How to take care of nursing cats

How to take care of nursing cats

The Spruce / Bailey Mariner

While you’ve been an attentive cat owner, meeting the needs of your pregnant cat, after she has the kittens, you need to know your next steps. During this delicate time, your observational skills are essential. Take a look at some guidance on how to handle the mother cat and her kittens as well as warning signs of health issues and kitten developmental milestones.

Veterinarian Check

If you haven’t already done so, after one week, take the mother cat and kittens to your veterinarian for a well-check. If the mother cat was not vaccinated, this would be a good time to do it. Also, she might get treatment for roundworms, to protect both her and her kittens.

New Kitten and Mother Cat Care

The first two to three weeks are the most crucial for a mother cat and her newborn kittens. The kittens should be developing rapidly, and if the mother is going to have any postpartum problems, it will happen during that period.

Let the mother cat set the pace for your attention. If she has been your pet for a while, she may welcome your visits. A rescued stray or fostered cat may prefer that you stay away. As long as the kittens are nursing frequently and appear to be thriving, they will be OK.

Keep the mother cat and her babies in a quiet part of the house; a separate room is ideal. Make sure the room is warm enough as kittens are unable to regulate their body temperature when they are only a few days old. The mother cat can keep the babies warm, but if she leaves to eat or use a litter box, the kittens can get cold. Chilling is one of the most critical dangers to newborn kittens.   Provide blankets, a heat lamp, or a heating pad to ensure the kittens stay warm.

Use a large enough box to comfortably hold the mother cat and her kittens. Stack clean towels to line it. The towels will become soiled quickly as the kittens defecate. It will be easiest to remove the top towel to reveal a clean layer.

Keep the mother cat’s litter box, food, and water bowls close by. Make sure you are feeding her a high-quality canned kitten food, supplemented with KMR (Kitten Milk Replacement). These specially formulated foods ensure that a nursing, postpartum mother cat gets the nutrients she needs.

Kitten Developmental Milestones

Three days after birth, a kitten’s eyes start opening, and the umbilical cord will also fall off. Their nervous systems are not fully developed; you may notice them twitching during sleep. This twitching is entirely normal and indicates the development of their nervous system and muscles.

By two weeks, the kittens will start crawling around and will be attempting to stand. Their teeth will be starting to come in during this time. If you put your finger in their mouth, you will be able to feel tiny teeth nubs.

For the first three weeks, the mother cat will lick each kitten around the abdomen and anal area after nursing to encourage the elimination of waste. In her absence, you will need to simulate this task with a warm, damp washcloth.

By three weeks, the kittens should be walking around and actively playing. You can introduce them to wet food and supplement it with KMR. They should still be actively nursing. You can also introduce them to the litter box. At this age, avoid clumping clay litter. The best litter for young kittens is any premium non-clay litter or the World’s Best Cat Litter.

Health Issues in Newborn Kittens

Intestinal parasites are most common in kittens.   Other health problems in young kittens are infectious diseases, such as respiratory infections, and congenital diseases.

Fading kitten syndrome occurs when a kitten fails to thrive.   If you notice one of the kittens is generally more lethargic and sleeping a lot more than its siblings, it can be a sign of the syndrome. That kitten requires immediate attention from a veterinarian who specializes in kitten care.

Postpartum Health Issues

Pregnancy, birth, and the period after delivery are a stressful time for the body of a new mother. A new mother has a flood of hormones, milk production begins, and recovery from the birth process is in full swing. There are a few severe conditions to keep an eye out for in your mother cat.

Mastitis

Mastitis is a bacterial infection of the milk ducts, which occurs when the mother cat’s milk production gets blocked by inflamed mammary glands. The teats become swollen and hot, with apparent “bruising,” and the mother cat may refuse to allow the kittens to nurse. Mastitis is a veterinary emergency. The cat usually needs antibiotics to fight the infection.   The kittens may need to be hand-fed until the mother cat has recovered.

Hypocalcemia

Hypocalcemia, also known as “milk fever,” is rare in cats, but it is another veterinary emergency.   This condition can result from a lack of calcium during pregnancy and nursing. Symptoms include seizures, staggering, muscle tremors, restlessness, and excessive panting. While the mother recovers, the kittens will need to be fed by hand.

