The photo above is of Rags at the vet on 3-14-08. Feline Health Care is essential for a long and healthy life for your cat.
The health of your cat is very important and therefore having knowledge about health care for your cat is also very important.
You should take your cat to the vet at least once a year, but better if you take it twice a year. Rags, for example, was taken to the vet every 3 months due to the fact that he was in remission from cancer and was 18-19 years old. The vets liked to check his blood and his vitals and to make sure he was comfortable.
Cats, like Dogs, age more quickly than humans. Previous thought was that cats age 7-9 years to every 1 human year. This is inaccurate since the average lifespan for a house cat is about 15 years, whereas the average lifespan for a person (in 1st world countries) is about 75 years. Therefore, a cat year is about 5 human years on average (75 divided by 15).
Cats spend a small proportion of their lives in the immature stage:
- Cats are physically and sexually developed within about 1 year, whereas people reach the equivalent maturity at 15 years, so the first years of a cats life is equivalent to 15 years of a person’s.
- At two years of age a cat has reached the same maturity as a person of 25 years, so the second year of a cat’s life is equivalent to 10 years (25 minus 15) of a person’s.
- Thereafter, each calendar year a cat ages the equivalent of 4 human years. That’s why keeping on top of their health care is so important.
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These factors are expressed in the following table.
The oldest recorded age for a cat is 34 years.
The conditions in which a cat lives will greatly affect its lifespan. It is not unusual for a house cat to reach 15 years or even 20 years of age, whereas an intact tomcat living in the wild has an average life expectancy of about 3 years. Some general factors that affect lifespan are:
- Gender-Female cats tend to live slightly longer than male cats.
- Neutering-Neutered cats tend to live longer than intact cats. In part this is due to a reduced risk of cancer, as cancers of the sex organs are often related to sex hormones, which are greatly diminished by neutering. Current research indicates that the sooner the neutering is done the lower the risk of these cancers, and if a female cat is neutered before the first season the risk is believed to be less than 1%. There is also some evidence that neutered cats, especially neutered tomcats, benefit from a reduced exposure to infectious diseases (they stay closer to home).
- Diet-The three major natural causes of death in cats are kidney failure, cancer and infectious diseases. Suitable foods (including special reduced protein cat food for older cats) can significantly delay kidney problems and may also reduce cancers. There are a range of cat foods specially adapted to different cat ages and medical conditions, even a speciality food for neutered cats.
- Living conditions-A suitable environment will result in a healthier cat who can be expected to live longer. For this reason house cats typically live longer than barn cats or feral cats.
- Medical Attention-Cats should have vaccination against the common feline diseases. In some parts of the world the presence of certain deadly parasites (e.g. heartworm) require that cats receive preventive medication monthly to ensure that they are not infected. Infectious diseases is one of the three main natural causes of cat death, which can be easily prevented by ensuring that vaccinations are given and kept up-to-date. Finally, like people, cats periodically require medical treatment for illness or injury, especially as they get older.
Individual characteristics. Just as some people are born with a strong constitution, so are some cats. Consequently, while one can talk about the expected lifespan of a cat based on the above factors, individual cats will vary somewhat from this.
Cats’ bodies change. Cats become more mature adults at age 7. As your cat gets older, s/he may develop issues with the following:
- Oral Health
- Heart Health
- Kidney Health
To help maintain oral health, brushing your cats’ teeth, feeding them a dry food formula and having a routine dental examination and cleaning by your vet is the best way to go. Oral Health is an important part of overall feline health care.
To help maintain a healthy heart, your cat needs a food with low levels of sodium as well as essential amino acids, including taurine.
To help maintain healthy kidneys, avoid feeding your cat high levels of phosphorus — which needs to be given at controlled levels. Getting your cat’s blood taken once a year or more often is just as important as getting your own full panel of blood work done. Learn more about the process of blood being taken and it’s importance in feline health care.
Of course, vet visits and cat health care can get expensive, so you’ll want to consider pet insurance to save money over the long run.
Contact Floppycats.com about additional recommendations for Feline Health Care or feel free to leave a comment below.
Check out the some of the health care procedures that Rags has received: