Housecats have been with us since humans first began farming. Over the centuries they’ve proven themselves to be both capable hunters and loving companions. Today, cats live on average between 13 and 17 years, though some can live far longer. Making sure your cat lives a long and healthy life has a lot to do with the care choices you make. A safe environment, healthy diet, regular vet visits, and diligent management of any chronic health issues can help your cat stay healthy longer.
Let’s take a look at a few ways you can help your feline friends enjoy long healthy lives.
Yearly Cat Wellness Exams & Vaccinations
When it comes to your pet’s health, your vet is your best resource. Even if your cat is well, an annual checkup is recommended.
- Wellness exams allow your vet to build a clear picture of your pet’s health over time.
- A physical exam and routine blood work will help your vet assess your pet’s current health and detect any changes over previous years.
- A dental check can detect dental decay and gum disease before it becomes severe.
- Wellness checks inform your vet on any weight changes in your cat. Sharp decreases or increases in appetite can signal an underlying medical issue.
Wellness checks also allow your vet to administer any recommended vaccines to ensure that your cat’s immunity to disease and resistance to parasites remain robust. Keeping current with your cat’s immunizations is an excellent way to safeguard your pet’s health.
Spaying & Neutering Your Cat
Spaying and neutering your cat can help cut disease risk and lengthen its lifespan. According to a 2013 study by Banfield Animal Hospital, spayed female cats lived 39% longer and neutered males lived 62% longer than their un-neutered counterparts. This is due to many factors, including
- Neutering reduces the desire of male cats to roam, lessening their risk for being injured or killed outdoors.
- Spaying eliminates the risk for ovarian or uterine disease in females.
- Spaying eliminates the risk for certain cancers.
- Spaying and neutering also reduce the number of stray animals in the community and in animal shelters.
Neutering of male cats is a simple procedure, whereas spaying (removal of the uterus and ovaries) is a more invasive surgical procedure and may require an overnight stay in the vet hospital. Spaying and neutering are recommended by the ASPCA, both to improve feline health and to reduce the stray cat population.
Feline Weight Management
Most healthy cats reach about 7-10 pounds at maturity, depending on breed, gender, and overall health. Sudden and unanticipated weight changes, either plus or minus, can be indicators of disease.
Annual wellness checkups help your vet track your cat’s weight. Obese cats can be at increased risk for feline diabetes (a serious and potentially life-threatening condition), as well as digestive problems, grooming issues, and orthopedic problems.
If your vet believes your cat is overweight, they may recommend a dietary change. This could take the form of a new brand of food, changes in portion size, or administration of meds. They may also ask about your cat’s activity level, and suggest ways to keep your cat engaged and active. Keeping your cat’s weight within the healthy range can increase both length and quality of life.
Managing Chronic Illness
Like humans, cats often suffer with long-term illnesses. Diabetes, kidney disease, bowel disease, orthopedic issues, and other conditions can reduce your pet’s lifespan, but with careful management, your pet can live to its maximum potential.
Managing chronic illness in a pet can be challenging. It can involve more frequent vet visits, overnight hospitalizations, and home care responsibilities. If your cat needs care that can be provided at home, your vet can give you the needed supplies and show you how to administer therapeutic treatments and medications to your pet safely.
Is Cat Insurance for You?
Are you prepared for a pet health emergency? If your pet becomes ill or injured and in need of care, the expenses can mount quickly. Lab tests, surgical procedures, and medications—combined with boarding costs—can leave you with some unwanted expenses.
Pet insurance offers you a way to prepare for the unexpected. With quality coverage, you’ll know that your pet is getting the best possible care—without breaking the family budget. And most of all, pet insurance gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your pet is covered, regardless of the emergency.
As a responsible pet owner, you want to give your cat a loving and supportive environment. That means providing a nutritious diet and regular veterinary care to ensure that your animal can live its best life. We recommend that cat owners…
- Schedule annual well-pet checkups with your vet
- Keep up with all vaccinations and immunizations
- Spay or neuter your pet to reduce disease and cancer risk
- Help your pet stay active and maintain a healthy weight
- Be diligent about home care for cats with chronic health issues
- Consider pet insurance to help manage vet expenses
We hope you find these tips helpful. Looking to partner with a pet insurance pro? Give us a call today and let us show you how peace of mind feels.