Spotlight on Cats.
If we are rethinking how we provide correct litter tray design, appropriate indoor ambient temperatures and cat carriers for cats in general; then we need to address cat specific issues for feeding as well.
Cats don’t show their gait problems on slippy floors as clearly as dogs do,but cats do have problems just the same with wooden/tiled floors and these issues are significant when it comes to the cat’s access and use of feeding bowls and litter trays
Old cats will often lose grip with either their back or front legs respectively as they push into or jump back out of the litter trays. We solved that for our cat by having some Get-A-Grip materials on the ‘runway’ approach to our cat’s litter trays.
The biggest issue is however Feeding time.
The elderly cats get exhausted holding their stance to avoid slipping whilst they eat. Often, they are so exhausted that they stop finishing their meal and start picking at their food in small bursts of activity.
Just putting the bowl on the grip material doesn’t solve the issue,you have to provide a large enough mat of the grip material to accommodate both the bowl and the cat so the cat can stand on the mat and eat from the bowl also on the same anti-slip mat. Suddenly your capricious appetite cat scoffs his whole bowl of food down in one session.
Very elderly cats, or cats with elbow arthritis, may need even more help that just the bowl on a large anti-slip mat. Those extra needs elderly cats can assume a kneeling position on their carpi that is distressing to see. For those cats, the food bowls need to be elevated up-but perhaps not in the straight way up we do for dogs.
An elevated feeding tiered/layered design to allow the cat to stand upright and lean into the elevated bowl was constantly preferred by one of my own elderly Siamese. I only found this out by accident when I found him kneeling to eat-rushed to make him a stand by grabbing 3 old books of odd widths tapering to a flat top that was narrower than the base. This base then covered with a large sheet of anti-slip. He constantly chose this tiered stand even if other options available-there must be something about it that allows a more comfortable stance and feeding action. It was such a joy to see him enjoy eating again by just the most basic modification to his environment. Several clients have commented how much better their elderly cat is once the food tray was elevated for the cat.