It helps that cats have nine lives, but they still need our love and care to make the most out of them. We want our feline companions to live forever, and while a 100-year-old cat may be a bit of a pipe dream, extending our cats' lives past the typical 13-17 years can be an achievable goal. By following this set of simple tips, you will give your cat a paw up in life and offer it the opportunity to thrive well into their senior years.
1. Spay or neuter your pet.
Spaying or neutering your cat will prevent the further increase of the cat population, which often results in cats ending up abandoned or stuck in over-crowded shelters. The procedure will also help your cat personally. Spayed and neutered animals often live longer, due to a lower cancer risk and the elimination of certain diseases. (WebMD)
2. Groom your cat regularly.
Taking the time to brush your cat routinely can save you a lot of fur cleanup later, and can also help keep your pet healthy. Removing excess fur prevents your cats from licking it up themselves, which can lead to hairballs and painful stomach obstructions. Additionally, routine brushing help prevent the onset of certain skin problems. (Animal Planet)
3. Keep your cat stimulated with activities and toys.
Bored cats can cause trouble. Without a good dose of play, many cats will seek entertainment in more dangerous activities, like curtain-climbing and scratching, that can lead to injury. Felines without toys and activity are also known to develop anxiety or depression, which can take a toll on their physical health, too. Toys and games are also some of the best ways to fight pet obesity. Staying playful will help keep your cat slim and prevent the health problems that can come with gaining extra weight. (ABC News)
4. Watch out for poisonous plants.
Plants may look pretty to us, but things can turn ugly if your cat chooses to chew on the wrong one. Felines have negative reactions to an array of common plants and flowers. Effects can vary from gastrointestinal upset to death. Make sure to check if a plant or flower is toxic to your feline before bringing it home. You'll save yourself and your pet from any potential problems. (PetMD)
5. Change your cat's diet as it ages.
Just like humans, cats' bodies require different kinds of food as they age. It is important to change your pet's diet as they grow. While kittens will need food to bolster their immune systems and help them achieve a healthy weight, senior cats need food that will help them keep weight off, but provide an extra dose of nutrients their bodies may have trouble producing. If you change a cat's diet according to your vet's advice, you will help prevent and address health risks that change as your cat ages. (ASPCA)
6. Use pet-friendly cleaning products.
Simliar to plants, many everyday cleaning products are extremely dangerous for your cat. The ammonia, chlorine, glycol ethers and formaldehyde found in many products can lead to cancer, skin problems and organ failure if felines are continually exposed. Even if your cleaning supplies are stowed away safely, the vapors and residue left behind can still affect your cat. To ensure your pet stays safe, try to purchase natural cleaners that do not contain these harmful chemicals. (Earth Easy)
7. Stop free-feeding your cat.
Pet obesity is one of the leading causes of death among domestic animals, and free-feeding is one of the ways that animals become overweight. Many owners will leave out a bowl of dry food for their cats to munch on at their convenience. This is easy for us, but it is a problem for your pet. Having constant access to food leads cats to overeat and develop diseases like diabetes. By using portion control for all your cat's food, you are protecting your kitty from extra pounds and the problems that come with them. (All the Best Pet Care)
8. Keep track of your cat's dental health.
Brushing a cat's teeth may seem like silly business, but it could be a lifesaver. Dental disease is a serious problem for felines, especially in their senior years. Unchecked abscesses and gingivitis can cause your cat great discomfort and a lower quality of life. Additionally, if dental problems become serious enough, they can affect a cat's heart and kidney function. To stop these issues before they start, routinely brush your cat's teeth, and make sure your vet gets a good look at your cat's chompers during each visit. (Mother Nature Network)
9. Provide your cat with fresh water every day.
They may be covered in fur, but cats are made up of a good percentage of water, just like us. Because of this composition, it is necessary that cats have access to fresh water at all times. Staying hydrated helps to improve your cat's skin and coat, keeps their organs functioning properly and allows them to stay more active. To encourage your cat to drink water, make sure you change their bowl on a daily basis, so they are provided with a fresh, enticing drink. (Catster)
10. Feed your cat high-quality food.
To truly thrive, your naturally carnivorous cat needs a diet that is high in protein and other essential nutrients. Sadly, many cat foods are composed of corn and other fillers that are not necessarily ideal for your pet. To prevent feeding your cat an unhealthy or fattening diet, seek out foods that use a protein as their first ingredient. Providing your cat with high-quality foods instead of low-cost foods will help it stay healthy and thriving for years to come. (Purina)
11. Do not declaw your cat.
Declawing a cat used to be the norm, but now more professionals are spreading awareness about the damage it can cause. Declawing may seem like a good idea for your furniture, but it is hard for your cat to cope with it. The procedure could leave your pet with a variety of foot issues that could affect its day-to-day life. The procedure and recovery itself is very traumatizing, and can leave a cat stressed long after it's over. To prevent diminishing your cat's quality of life, seek out less permanent forms of claw maintenance, like trimming or caps. (About.com)
12. Keep your cat indoors.
It's hard at times to keep an animal from the wonders of the outside world, but it is often in your cat's best interest. Allowing your feline outside puts the cat at risk of picking up fleas or ticks, getting into accidents or fights, running away or eating something toxic. Keeping your cat indoors cuts down the chance of all of these threats. If you are set on letting your cat outside, make sure it is always supervised to prevent any injury. (Renegade Health)
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13. Visit the vet annually.
Routine visits to the vet are one of the best preventive measures you can take to protect your cat's life. During these annual screenings, doctors can run tests to check that your cat is currently on a healthy track. As a result, any needed adjustment can be recommended, preventing a small issue from becoming a life-threatening problem. These trips also allow your feline to stay up to date on their vaccinations, and free from the bugs and health woes that can plague cats without shots. (Petfinder)
13 Tips to Help Your Cat Live 99 Livescountdown
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