In the previous article, we talked about bedding and footstool as two things to do in order to care for an older cat? in this article, we will continue our list with two more tips on how to encourage cats to eat?
Elevate the food dish:
You can use anything to elevate the food dish just a couple of inches off the ground, as cats age it’s really common for them to develop arthritis in either the neck or the elbows, and when that gets a little more severe you can actually impact the cat’s ability to get down to their food dish if it is on the ground.
When cats eat off the ground they squat, they extend their neck down and this can be really uncomfortable for them when they have arthritis in the neck or elbow joint.
By elevating the food up a few inches off the floor, you will encourage these cats to eat and they will eat a bit more. It’ll help them maintain their body condition in their body weight, which is a really positive thing for an older cat.
Good body weight and good muscle condition are actually correlated with survival in a number of old cat diseases, and Getting cats to eat particularly when they have cancer or when they have kidney disease can be a real challenge.
Through geriatric cats, a little bit of an elevation like that will really make it much more comfortable for them to eat and encourage appropriate food intake.
Let’s talk about the different kinds of food wet versus dry as they pertain to older cats.
In general terms, we don’t really care whether we feed our cat with food or kibble if the young and healthy probably doesn’t make too much difference.
Certainly, we encourage people to feed their cats a variety of different foods. Particularly when they’re less than a year age, when they’re kittens they don’t get food addicted or addicted to a certain flavor texture because that can be really annoying later in life.
When you’re trying to get them to eat a therapeutic diet for whatever health condition they have. But, once cats get up over the age of 10 we typically recommend transitioning them to wet foods. The reason for that is that dehydration plays a major feature in many old cat diseases.
So, hyperthyroidism, renal disease, and diabetes all these conditions are worsened by dehydration.
If cats are eating wet food, they’re more likely to be better hydrated and it’s may have a slight protective effect for older cat’s health.
The other advantage of wet food is on average any cat that’s fed wet food will be lighter than the same cat fed dry food. That’s because wet food typically has fewer calories per gram and because obesity can be quite a common issue and quite a common challenge in older cats, we think feeding with food has some value in that.