Things to Consider When Choosing Where to Board a Senior Cat
As pet medicine advances, our furry friends are living longer and healthier lives. For the devoted pet owner, this means we need to make adjustments to ensure our pets’ health while we’re away. I frequently get phone calls about boarding senior cats whether or not this is “okay.” Of course it is!
Senior cats are designated at 15 years but at age 10, they begin to enter the golden years. Having had my cats live to 15+, I understand the concern and what accommodations need to be met to help make these kitties more comfortable while away from their homes. Here are some areas which we focus on with senior cats.
Senior cats should be seen more frequently than a younger cat or as recommended by your vet. From regular checkups to monitoring blood work or dental care, older cats require a bit more attention to really enjoy their senior years.
Some cats have to take daily medications and supplements. At the cat spa, we have had several cats with daily or even twice daily medications come to stay with us. Unfortunately, finding a facility that will carefully and correctly administer medication can be rare. I boarded my cat Maddie at one place and upon pick up, the kennel stated they didn’t bother giving her her pills since she was “too stressed.”
Boarding your cat should give you peace of mind that your cat is being taken care of as if they were at home. At Rock the Cat Spa, you can rest assured that we will administer the medication as needed with kindness and precision.
Sometimes the cats have special dietary requirements. For example, one frequent guest has very specific times to be fed due to health issues. Overfeeding, underfeeding or feeding a cat the wrong thing can cause many issues. Some of these include:
Comfort & Accessibility
While all cats are rockstars, older cats may not be quite as agile as they once were. The suites at Rock the Cat Spa take these factors into consideration. Senior cats in The Hotel Catifurnia will be given the lower suites so as not to cause or tempt the cats to jump out onto the floor. The Catz Carlton and Taj Meow both have lower doors in the litter box area to allow for ease of walking straight into the vertical suites.
The Purresidential Suites and Fur Seasons have higher beds but also have steps and small cat towers for the cats to walk up or jump in small increments onto the TempurPedic mattresses. These beds have pressure-relieving qualities and are even endorsed by the Arthritis Association for humans. This means one can lay longer in one position longer and not have to turn over or adjust for any painful joint or pressure point. The cats will get an even longer and deeper sleep this way! In the other suites, TempurPedic pillows and smaller bedding are available for a small upgrade fee. The spaces are wide enough in each space for the cats to stretch properly and not be cramped or fall off and risk an injury. Heating pads are also available in case your cats prefer a warm cozy space.
For accessibility, the litter boxes all have low edges on the boxes. In the common space, there are extra boxes out so when the cat is out roaming for free time, they have a litter box close by just in case they can’t make it back to their suite.
Activity and playtime can be the difference in a senior cat’s quality of life. Some cats have limitations with mobility and energy levels, and it’s important that you pay attention while playing with them. Senior cats may have arthritis and stiffness just as we do! Some easy ways to play with a senior cat (without overexerting!) include:
Senior cats also do not have the energy or endurance of a younger cat so shorter less aggressive play needs to be respected. Playtime is important still to keep their minds active and joints moving.
Having had a senior cat who became unable to groom herself, I understand the need to help out these cats. Daily brushing or helping them clean up is important. Helping when they are unable to reach or bend is important for their coats and to prevent mats, greasiness, skin irritation, and dandruff. There are many different brushes we use here for each unique coat and area of concern.
At Rock the Cat Spa, we really try and accommodate each guest and understand the extra care that a senior cat may need. Upon bedtime, a dim soft light lamp and classical music are left on to help provide soothing sounds for the cats to sleep to. A small bedtime snack (a couple cat treats!) are left on their pillow as well if approved by their owner.
As your senior cat will rest cozy and calmly here, you will as well knowing that their needs and requirements are being met and exceeded.
Rock the Cat Spa owner Cari Thompson is a life-long cat lover. When she's not running the luxury cat spa & hotel, she's playing with her cat, Daphne. She writes weekly blogs on cat behavior, health, and care. To learn more about her, check out the About Me page!