11 Everyday Ways To Elongate Your Cat’s Life

Happy CatWe all want the same thing for our pets; to have a happy and comfortable living situation with a great quality of life. What many pet owners aren’t aware of, however, is that there are simple everyday ways to help keep your cat healthy and happy. It is always better to work on preventative measures ahead of time rather than having to attend to a problem later on. Here, we’re going to help you out with xx simple ways to elongate your cat’s life and keep their health in tip-top shape.

1. Buy the good food: There are hundreds of brands out there of cat food; how are you supposed to know what’s the best for your cat? Well, there are some key factors that you’ll want to look for in the label that can help elongate your cat’s life and make sure that you’re giving them all the nutrients that they need to be healthy. The verdict isn’t out yet on whether dry or wet food is better for a cat, but we suggest a mix of both; wet food for breakfast, and dry food for dinner.

Make sure that the mix has high levels of protein, omega fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, and lower levels of carbohydrates, excluding fiber. Representatives at your pet store or your veterinarian can help determine the best kind of food available for your cat. It may cost a bit more than the low-grade food, but will certainly save you time and money in the long run.

2. Regular veterinarian visits: The best way to prevent a health problem is to catch it right when it starts and stop it in its tracks. By taking your cat to the veterinarian at least once a year, you are keeping up with any upcoming health problems and catching them at the source. Another benefit of taking your cat to the veterinarian regularly is keeping up on their shots and vaccinations. Especially if your cat is an indoor cat, you’ll want to keep them up to date on their shots since they are more likely to be exposed to outside sources of disease and infection. Indoor cats can also benefit from shots.

Brushing your cat prevents painful mats, hairloss, and excess hairballs.

Brushing your cat prevents painful mats, hairloss, and excess hairballs.

3. Brushing: Keeping your cat brushed helps with your cat’s health in two ways; it prevents matting of the fur which can become painful and cause hair loss, and it keeps down the amount of hairballs that your cat is prone to. Some cats are better at grooming than others, and cat’s grooming habits change throughout the course of their lives. If you notice your cat not grooming as well as they used to, you may want to help out with brushing and you should bring this change in behavior to your veterinarian’s attention. By brushing out any extra hair, you’re reducing the amount of hairballs that your cat will be producing. Although hairballs are generally harmless, an excess of them can cause stress on your cat’s intestinal tract and could lead to blockage in the esophagus.

4. Teeth brushing: Although it may sound silly, brushing your cat’s teeth should be a regular part of your daily regimen. Oral health is a huge factor in overall health for most animals, and cats are no different. By brushing your cat’s teeth, you are preventing harmful plaque buildup, gingivitis, and other serious oral problems that can arise from a mouth that hasn’t been attended to properly. If you aren’t able to brush your cat’s teeth with a feline toothbrush, there are lots of alternatives offered, and you can always take them to the veterinarian for a full mouth-cleaning.

5. Non-stressful surroundings: Nothing triggers health problems better than a stressful situation. Cats enjoy peace and quiet most of the time, and don’t like to be chased, teased, or annoyed. If your cat is constantly bothered by another pet or member of your household, they are much more likely to be timid and stressed out. Stress has been shown to lower immune systems and lower the quality of life for almost every animal. Make sure that your cat has a safe place that they can go to be alone whenever they please, and that their food and litter box is in a safe and secure place.

6. Indoors-only: By simply having your cat be indoors-only, you are elongating their life expectancy exponentially. The average lifespan of an indoors-only cat is between 13-19 years. Shockingly, the average lifespan of an indoors/outdoors cat is 3-6 years, and only one year for outdoors-only cats. This is because cats that go outside are exposed to all kinds of danger that indoors-only cat would never encounter, unless they get out. These early causes of death are due to car accidents, illness, other animals, and other outdoor factors.

7. Prevent fleas and ticks: Whether your cat is indoors or outdoors, regularly applying flea and tick repellent is always a good idea. Even though indoor cats aren’t going outside and becoming susceptible to outside forces, if even one flea or tick somehow gets inside the house, they could easily multiply and affect the whole household in no time. Fleas and ticks can cause painful bites, and in worst-case scenarios, these bites could become infected. This is why it is so important to keep your cat’s shots up to date; this, combined with flea and tick repellent will keep your cat bug-free.

This cat could stand to lose a pound or four.

This cat could stand to lose a pound or four.

8. Keep them at a healthy weight: One of the leading health problems for house cats is obesity. At least 50% of American cats are obese. This is because house cats live a sedentary lifestyle; they are no longer required to hunt for their food and aren’t constantly on the run for shelter. This laziness may be comfortable, but obesity can lead to many health problems including diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancers, and more. To learn more about helping a fat cat, click here.

9. Play everyday: Play is not only a bonding experience for you and your cat, but is also one of the best ways to combat feline obesity. When you play with your cat, make sure to play in ways that get them jumping, running, and exercising. A housecat usually only extends energy when they have to, contrary to the habits of wild cats. Cats aren’t supposed to live sedentary lifestyles, but with an increasing amount of cats being indoors-only, feline obesity affects almost 50% of American housecats. By exercising your cat through play every day, you are taking steps to combat health problems caused by obesity, including heart disease, arthritis, and more.

10. Pay attention: Pay attention to your cat’s habits, and report any significant changes to your veterinarian. Some habits that you’ll want to pay special attention to are their sleeping patterns, their grooming habits, their potty habits, and their eating habits. If you notice any significant changes in your cat’s habits, you’ll want to bring this to the attention of your veterinarian as quickly as possible. The faster that you deal with a possible health problem, the quicker it will be diagnosed and possibly remedied before it gets worse.

A handful of common houseplants are poisonus to cats if ingested.

A handful of common houseplants are poisonus to cats if ingested.

11. Keep toxins out of reach: There are numerous household toxins that are harmful and/or fatal to cats; from chemicals, to plants, to foods. It is important to keep any and all household toxins out of your cat’s way. You never know what your cat will get into while you’re out of the house, or even while you’re still at home. Accidents happen, so it is best to be prepared and know what to look out for. For our complete list of common household toxins for cats, click here.

By keeping up with your cat’s health everyday, you will elongate your cat’s life and keep their quality of life at its best.