Tabby refers to the type of fur pattern found in cats of different breeds. It is the coloration and coat pattern that makes a cat a tabby cat. Some have stripes or swirling patterns. There is an unmistakable “M” design found on the forehead of a tabby. From pure breed, mixed-breed to mongrel, there’s a tabby within the group.
A tabby is gentle and sweet by nature. Some are affectionate and happy-go-lucky but can be challenging to deal with when they don’t get what they want. When your tabby reaches his senior years, expect him to be more moody than usual.
Cats in general can reach a ripe old age of 15, some even more. Once they enter their senior years, most are still self-sufficient unless health issues come up. Still, it is best to start small changes in how you take care of your tabby to ensure that he will continue to be healthy and comfortable as he ages.
- Diet. Shift your tabby to an easy to digest cat food formula specific to his age. Some cats gain weight while others lose a few when they become older. Older tabbies drink less water so look for a cat food that has higher water content. This is especially important for tabby cats with kidney problems. Your tabby will need additional vitamins and other supplements. Ask your vet what you can give him to strengthen his resistance to sickness and help him digest his food better. Fresh, clean water should be available to him all day long.
- Grooming. An older tabby is less agile. His flexibility may not be the same as before and he will have a difficult time grooming hard to reach areas of his body. With a brush specifically for felines, brush his fur regularly. This removes any loose fur. Check his claws as well. Elderly cats may not be able to maintain their claws because they spend less time with the scratching post. Clip his claws when necessary with cat nail clippers.
- Bedding. Indoor tabby cats enjoy their uninterrupted sleep. Make sure your elderly cat has a comfortable place in the house away from noise, bright lights, drafts and extremes of temperatures. Choose a bed that is soft and warm.
- Ramps. Consider installing steps or ramps in places where your tabby loves to jump up to. As he ages, your tabby may no longer be able to jump as high as before.
- Medical care. Regular veterinary check-ups are important for older tabbies. Elderly cats are more susceptible to diabetes, kidney disorders as well as FIV or feline immunodeficiency virus. Your vet should be able to rule out as well as monitor the presence of these conditions as well as other diseases.
Reminder: During winter or when it is raining, it is best not to let your indoor tabby out of the house. Low temperatures are not good for cats, most especially elderly ones.
Now that your indoor tabby has reached the twilight of his life, give him back the love and attention he deserves. Be patient with him and treat him kindly. Expect changes in his behavior and his physical abilities. His health may become compromised as he ages. Take care of him the same way you would want to be treated in your old age. There is no reason for you and your tabby cat not to have a few more wonderful years of companionship and love together.