Uterine Metritis

Metritis is a severe infection of the uterus; it is also a veterinary emergency.   The mother cat will usually have normal vaginal drainage after birthing her kittens. But, if you notice a foul-smelling discharge, that is a red flag. Other symptoms include lethargy, fever, and loss of milk production.

The mother cat may have to be hospitalized for treatment and might need an emergency spaying. As the mother cat recovers, feeding and care for the kittens will fall to you.

Jenna Stregowski, RVT, has more than 20 years of experience working in veterinary medicine and has been writing about pet care for over 10 years.

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How to take care of nursing cats

Your cat has gone through pregnancy, and she has delivered her kittens. Now the time has come for her to take care of her kittens, but for some reason, she won’t nurse them. Perhaps she has completely rejected one or more of her kittens or you’re simply not sure she is nursing adequately. What is a concerned cat owner to do?

In most cases, mother cats give birth to kittens and take care of them with little or no human intervention. However, there are times when nature does not take over. That’s when humans need to step in and offer assistance.

Why a Mother Cat Won’t Nurse Her Kittens

There are several potential scenarios for a mother cat refusing to nurse her kittens. In some cases, the mother cat will start nursing and then stop. Or, the mother cat may never begin nursing in the first place. The mother cat may reject some or all of the kittens. Not only will she refuse to nurse the kittens; she may ignore them altogether or act aggressively when approached by a kitten.

If anything like this happens, your first step should be to take the mother and kittens to the veterinarian as soon as possible. If you can discover the reason why a mother cat won’t feed her kittens, you may have a better chance of getting her to start nursing them. Or, you may need to step in and care for the kittens yourself. Either way, your vet can help. Remember: When going to the vet, make sure you take the mother and all of her kittens along, regardless of which ones do or do not appear sick.

Illness in the Mother Cat

If the mother cat is experiencing a health problem, she may be unable or unwilling to nurse her kittens. In some cases, she will not produce enough milk for her kittens. Or, an issue such as mastitis may be affecting her ability to nurse comfortably.   Dehydration and malnourishment will also affect milk supply. Any health issues that causes your cat to feel unwell can make her unwilling to nurse her kittens. Even if the mother cat appears healthy, it’s best to take her and the kittens to the vet right away if she won’t nurse.

Sick or Deformed Kittens

The mother cat may detect or suspect a health problem in one or more kittens and refuse to nurse that individual. She may put the sick kitten out of the nest in an instinctive attempt to protect the other kittens. The problem may be an obvious congenital disability or a major illness or something more subtle. However, this can happen even if there is nothing wrong with the rejected kitten. Do not attempt to put a rejected kitten back into the nest. This is unlikely to be successful and may stress the mother possibly leading her to reject more kittens, maybe even the whole litter. Instead, bottle-feed and keep the rejected kitten warm as you make arrangements to take mother and all kittens to the vet as soon as you can.

Large Litter of Kittens

Some litters can be so large that the mother does not have enough teats to feed all of her kittens. She may also not produce enough milk to feed everyone. The mother may favor the stronger ones and reject the smaller, weaker ones. Once again, do not put rejected kittens back in the nest. Mother and kittens should see the vet as soon as possible. Rejected kittens should be bottle-fed and kept warm in the meantime.

Immature Mother Cat

Very young cats often lack the maturity to be good mothers. They may also lack the energy reserves to produce milk since they are still growing themselves. A female cat may be able to get pregnant as young as four months of age. In most cases, this is much too young for her and her kittens to thrive. If you have a young cat who has rejected some or all of her kittens, you will need to step in and help. Take them to the vet to be examined and talk to your vet about how you can best help the mother and kittens.

Finally, some cats are just not very maternal in nature and don’t make good mothers. If this is the case with your cat, she should not be bred in the future as this trait can be passed on to her offspring.

How to Bottle Feed Kittens

If the mother cat won’t feed her newborn kittens at all, it’s important to get both the mother and the kittens to a veterinarian as soon as possible. In the meantime, you must find a way to feed the kittens since they need to eat every few hours with the exact frequency depending on their age. This is usually done by bottle-feeding kitten formula. It is also essential to provide motherly care to newborn kittens. Keep them warm and help them urinate and defecate.

