Cats develop brain-related problems as they age just like humans do. The good news is: lots of these issues are preventable, particularly brain degradation, which can occur when your cat’s brain is not being stimulated properly.
So, if you want to keep your cat’s mind sharp, try these top tips.
1. Nutrition Provides Brain Health
Like any part of your body, the brain needs nutrition. You should be more aware of what you are feeding your cat when she is reaching her twilight years. During her older years, it’s important that you provide food that will be nutritious and good for her brain. You can find some helpful resources on the best food for your cat here, which suggest buying cat food with reduced phosphorus levels to help support kidney health.
You also want to be careful about overfeeding your cat. If you give your cat too much food, she can become overweight and less likely to move around and become stimulated or motivated. Experts advise to feed your cat 15 calories per pound of body weight for an indoor cat that isn’t very active.
Note: Medium-chain triglycerides and a SAMe supplement are great choices to ensure healthy feline cognitive health.
2. Bring in Another, Younger Playmate
Your cat could benefit from another animal to keep them active and motivated. The best pet to introduce to an ageing kitty is going to be a younger cat that they can play with, parent and spend time with.
That being said, some cats do well with a puppy or some kind of small dog. It just depends on your cat’s disposition and what kind of animals she is used to being around. Having another animal around that is active and spirited will do wonders for your cat’s activity levels, though, which is great for its mental acuity.
3. Retrain Litter Box Use
Your cat may start to forget where the litter box is or how to use it properly as its brain ages. You may need to do some retraining and be patient with your cat as he or she enters this late stage of life.
Having a good cat litter box will help, and make sure to keep it somewhere obvious and in reach.
4. Spend Some Time Playing with Your Cat
You can take your cat on walks or just spend time in play with your feline friend every day. Regular playtime is important to keep the brain sharp and to keep your cat motivated. Without that routine stimulation, your cat will become lethargic and mentally dull.
Look for signs that your cat is bored or not feeling well. Changes in a cat’s behavior may be due to pain or an underlying health problem. A reluctance to play may be a sign of a cat mobility problem or other health concern.
5. Give Your Cat Somewhere to Climb and Play
Part of what contributes to poor mental health in cats is the lack of physical stimulation. The house or yard they inhabit is simply too boring or level for their use. We’re All About Pets explain on their site that, “Cats are vertical creatures and they need space to climb and stalk from. They like perches and high areas like shelves or the top of a bookcase. You can build your cat a play area or just clear off some shelf space to give her room to run and climb.”
6. Make Your Cat Work for Her Meals
If you simply give your cat her meals where she can easily find them, and she gets them in the same place every time, then there is no sense of adventure in mealtime. Cats are meant to be hunters, so you deprive them of the chance to hunt for their food if you place it where they can find it without any challenge.
You may want to try putting the food up somewhere high. Make her climb for it or hide the food and let your cat sniff it out. If you are putting the food out in the yard then you have to watch for birds and other pests that may eat the cat food. But you can find creative ways to make your cat experience some mental stimulation at mealtime.
We hope these tips have been helpful in allowing you to better understand how your cat needs your help to have a sharp, active brain. Remember that you can make a difference in your cat’s cognitive abilities. Even as they enter a late stage in their life.