Litter Box Solutions for Senior Cats
When your cat reaches the ripe old age of 11-years-old, they are officially in the senior category of feline life. As cats age, physical and cognitive changes can reduce their abilities to use the litter box while increasing their risk of infection and disease. We’re here to help with tips and insight into how to help your senior cat overcome litter box difficulties and stay healthy throughout their aging years.
Talk to Your Vet
When you first notice changes to your senior cat’s litter box behavior, schedule a visit with your vet to address any physical or medical symptoms that could be causing distress. As a cat owner, it is important to schedule regular visits with your veterinarian for your senior cat. Aging cats have an increased vulnerability to illness due to a weakening immune system. According to Dr. Elsey, “You miss more by not looking than by not knowing.” Even if your cat appears healthy, a yearly checkup is still imperative as many diseases can show no symptoms.
Senior cats are more prone to have a urinary tract infection as a result of having more dilute urine and struggling to keep their genital areas clean. The growth of E-Coli bacteria on feces along with reduced natural body defenses in your senior cat can escalate to issues such as kidney failure over time. It’s important to monitor any changes in litter box behavior. An increase or decrease in frequency of use of the litter box or larger litter clumps could be an indicator of health issues and should be discussed with your veterinarian.
Dr. Elsey’s Senior Litter offers owners a solution to contending with these issues through a litter that works to coat and dehydrate cat feces, reduce odor and prevent bacterial growth of E-Coli, while not sticking to the coat of your cat. Fine and soft in texture, Senior Litter consists of amorphous silica gel and is pleasing to cat’s paws. It is safe if inhaled or ingested, and does not cause silicosis because it has no crystalline silica.
As your cat ages and loses flexibility, they will be less able to groom themselves efficiently. You may need to assist your cat with wiping away any litter remnants that adhere to your cat’s backside. To clean the area, moisten a cotton cloth in warm water and gently wipe away any grime. Visiting your veterinarian for a hygiene clip can help keep the fur around your senior cat’s backside trimmed to help improve personal hygiene for those with limited mobility who cannot properly clean themselves.
Easy Access to the Litter Box
When your senior cat’s urgency to go kicks in, it is essential to make sure the litter box is easy to find. Be sure to keep the litter box in the same location to avoid any confusion. Vision or hearing loss can cause disorientation within the home, making it difficult for senior cats to find the litter box if it has been moved.
If your senior cat is struggling to climb inside or relieving themselves on the floor instead, it could be a sign your cat is suffering from pain or discomfort associated with arthritis. For arthritic relief, try providing a shallow litter box that is easy for their delicate frames to step inside. If your senior cat has to climb or descend stairs to reach their litter box, try placing an additional box in a quiet area near where they spend the most time.
Cleaning Up Cat Urine
A combination of factors related to aging can result in litter box misses, so remember to be patient with your pet. If your senior cat doesn’t quite make it to the litter box, clean and disinfect the area of their accident to avoid any association with the spot from dried urine odors. If you discover a dreaded urine stain on your duvet or seat cushion, don’t fret! First, machine-wash your laundry using a cup of white vinegar and no detergent. When the laundry cycle finishes, add detergent and wash regularly. White vinegar is a great product for cleaning laundry and hard surfaces like linoleum and tile.
For stains on the carpet, we recommend a three-step program beginning with cleaning the area with a mixture of mild dish detergent and water. Saturate the area with this solution and let it sit for an hour or two before blotting the area with tap water to rinse. Do not rub your carpet as to preserve the natural carpet texture. Next, soak the area with club soda for ten minutes and then blot the club soda with fresh paper towels. Weigh down the paper towels with a heavy object and let dry overnight. The next day, apply Dr. Elsey’s Urine Removal Program. Mix the Urine Removal Program one part solution to seven parts distilled water. Saturate the area with the mixture and allow the solution to remain in the carpet to dry.
In the short digestive tract of cats, plant proteins are far less digestible than meat proteins. This issue becomes of the utmost importance when selecting the right diet for a senior cat. Senior cats absorb and metabolize protein less efficiently—therefore, it’s essential to feed high-quality animal-based protein such as Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein™ to aging cats. Inspired by the protein levels found in natural prey, over 90% of the protein found in cleanprotein™ is animal-based with high-quality meat or fish as the first ingredient. A high-protein diet will improve your senior cat’s muscle and bone health, ease digestion and improve bowel movements for a better litter box.
While they may need cat naps more often than they used to, senior cats are still kittens at heart. With the right litter box care, your cuddling companion is sure to succeed throughout their senior years. Learn more about how you can get your first bag of Dr. Elsey’s Senior Litter for free by visiting our rebate page.