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We all want to share extended happy moments with our feline friends. While there are some factors beyond our control, there’s also so much we can do to increase the longevity of our cats.
In this guide, we will show you how to make a cat live longer and happier, from adopting simple lifestyle changes to embracing practical and healthy habits.
12 Tips to Help Your Cat Live Longer
1. Maintain regular vet visits
Scheduling and keeping up with routine visits to the vet is essential in improving the overall well-being of your feline friend.
Your cat should undergo wellness checks and lab tests during these visits. Your vet should be able to detect early and treat life-threatening conditions before they become a problem.
Taking your cat to the vet for routine checks also ensures they receive all core vaccines and boosters to keep them inoculated against common communicable diseases.
2. Keep your cat indoors
One of the best ways to keep your cat safe, secure, and healthy, and increase their life expectancy is by keeping them indoors.
It is estimated that outdoor cats have an average lifespan of 2 – 5 years, while indoor cats can live for 15 – 20 years.
Allowing your cat to stay in the open for extended periods may expose them to communicable diseases, harmful pathogens, animal attacks, car accidents, and other dangerous situations.
You can encourage your cat to stay indoors by creating a safe and secure place for them to relax, play, eat, and sleep.
Keep an eye on your cat during the summer especially those who love to hang around the window panes. Always keep the windows shut to ensure your feline friend does not escape.
3. Get your cat microchipped
Sometimes it can become difficult to keep our cats indoors, no matter how best we do it. Cats are naturally curious, and they may want to experience new sights and sounds in outdoor conditions.
Your cat may escape through a door or window which was unintentionally left open or they may dash through your legs as you walk in the house.
This is why it’s very important to get your cat microchipped and keep their registration details up to date.
If your microchipped cat escapes and gets lost in the neighborhood, it becomes easier for anyone to trace them back to you, and this could be a lifesaver.
4. Feed your cat a well-balanced food
Feeding your cat a high-quality diet is another way to ensure they live their best lives. Consider high-moisture cat foods since kibble alone will not offer the best nutritional mix.
Keep in mind that cats are naturally carnivorous, so they need plenty of animal-based foods to keep them in top condition.
If you’re parenting multiple cats, it’s important to set up several feeding stations for every cat to avoid food-related conflicts among them.
Make sure to practice portion control and watch as your cat eats to prevent them from overfeeding which can lead to obesity.
5. Provide enough drinking water
Many pet parents are devoted to providing good quality food to their cats, but some overlook the importance of clean drinking water.
Cats need a constant supply of clean drinking water. Setting up several water points across your house and stocking them with overflowing water is important to keep your cat hydrated.
If your cat is not a big fan of taking still water from traditional water bowls, you can invest in a water fountain with running water to encourage them.
6. Watch your cat’s weight
Excess weight and obesity are a gateway to health problems in all animals, including cats. Allowing your feline friend to add extra pounds can cause diabetes or other chronic problems.
Carrying too much weight also means the affected cat will cause excessive stress on their joints and other body organs.
To maintain a healthy weight, make sure to feed your cat a balanced diet as recommended by a qualified vet nutritionist.
Providing enough physical exercise and mental stimulation is also an ideal way to keep your cat in their best shape.
It’s recommended to call your vet straight away if you notice any dramatic increase or decrease in their body weight.
7. Spay or neuter your cat
Neutering or spaying your cat offers more benefits than population control. Fixed cats are less likely to roam, mark territory, or display aggressive behavior.
According to research done by Banfield Pet Hospital, spayed and neutered cats are highly likely to live longer than their sexually intact counterparts.
8. Provide good dental care
Your cat’s oral hygiene and dental health are essential for their overall well-being. In addition to excessive pain, dental problems can also cause other issues such as infections.
It is estimated that more than 50% of cats above the age of four years are already experiencing some form of dental problems. If you’ve not been keen on your cat’s dental health, it’s not too late to start.
Schedule a dental checkup with your vet, and maintain regular visits thereafter to keep your cat’s teeth in perfect condition.
Your veterinarian may recommend extraction of affected teeth to prevent worsening of the dental issues.
Brushing your cat’s teeth daily, or at least three times a week, will establish a consistent routine and make your cat comfortable with the practice
It’s also a good idea to take your cat for professional teeth cleaning at the vet’s office to restore their whites to pristine condition.
9. Keep your cat entertained
A bored, stressed, depressed, and anxious cat will likely live a short life. You can drive boredom away by providing your kitty with enough toys and perches to keep them entertained.
It’s important to rotate the cat toys every few days to provide extra mental enrichment and avert monotony from the use of similar toys.
10. Groom your cat regularly
Brushing your cat daily helps keep their coat soft and shiny in addition to removing the tough mats and tangles.
Use cat-safe shampoo and warm water to bathe your cat every 4 or 6 weeks. Beware of overbathing since it can strip off the natural oils from your cat’s skin.
Monitor your cat’s ears to check for any signs of redness or discharge. Use a cotton ball dipped in a pH-balanced cat ear cleanser to wipe down your cat’s ears.
Plan for regular nail trims to keep the nails short and clean, unless they are serious scratchers or climbers. Overgrown nails can catch on various items and lead to dangerous injuries.
Grooming your cat on habit allows you to get familiarized with their body, so you can detect an abnormal change in skin texture or tenderness.
Reach out to your veterinarian as soon as you notice any lumps, hotspots, bald spots, or rashes on your cat’s body because they could be a sign of a serious problem.
11. Keep the litter box clean
A dirty litter box can harbor microorganisms in addition to producing a foul odor. Make sure to scoop your cat’s litter box daily to keep your house smelling fresh and free from pathogens.
A clean litter box makes it easy to notice significant changes in your cat’s urine/poop odor or changes in bowel habits. Talk to your vet immediately if you notice blood in stool or diarrhea.
If you can’t keep up with daily scooping, we recommend you invest in an automatic cat litter box that will do the cleaning for you.
12. Use natural products
There are plenty of artificial cat products with the potential to shorten the lifespan of your lovely cat.
Limiting the use of poisonous flea control products and synthetic soaps will help keep your cat healthy.
We recommend the use of pet-safe natural alternative products when grooming your cat or cleaning your home.
Natural products are also essential in keeping your cat healthy with a soft and shiny coat, as opposed to artificial products which may show negative side effects.
READ ALSO: Signs Your Cat Will Live a Long Time
Taking an all-inclusive approach to improving the health, safety, and overall well-being of your cat will ensure you enjoy increased longevity with happy moments together.
As you have seen, our comprehensive strategies on how to make a cat live longer are easy to follow and practical.
Remember to consult your vet where necessary and fine-tune some variable aspects to meet the needs of your cat.
Laura is the founder of Furs'n'Paws. She is a also a pet writer and expert with more than 20 years of experience of working with dogs and cats. She developed a very strong love for animals at a young age. Her passion led her to establish a thriving pet sitting and dog walking business in Dubai. As an expert in pet training, behavior, and nutrition, Laura is committed to helping pet owners and pet lovers by offering high-quality information on a wide range of topics.