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Mr. Bean has been our cat for almost 15 years. We got him and his brother, Louis, the year we got married. They were together for 13 years, and were our furry kids for a long time before we had a human child.
There’s no denying that Bean is old, and he acts like a crotchety old man a lot. He complains, he always wants food or attention. We love him and we do the best we can to care for him, which is a little different when you’re taking care of an old cat versus a kitten or a regular adult cat.
How to Take Care of an Older Cat
Don’t skip vet visits. Bean missed a couple in the past few years, I’ll admit, but going to the vet for checkups is really important when you have an older cat. The vet can do bloodwork to check on any health problems that might not be visible. We recently found out that Bean was hyperthyroid, which is really common in old cats. Now that he’s on medicine he’s doing better.
Change up their food. Old cats may not have the strongest teeth in the world. Bean has definitely started to show a preference for soupier wet food and has all but stopped eating dry food. He also seems to want more variety (or is just pickier) than he used to be. We are spending more time on the cat food aisle than we have in a long time.
Try to keep them closer to home. Bean has always been an indoor/outdoor cat, and over the summer he was a lot more outdoor than indoor. We’d go whole days without seeing him (he was visiting a neighbor’s house, though, and we think they were feeding him). He’s gotten better lately, thank goodness. Some cats when they get really old might not mind being inside all day. Bean would go nuts without access to the outdoors, but it’s something to think about.
Give them lots of love. This is all the time, of course, not just with older cats, but it’s nice to give them a little extra attention when you can. That may mean petting them a little longer or letting them snuggle on your bed more than you might have allowed in the past. Older cats might not be as much fun as they were when they were younger, but they’re still part of the family and want lots of love.
Take pictures. Kittens are cute, sure, but you’ll want to have pictures of your older cat to remember it by, too. Even better if you can get some of those photos turned into special mementos like holiday ornaments, printed canvases or other printed objects. We recently got a photo ornament of Mr. Bean from Personal Creations (they sent it to us free but this post is otherwise uncompensated), which is really sweet and will be nice to have around the house beyond the holiday season.
Do you have an older cat or dog? I’d love to hear about how you care for them now that they are older.