be left without water.
6. Provide An Accessible Litter Box
There are many types of litter box available including open, lidded, self-cleaning, tall and low-sided. Some cats prefer open top trays and some like ones with lids. Fortunately, if you buy one with a lid and your cat decides to develop claustrophobia, you can take the lid off and stash it away somewhere. As cats get older, they may find stepping over a high rim a problem so then it could be time to invest in a tray with a lower entrance (here’s a great example). It might also be an idea to have a few trays dotted around your home so there is always one within easy reach. Not a fan of the sight of litter boxes? Then this hidden one is perfect!
7. Supply The Comfiest Bed
Cats have a great talent for seeking out the coziest and most comfortable places to sleep. Usually, they can be found curled up on your favorite chair or snuggled up on your bed. Why not treat your cat to an extra special bed of its own? There are many types available, some quite gimmicky and some more traditional. Lots of cats like small boxes as they feel secure in them so a bed with high walls and a roof is often a perfect choice. Here is one of the most popular cave beds on Amazon at the moment – it looks super-cozy!
8. Provide It With Warmth in The Winter
Cats are heat seekers, even those with the longest and fluffiest coats. They know where hot water pipes run, love to sleep in front of the fire and lay near any heat source they can find on a chilly day. We can’t all afford to leave our heating running all day to keep our cat warm, unfortunately, so how can we ensure it doesn’t feel cold and miserable all day long, especially in its senior years? There are plenty of low-energy heat pads on the market that you can place into your cat’s favorite bed. Or, I’ve just found this amazing solution: the Thermo-Kitty Heated Cat Bed. It’s thermostatically controlled and is activated by the presence of your cat when the room temperature is low enough. What could be better!
9. Buy it a Pet Staircase
Something to consider for elderly cats or those with joint problems such as arthritis or hip dysplasia is a pet staircase. Of course, you can strategically place boxes and low tables to help them reach the high up places they love to frequent. There are a variety of purpose-built pet steps available – just take a look at these – they get the best reviews, are light-weight and durable and can be easily moved as required.
10. Help It Keep Its Claws Healthy
Many cats can’t resist scratching at your belongings – usually thing you don’t want to be scratched! Treat yours to a variety of scratching posts and pads to help protect your furniture. It is important that cats are allowed to scratch somewhere to shed the outer sheaths of their claws and also to flex their muscles. As they age, they can lose the ability to retract their claws properly so consider keeping them trimmed to prevent them from snagging on your furniture and clothes. Actually, we’ve written an article that show’s you exactly how you can easily protect your furniture from your cat’s claws – do check it out if you’re interested – thank me afterward!
11. Help It To Manage Its Coat
All cats need help with grooming, especially those with long hair. Grooming will help to limit shedding all over your house. Start a grooming routine as soon as you get your cat and keep it up regularly, especially with senior cats. By removing as much loose hair as you can, you will help to prevent your cat from swallowing too much fur and developing fur balls in its stomach. This saves you from having to clean hair-laced vomit from the floor too. You will also stop nasty, painful knots and mats from developing. Invest in some decent brushes for the job.
12. Provide It With Interesting Toys
Most cats are love to play at any age. Make sure you keep a wide variety of toys available and make time to play with your cat every day. It will love having play sessions with you and you will be ensuring it stays active. Even old cats will play and can revert to behaving like kittens if gently encouraged. I’ve had Maine Coons for over a quarter of a century and I know exactly what toys have worked and more importantly, what doesn’t! If you’d like to know which ones to get (and which ones to definitely avoid)
13. Provide Plenty of Scratching Posts
Scratching posts are a must and if you have room invest in an indoor cat tree, especially if you have an indoor only cat. Cats love any opportunity to climb up high and good indoor trees also have spaces to hide, lounge, play, and scratch. Don’t be fooled into buying the wrong ones though, I’ve done it before and they will only last you a few weeks. I’ve had a lot in my time also, don’t think you have to spend a lot of money on them as you certainly don’t!
14. Somewhere to Hide
Create plenty of hiding places around your home for your cat to hide away in whenever it feels the need. These can be spaces under beds (with storage boxes creating walls), in empty cardboard boxes or gaps behind chairs. They don’t have to cost you anything and your cat will love them. By the way, if you’ve ever wondered why cats love boxes so much.
15. Give It A Safe Outside space
If you have a cat that is allowed to spend time outside then it is very lucky as it’s not possible to allow all cat’s such a luxury these days. Consider cat-proofing your garden to prevent escape or building a large enclosure that your cat can access from your house via a window, access tunnel or a flap. Many shop-bought runs just aren’t big enough for larger cats so maybe you could have one custom made. Make sure there is plenty of shade within it and that it contains things to keep your cat amused. If you have a cat that is free to roam and likes to spend a lot of time outside I highly recommend the Kitty Tube Generation 3 as it is really well insulated and waterproof.
16. Give It Plenty of Attention
Most cats just love your company and attention, so make sure you always find time to spend with yours, especially after you’ve been out all day. Contrary to popular belief cats are not aloof and don’t like being alone so can become depressed. Making a fuss of your cat, allowing it to be with you and playing with it are things that are essential for its mental well-being.
17. Buy It Some Night Lights
These are particularly important for senior cats as they can become disorientated in the dark. If your cat meows a lot when you are in bed, night lights can help it to settle down. You can buy these cheaply and plug them into wall power sockets all over your home. Get a variety that turns on automatically at dusk and off at dawn so you don’t have to do anything. These are exactly what I mean. And they don’t use much energy either.
18. Provide It With A Regular Routine
This item is last but not least, in fact, it should really be at the top of this post. Cats thrive on routine so as soon as you get a one keep it happy by introducing one. Make sure you feed it at the same time every day and in the same place. keep its litter box in the same spot. Try not to rearrange your furniture all the time. Older cats can get completely disorientated if things aren’t where they usually are, so keep yours happy and free from confusion by keeping its world consistent.
You might follow some of the ideas in this post and you might ignore some. The main message is that there are many simple things you can do to give your cat the best chance of a long, happy and healthy life with you.