The most commonly available type of kitten formula is called KMR, which stands for “kitten milk replacer.” KMR comes in cans or cartons and is available to buy in most pet supply stores and on websites that sell pet supplies. There are other brands of kitten formula available as well. Avoid cow’s milk or human baby formula as they are not nutritionally appropriate for kittens and can lead to health problems and even death if fed for a prolonged period of time.

You can use a small kitten feeding bottle to administer formula to the kittens. However, many people find that an eye dropper works best at first. Newborn kittens will need to be bottle-fed about once every two hours. Warm the formula gently and feed about 1 teaspoon (5 mL) to each kitten. This amount is for kittens that were just born. Ask your veterinarian about the proper amounts to feed as the kittens grow.

If your cat is expecting kittens, it’s a good idea to have some kitten formula on hand in case the mother has trouble nursing. If you don’t end up needing the formula, you can always use it later. Adding kitten formula to moist kitten food may help when the kittens begin to transition to solid food. Or you can donate the kitten formula to a cat shelter or rescue group.

Once you have seen your veterinarian and addressed any issues, you may want to try to get the mother cat to nurse again (only if recommended by your vet). If the mother cat still cannot or will not feed her kittens, then ongoing bottle-feeding will be necessary. Kittens should be bottle-fed kitten milk for at least the first four weeks of their lives. You may begin to introduce kitten food around three weeks of age and once the kitten is eating on its own, gradually start reducing the amount of milk you offer.

Remember that your veterinarian is the best source of information when it comes to kitten care. Ask your vet for information about the amount and frequency of feedings, how to help the kittens urinate and defecate, and how to keep them clean and warm.

There’s a reason why cats are known to be mysterious creatures. Even cat parents sometimes have to wonder why cats sometimes behave the way they do. Although many cat behaviors are endearing albeit head-scratching, there are some cat behaviors that can be described more as bothersome or disturbing. For instance, cats sometimes tend to nurse on objects that serve zero nursing purpose—blankets, stuffed animals, arms, fingers, purses, and many other random things. This behavior is known as suckling, and it could pose as a danger to cats young and old alike. Fortunately, there are ways you can help your cat to stop nursing on random objects. But first, it’s important to understand the possible reasons for your cat’s suckling behavior.

Why cats nurse on objects

Cat are oftentimes seen as solitary creatures. But while most cats prefer to isolate themselves, they still require a level of care and affection much like any other pet. There are many theories as to why cats resort to suckling behavior, which can present in young kittens or even in mature cats. One popular belief is that cats that nurse on objects may have been weaned too early from their mothers. Naturally, kittens will wean between 6 to 12 weeks after birth. There are a number of reasons why a kitten might be weaned earlier than normal. Death is a common one. When a mother cat dies after giving birth, her kittens are separated unwillingly. Kittens could also get lost or adopted. An early weaning will likely trigger a kitten to nurse on any object it could find to satiate natural nursing needs. In addition to being weaned too early, the separation itself could also trigger suckling on kittens. Being separated from her mother is a traumatic even for any kitten. It could trigger separation anxiety that can manifest itself as suckling later on. In fact any kind of anxiety or stress could be a factor in a cat’s random nursing. While it might not happen during its early years, a cat could experience this later on in life. Stress or anxiety could be triggered by any environmental change, sickness, social issues such as the introduction of new pets into the household, and more. Apart from emotional triggers, suckling could also be caused by actual medical conditions. These could only be diagnosed by your veterinarian but could explain the suckling behaviors of your cat. Some medical conditions that have been associated with cats nursing on objects include hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and various dental issues.

Problems with nursing

As a cat parent, it’s natural to feel concerned when your pet exhibits unnatural behaviors, but nursing on objects isn’t always a bad thing. If the underlying issues aren’t too serious, nursing oftentimes will go away on its own. You can see this as a cats cat’s way of soothing thing itself when feeling some kind of stress. If the behavior is exhibited occasionally, it’s oftentimes not cause for concern. The problems with nursing on objects arise with frequency and depend on the type of objects your cat is latching onto. Of course, if there are medical conditions triggering the behavior, it’s important that those get addressed first. Nursing on fabrics could be particularly harmful for your cats, especially when the fabric is wool. Wool suckling is the actual term for nursing on objects composed of fabric. This could be anything from blankets to sweaters, carpets, shoelaces, and the like. The problem arises when material is actually ingested by your cat. Fabrics can cause damage to the intestinal lining and can hurt your cat tremendously. Some cats may even nurse on themselves or on you. If you find your cat suckling on its own belly, it can cause damage to its own body. The same can happen to you. If your cat has chosen your arm or any part of your skin to nurse on, you could easily get skin irritations from the behavior.

