How to Maintain Muscle Mass in Cats

Old age leads to muscle loss.

Old age leads to muscle loss.

Kitty getting into his senior years? As cats get older, they start to lose muscle mass. This makes it harder for them to jump on your table or climb the curtains -- which might sound like a good thing, but it's not.

Switch to a high-protein, high-quality food. Foods especially designed for senior cats are best, or just look for something that lists some type of meat -- not meat byproducts -- as the first ingredient. And slip Kitty some tuna on the side on a regular basis.

Encourage exercise. The less active Fluffy is, the faster he'll lose muscle. Can't get him to jump on tables anymore? Buy him a tall cat tree with lots of tunnels, hiding places and scratching areas. Even grandpa Kitty won't be able to resist such a treat, and all the climbing up and down will provide some great muscle-building exercise.

Talk to your vet about giving lysine supplements to Kitty. This amino acid is essential for muscle building. Even if you're spending a fortune in quality pet food, a supplement might still be a good idea.

Make your house into an impromptu spa. Every day, give Kitty a massage to stimulate circulation and keep muscles flexible and pain-free. The better your cat feels, the more chances he'll be active and hold on to his muscle mass. Remember, your goal is to keep Kitty moving as much as possible. If that requires some gentle spa treatments on a daily basis, who are you to argue?

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About the Author

Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.

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