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Retirement: Health for your Aging Cat


Age is just a number, right? A Human who is 60 years old may act like a young adult, while another human the same age may act like he or she is on their deathbed. Cats are the same way! Your pet may act like a kitten for many years or may be gray and achy quite young. Specific breed, environment, and genetics play a role, but in general, a well-cared for house cat usually lives to be at least 15 years old. Some cats live to be well over 30.

There are things you can do, however, to provide your cat with the chance for the longest life possible. For example, have your cat spayed or neutered. Statistics show that fixed cats live longer, because this causes the cat to stay closer to home and be exposed to fewer dangerous situations and disease. Good nutrition is also important. Make sure that you are buying cat food that is appropriate for your cat’s age.

As you cat ages, certain medical conditions may cause you to make special considerations for your cat. Examples 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!

Along with a good diet, promote healthy amounts of exercise in your cat. You can do this by allowing your cat to go outside and by playing with your cat every day. Toys and environmental pieces, like scratching posts, are great for encouraging your cat to exercise. Remember, cats may spend a lot of the day sleeping, which is fine. If you are overly concerned, talk to your vet about your cat’s sleeping habits.

Preventative health care is, of course, important. Make sure that your cat has regular checkups with the vet to make sure everything is in check. You should also brush your cat’s teeth daily and have your cat groomed regularly to prevent skin diseases. As cats age, most grow to love grooming. Monitor your cat for diet changes, 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.

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