Cats are amazing animals. There’s a reason they have a legendary reputation for having 9 lives. Naturally swift and flexible, cats can survive harrowing falls and near fatal mishaps. In fact, veterinarians have reported multiple instances where cats survived falls from buildings anywhere between seven to 32 stories in height.
Compared to other pets, cats are also known for their longevity. They live an average of up to 15 years of age, and it’s possible for some to live even longer, possibly to the age of 20!
But cats can’t do it all on their own. They need your help. Here are some basic things you can do to ensure your cat lives not only a long life, but a healthy one, too.
Don’t Give in to Curiosity
In addition to 9 lives, cats are extraordinarily curious—hence the expression “curiosity killed the cat.” Most cats want to explore the outdoors. As tempting as it may be to give in to your cat’s wishes, it’s better to keep them indoors. An outdoor cat is more at risk for accidents, parasites and other predators. Indoor cats live longer, healthier lives.
Regular vet care is another thing you can do to extend the life of your cat. Sometimes this is hard to do. Your cat seems healthy, and vet bills can be costly. It’s easy to believe you can put off routine check-ups. But the bottom line is that your cat won’t make it to a ripe old age unless they receive annual care. And vets report that routine visits actually help reduce illnesses and infirmities in cats as they grow older.
When your Cat is no Longer a Spring Chicken
Because they live long lives, care for older cats requires special attention. In addition to the normal responsibilities of pet care, your job should now also include helping minimize the physical and emotional discomforts of your older pet.
When your cat reaches the age of seven, pay attention to their daily habits. Make sure you start visiting the vet annually. Your vet will perform a thorough physical exam and may recommend blood work. In particular, a complete blood count, liver and kidney functions should be ordered.
Not Lazy, Just Normal
By age seven, your cat will also become less active than when he was a kitten. This is perfectly normal. As cats get older they become more sedentary and prefer to sleep long hours in the same spot. They are also becoming less agile. But don’t underestimate how important activity is to a cat. Sleeping longer is normal, but your cat still needs to move about to keep its joints and muscles healthy. Inactive cats are unhappy ones, so be sure to provide plenty of opportunities for your cat to get lots of exercise, because you’ll be improving not only it’s quality of life, but yours as well.
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