Cats can live longer than many people think… 18 to 20 years is common.
Here’s how to keep your cat purring into advanced old age.
1. Take your cat to the veterinarian at least once a year for a complete physical exam, and follow your veterinarian’s advice regarding preventive health-care measures. Preventing disease and maintaining optimum health are the first steps toward a long, healthy life.
2. Spay or neuter your cat as soon as possible. Having kittens, especially repeated litters, is stressful and will contribute to premature aging.
3. Keep your cat inside at all times to reduce the risk of accidents, injuries from fights or disease. (Some research suggests inside cats live twice as long as outdoor cats!)
4. Feed your cat high-quality food designed to meet the specific nutritional requirements during all stages of his life.
5. Prevent obesity at all costs by controlling your cat’s diet and engaging him in play activities.
6. Talk to your veterinarian about adding vitamin and mineral supplements, antioxidants and extra fiber to your cat’s diet.
7. Have your cat’s teeth cleaned professionally. Good dental health will add years to his life.
8. Groom your cat daily, checking for abnormalities, and seek medical help promptly when you discover anything suspicious
9. Make sure no harmful chemicals such as pesticides or household cleaners find their way onto your cat’s fur, since cats groom themselves with their tongues constantly. Even small amounts of harmful chemicals on their bodies can have adverse effects if consumed over many years.
10. Protect your cat from environmental dangers such as household cleaners and secondhand smoke.
11. Help your cat avoid the stress of harassment from other animals by providing a quiet place for undisturbed catnaps.
12. Provide your older cat with a heat source such as a heating pad set on low, since cats more than 12 years old require extra heat. You’ll notice a difference in his attitude and activity level.
13. Give your cat daily full-body massages and lots of love. Despite their aloof demeanor, cats thrive on affection.
14. Protect your cat from dangerous plants such as cactus and poinsettia.
Find a veterinarian with a special interest in aging who keeps abreast of advancements in this rapidly developing area of pet care.
Be sure to call your veterinarian before giving your cat any product not specifically approved for cats. Some products, such as acetaminophen, commonly consumed safely by people or dogs, are poisonous to cats.
Here’s a quick way to treat your cat…Instead of a heating pad, fold up your down comforter on the end of the bed. Your aging cat will sink into its own warm cocoon for all its naps.
Remeber cats are like people… when they feel loved and happy their health is affected. So be sure to give your cat as much attention as you can.