How to stop your cat from nursing on objects

The first step is to have your cat examined by a vet. This will check if there are any other serious conditions that your cat may be experiencing that’s causing the suckling behavior. Once any medical conditions are addressed, you can then proceed to correct any developed nursing behavior. You should remember that anything a cat is nursing on has become an object of attachment. Taking it away form your cat completely could trigger even more stress and anxiety. At the same time, eliminating the object could be the first step to stopping your cat from nursing on it. You’ll just have to make sure that you offer your pet enough comfort to help soothe away whatever stress or anxiety it might be feeling. There’s a likelihood that your cat might be feeling neglected or ignored. Offering your cat ample of attention could easily take away its need to soothe itself.

In addition, your cat needs to have constant stimulation. Make sure that there are enough toys and activities around for your cat to do. Access to windows is always helpful, as cats are naturally curious creatures and like to look out to the world. Cats are also playful creatures. If your cat doesn’t have other cats or pets to interact with, make sure that you give it enough play time with yourself. Be careful to introduce changes into the cat’s environment. Preparation and consistency are keys to having a well-adjusted cat. Diet could also play a role in curbing suckling behaviors. If a cat is nursing because it’s not feeling full after eating, the best solution is to add fiber to its diet. All in all, the best solutions are the positive ones. Your cat can only properly stop nursing on random objects with your help, care, love, and attention. It’s basically everything you already probably give.

In this Article

In this Article

In this Article

  • How Do I Feed a Newborn Kitten?
  • What Do Kittens Eat Besides Milk?
  • How Often Should a Kitten Eat?
  • How Do I Keep a Newborn Kitten Warm?
  • How Much Should a Newborn Kitten Weigh?
  • Can I Hold the Kitten?
  • How to Teach Your Kitten to Go to the Bathroom

How Do I Feed a Newborn Kitten?

Kittens under 4 weeks of age cannot eat solid food, whether it’s dry or canned. They can drink their mother’s milk to get the nutrients they need. The kitten will rely on you to survive if their mother isn’t around.

You can feed your newborn kitten a nutritional substitute that’s called kitten milk replacer. It’s essential that you avoid feeding a kitten the same milk that humans consume. Typical cow’s milk can make cats very sick. If you’re unsure of which kitten milk replacer to choose, talk to a veterinarian. They can help you select the right one.

For many dry milk replacers, refrigeration is not always required. But if extra milk is prepared, it should be stored in the fridge. To feed your kitten, follow these steps:

Prepare the formula. Warm the kitten formula to slightly above room temperature. Test the temperature of the formula right before you feed your kitten. Do this by placing a few drops of the formula on your wrist to ensure it’s not too hot.

Keep things clean. Before and after each feeding, you should wash your hands and the bottle that you used to feed your kitten. It’s also recommended that you use a “kitten gown.” This could be a robe or a shirt that you only wear when you’re handling or feeding your kitten. Using a kitten gown helps reduce the possibility of spreading germs.

Feed them gently. Handle your kitten with care. The kitten should be on their stomach lying next to you. This would be the same way they would nurse from their mom. Try holding your kitten in a warm towel while they sit on your lap. Find a position that feels comfortable for both of you.

Let them take the lead. Hold the bottle of formula to your kitten’s mouth. Let the kitten suckle at their own pace. If the kitten doesn’t eat right away, gently stroke their forehead. The stroking stimulates how their mother would clean them and it encourages the kitten to eat.

Continued

Kittens need to eat every 3 hours, no matter what time it is. Many people set an alarm so that they don’t miss a feeding. This is especially helpful overnight. It’s important that you feed your kitten regularly. Skipping feedings or overfeeding can cause your kitten to have diarrhea or develop severe dehydration.

Burp them. Kittens need to be burped the same that way babies do after feeding. Lay your kitten down on their stomach and gently pat their back until you hear a little burp. You may need to do this a few times throughout each feeding.

If for any reason you can’t get your kitten to eat, contact your veterinarian immediately.

