Age is just a number, right? Well, yes and no. A Human who is 70 years old may act like a young adult, while humans the same age may act like he or she is on their deathbed. Cats are exactly the same way! Your pet may act like a kitten for many years or may be achy at a very young. Specific breeds, environments, and genetics play a big role, but in general, a well cared for house cat usually lives to be at least 15 years old. Some cats even live to be well over 30.
There are a number of things you can do, to provide your cat with the chance for the longest life possible:
o Have your cat spayed or neutered. Statistics show that altered cats live longer:
o Having your cat fixed causes your cat to stay closer to home and be exposed to fewer dangerous situations and disease.
o Good nutrition is also extremely important make sure that you are buying cat food that is appropriate for your cat's age and traits;
o If your cat is overweight ensure you purchase cat food that:
- Satisfies Hunger (A healthy blend of fiber helps your cat stay fuller longer);
- Helps maintain healthy hips and joints; and
- Calorie Control (11% less Calories than normal cat food is standard).
- If your cat is strictly an indoor cat buy food that:
- Promotes lean muscle mass;
- Supports skin & coat health; and
- Has a magnesium level of not more than 0.098%.
o If your cat suffers from furballs (especially long furred cats) get food that contains:
- Furball preventative maintenance ingredients.
o If your cat is prone to urinary tract infections buy food that is formulated for management of urinary tract disease.
As your cat ages, there are certain medical conditions to take into consideration for your cat. Some include reduced tolerance to extreme temperatures, decreased sensory perception, susceptibility to infection, arthritis and joint stiffness, digestion problems, liver and kidney problems, weaker bones, cancer, muscle weakness, slow reaction, memory loss, high blood pressure, and irritability. As you can see, aging cats have many of the same problems as aging humans! If your cat displays any of the above signs, bring him/her to your vet for a complete examination. Inform your vet of your observations and follow his/her recommendations. After all, you cat is a valued member of your family!
Along with a good diet, ensure your cat gets enough exercise. You can do this by letting your cat outside to play. However, never allow your cat outside unless he/she is well supervised or has an enclosed area to play. You CAN train your cat to walk on a harness and leash. This not only allows your cat to get some exercise, but you as well. Never attach a leash to a cat's collar, this could lead to unintentional strangulation of your cat or if the collar is a breakaway, loss of your beloved pet.
Regardless if your cat is an indoor cat or both, have him/her micro-chipped. Attaching tags to their collars with your information is only useful if the cat has the collar on. Tattoo's become blurry and fades over time, thus reducing your chances of having your cat returned to you. Cats are curious and if there's a way for them to get out, they will find it!
Play with your cat every day, set aside 15 to 30 minutes, this not only persuades your cat to play, it's a wonderful way to bond with your cat. Toys, scratching posts, play stations, are also a great way to encourage your cat to exercise. Remember, cats may spend a lot of the day sleeping, which is fine, but if you are overly concerned, talk to your vet about your cat's sleeping habits.
Preventative health care, of course is very important. Make sure that your cat has regular checkups with your vet to ensure everything is okay. You should also brush your cat's teeth daily and have your cat groomed regularly to prevent skin diseases. Grooming your cat is also an excellent way to bond and allows you the opportunity to feel any lumps and abrasions not visual to the human eye. Take immediate action - remember it's easier and less costly to catch it before it becomes a major issue.
Monitor your cat for diet chances, litter box usage, changing sleep habits, and unsafe water consumption. The key to graceful aging in a cat is an owner who is well involved in his or her life. Make sure that you provide advanced care for your cat as he or she grows, and your pet should be a part of your life for a very long time.
Ensure your place is cat friendly. Keep all products containing chemicals that can be a health hazard to you cat in a safe place. (If necessary, purchase childproof locks, cats are inquisitive and many quickly learn how to open cupboards.)
Never use bleach to clean your cat's kitty litter box. If possible, purchase a steam cleaner for washing your floors. This reduces the use of chemical cleaning products and eliminates the risk of residue being digested by your cat. Remember, cats are very clean animals and any residue left behind from cleaning products can be easily consumed by your cat through self cleaning.
Cilantro and Tarragon
Cat Tales by Cilantro and Tarragon, Inc.