Encourage cats to jump until they are unable to do it, vet says

Tuesday, 3rd July 2012

People with elderly cats should encourage them to jump up as long as they are able to do it, a vet has said.

Pete Wedderburn, writing for the Daily Telegraph, was contacted by a reader who was wondering if they should get a cat flap for their 13-year-old cat, who normally goes out by jumping up through open windows.

The vet wrote: "I’d encourage her to jump up like this for as long as she’s able to do it. It’ll help to keep her flexible and strong. You can always install an easy-access cat flap when she does start to visibly slow up."

Dr Wedderburn added that he is pleased that the reader is planning for the cat's needs in old age.

He explained that most cat owners do not notice if their pet has arthritis as cats tend to just limit movement to reduce pain, which people tend to put down to cats getting older.

The Blue Cross recently published advice on how to tell the difference between arthritis and old age. It said that signs of arthritis can include limping, stiffness on first getting up and an unwillingness to climb the stairs.