What Do Kittens Eat Besides Milk?

Once your kitten is about 3.5 to 4 weeks old, you can start weaning them off of the bottle. This is a gradual process that takes time and practice. The process usually looks something like this:

  • Begin by offering your kitten formula on a spoon.
  • Later, start offering your kitten formula in a saucer.
  • Gradually add canned food to the kitten formula in the saucer.
  • Increase the canned food in the saucer, adding less and less kitten formula.

If your kitten doesn’t take to the spoon or the saucer right away, you can continue to offer the bottle.

As you progress through the weaning process, monitor your kitten and their stool to ensure that they digest everything well. If your kitten is doing well and isn’t experiencing digestive issues (like loose stool or diarrhea), then you can gradually introduce more and more food.

At this stage, it’s also important to offer your kitten a bowl of fresh water to make sure that they’re staying hydrated.

How Often Should a Kitten Eat?

The frequency that your kitten eats normally depends on how old they are:

  • Up to 1 week old: every 2-3 hours
  • 2 weeks old: every 3-4 hours
  • 3 weeks old: every 4-6 hours.
  • 6 weeks old: three or more feedings of canned food spaced out evenly throughout the day
  • 12 weeks old: three feedings of canned food spaced out evenly throughout the day

If you have questions or need additional guidance about how often or what kind of food to give to your kitten, contact your veterinarian for help.

Continued

How Do I Keep a Newborn Kitten Warm?

Kittens should be kept in a cat carrier wrapped in a few layers of towels. Using a heating pad or heat disc (often the safer option) for pets alongside a soft fleece blanket can also help keep them warm. Ensure that the carrier is large enough for your kitten to move away from the heater when they want to.

It is very important to keep your cat carrier in a safe, warm room away from other pets. It’s helpful to go and check on your kitten throughout the day. If your kitten feels cold, you need to warm them up as soon as possible.

How Much Should a Newborn Kitten Weigh?

Newborn kittens usually weigh about 3.5 ounces, depending on their breed and the litter’s size. A healthy kitten should gain at least 10 grams per day. If you don’t see growth in their body size, this is often a sign of illness.

It’s essential to track and write down your kitten’s weight and how much they’re eating every day. You can use a gram scale for accuracy in weighing animals this small. If your kitten isn’t eating or growing as expected, contact your veterinarian right away.

Can I Hold the Kitten?

Vets recommend not touching kittens unless you have to while their eyes are still closed. You can check on them to make sure they’re healthy and gaining weight, but try to limit direct physical contact.

The kitten’s mother will also let you know how comfortable she is with you handling her babies. It’s important to take it slow, especially at first. If the mother cat seems anxious or stressed, give her and her babies some space.

How to Teach Your Kitten to Go to the Bathroom

Young kittens can’t go to the bathroom by themselves. Usually, a mother cat will clean her kittens to stimulate urination and a bowel movement. If the mother isn’t present, the kitten will rely on you.

To help your kitten go to the bathroom, use a clean, warm, wet cotton ball and gently rub your kitten’s belly and genital and anal area. Your kitten should go to the bathroom in less than a minute. After your kitten is done, clean them carefully with a soft wet cloth.

Continued

Once your kitten is 3 to 4 weeks old, you can introduce them to their litter box. Add a cotton ball to the process in a similar way that you used one on them when they were younger. This will help them to understand what to do.

Gently place your kitten in their litter box and let them get used to it. Keep practicing with them. Ensure that their bathroom is in a safe area away from other people and pets so that they feel comfortable.

Sources

Animal Alliance NYC: “What to Do (and NOT Do) If You Find a Newborn Kitten.”
Best Friends: “Bottle Feeding Kittens.”

IN THIS ARTICLE

  • 1. Verify Your Kitten’s Age
  • 2. Find a Good Vet
  • 3. Get the Most Out of Your First Vet Visit
  • 4. Shop for Quality Food
  • 5. Set Up a Feeding Schedule
  • 6. Be Sociable
  • 7. Prepare a Room
  • 8. Gear Up
  • 9. Watch for Early Signs of Illness

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We are often asked by those who take on, or discover they have an FIV cat, what they should do in terms of looking after their FIV cat. This usually means, what they should do that is different or extra to what they would do for any other cat.

Firstly we need to remind you that every cat is different; and every FIV cat is also different – it often seems from what one reads that having FIV makes a cat the same as every other cat with FIV, whereas, common sense shows that there are just as many individually different FIV cats as there are any other cat. So there are no common answers to anything, everything needs to take into account the individual animal, FIV or not.

So how do you look after an FIV cat?
Just the same as you look after any other cat really, but just being aware of the virus and what effect it may or may not have.

Basically your cat needs good food, a stress-free environment and attention if any health issues should appear. Just like looking after any cat!

Food
A good mixed diet is important for the health of any cat, and FIV cats are just the same. Best avoid a limited diet of one type or brand of food; give good quality, with some variety is the basic advice. This will help keep any cat in the best of health which, in turn will maintain the immune system at its strongest.
We emphasise a variety so there is no danger of too much or too little of any one ingredient (minerals, vitamins etc) every cat has a slightly different need, so the variety will ensure a balance for any cat.

Remember, as every cat is different, they may need a slightly different diet, that will depend on their age, weight and any other issues they may have, so you need to get advice as to the most appropriate diet for your individual cat to take those differences into account – ask a good vet about appropriate dietary requirements – not for the FIV, but for everything else individual about your cat.

Environment
The environment in which a cat lives has a strong influence on its wellbeing. A stressful environment will put strain on all systems, including the immune system, so be aware of how your cat reacts to the environment – does the cat hide when visitors come? Is he/she always trying to get outside? Be aware of anything that seems to cause stress, and see if you can reduce that element.

If you can give your cat access to fresh air, we believe that is very beneficial. Any cat who lives in a closed environment will be exposed to all manner of pollutants in the air. Unless there is good ventilation, there will be a build up of all chemicals from air fresheners. cleaners etc as well as re-breathing all that is breathed out – so any bacteria breathed out, will likely be taken in again, wheres with good ventilation and fresh air, these pollutants will be removed before they are taken back into the lungs.

There must be something different we should do?
You need to understand what the virus is actually doing (see our page on this). Basically, the virus is very slowly reducing some of the immune cells that help the cat fight infection, so you need to reduce anything that might aggravate that process, and possibly see if there is anything more that might actually slow the process down even more.

The things to avoid as far as possible which might aggravate the damage the virus is doing are, avoid extra stress, avoid as far as possible infections, both of which can increase the speed of the virus replicating and thus damaging more immune cells. But bear in mind that in most cases the cat will have many years while the virus is present before it has sufficient influence to actually affect the cat’s health. So no need to panic!

Simply be aware of what might cause stress, and keep the cat in an environment which minimises any infection risks.

Check out your vet’s attitude to FIV
One thing that could be very important is to interview your vet! Find out his/her views on FIV and, more importantly, his/her experience of treating FIV cats. It is a sad fact that there are still many vets out there who have a poor understanding of the virus and will tend to put any problem the cat faces down to the FIV, whereas in reality the virus will usually be no more than an extra aggravation. So make sure your vet is happy to work with you should there be any health issues to deal with.

When you’re looking for senior living for you or your loved one, whether a family pet is allowed may be a deciding factor as you choose a facility or retirement community. If you have a pet where you currently live and want to bring it into your new senior living arrangement it’s important to recognize that not all pets may be allowed at all facilities. The type of facility you choose can play a big part in whether your pet can come along too.

How to take care of nursing cats

Our editor Taylor Shuman’s grandma with her furry friend Reggie

Are Pets Allowed in Nursing Homes?

Some nursing homes not only allow residents to have pets in their rooms, but also allow pet visitations if someone else is caring for the pet. There are other nursing homes that may restrict the types of pets their residents can have by size. Then there are some that do not allow any pets under any circumstances due to safety concerns for all of the residents. Policies vary from facility to facility so it’s best to ask ahead of time as you’re considering different living arrangements.

If you didn’t have a pet prior to moving into a new facility, it is not recommended to adopt one beforehand. Many nursing home and care facilities are not keen on the idea of new or untrained pets. Also, keep the needs of your pet in mind. A house cat may do just fine in a nursing home if it is allowed while a dog that’s used to a yard to roam may not be best suited for this type of living.

For those nursing homes that do not allow their residents to have pets on a regular basis for one reason or another, pet therapy programs may still be offered. Many facilities recognize the benefits pets can have on their residents and bring in these programs as part of their care packages.

Are Pets Allowed in Assisted Living Facilities?

Assisted living communities also have their own rules when it comes to pets. Some do not allow them at all, while others restrict by breed. You may also be restricted by the size of your pet and how many pets you wish to have with you.

Some assisted living communities have a “community pet” that all residents share. This allows residents to enjoy the benefits of having a pet while letting the community uphold certain rules it sees fit.

If having a pet is a deciding factor for your senior living, ask what the community’s policy is to see if you would be allowed to bring along your animal.

Are Pets Allowed in Retirement Communities?

If you have a pet you’ll most likely to be able to bring it with you to a retirement community. Most active retirement communities allow their residents to have pets for the fact that they can take care of them by themselves. Staff does not need to take the time to care for the pet because the owner is able to do it.

But, the number of pets may be restricted depending on the community. Two is usually the standard. All pets must be up to date on their rabies shot and owners have to take responsibility if the animal were to harm someone else. As with the other living options, talk to those in charge beforehand so that you can make an informed decision.

Benefits of Pets for Seniors

Many senior living facilities recognize the fact that pets can prove to be just the right medicine for its residents. From actual medical benefits to companion perks, having a four-legged friend nearby could be one of the best things you can do for yourself in your golden years.

Staying Active

Keeping active is just as important for seniors as it is for anyone else. Having a pet to take out and walk can help keep seniors active. While you may not be motivated to get out and go for a walk on your own, the fact that Fido needs to go out will certainly get you moving. Studies have shown seniors with dogs are more physically active than their non-pet owning counterparts. This is why having pets can also help battle obesity.

Depression Deterrents

As we get older and the demands of everyday life slow down, some of us become depressed because the life we were used to for so long has changed. Having a pet to take care of gives seniors a new purpose and can help ward off depression. Plus, the added companionship a pet brings can help seniors avoid those lonely feelings, which can also lead to depression.

Making New Friends

It’s never too late to make new friends. For some seniors, having a pet allows them to do just that. Pets can spark conversation between owners and ultimately lead to new friendships.

Pet Protection

Pets bring an added layer of protection for many seniors. For those who live alone, a pet can make seniors feel as though someone is watching over them, especially if a stranger approaches.

Medical Boosters

Having a pet may be just what the doctor ordered…literally. Studies show that having a pet can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure as well as decrease stress. Pets have proven to increase serotonin levels, which make us feel good, and decrease cortisol levels, which leads to stress.

Best Companion Pets for Seniors

While the type of animal you get is a matter of personal preference, when it comes to dogs, the breed can make a difference. Here are some veterinarian suggestions when it comes to the best companion dogs for seniors.

  • French Bulldog – These make solid companions because of their disposition and because they make favorable walking partners.
  • Poodle – This breed is often small and easy to maintain for seniors.
  • Schipperke – These dogs are sturdy and often easy to care-for.
  • Maltese – This breed is known to be attentive to its owners which is a plus for seniors. It also doesn’t shed a lot so there’s not much to clean in that department.
  • Pembroke Walsh Corgi – More active seniors may enjoy this breed that is on the move and often quite determined.

There are also certain cat breeds that may be better for seniors than others. These include:

  • Birman cat – These cats like to play but they’re not over the top when it comes to activity which can be perfect for seniors.
  • Ragdoll cat – This breed is very laid back and affectionate.
  • Russian blue – These cats tend to like to be close to their owners and usually stay out of trouble.
  • Persian cat – Known for affection, this breed bonds with its owners and is often very loyal.
  • Burmilla cat – These cats are active but are also affectionate with their owners.

No matter which type of pet you choose remember to choose one that you can maintain and take care of on your own or with minimal aid.

Is There Pet Friendly Assisted Living Near Me?

If you are looking for pet friendly senior living, call us on our helpline and we can help you to find the right home for you and your animal companion.

IN THIS ARTICLE

  • 1. Verify Your Kitten’s Age
  • 2. Find a Good Vet
  • 3. Get the Most Out of Your First Vet Visit
  • 4. Shop for Quality Food
  • 5. Set Up a Feeding Schedule
  • 6. Be Sociable
  • 7. Prepare a Room
  • 8. Gear Up
  • 9. Watch for Early Signs of Illness

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