If you love your cat, you probably want her to get the most out of her nine lives. You can do a number of things to help your cat live a long and healthy life.
- Keep the cat inside. Statistically, indoor cats live to be an average of thirteen years old (although some indoor cats may live beyond the age of twenty). Conversely, the average life span of an outdoor cat is less than three years. You may think that your outside "barn cat" is coping with the great outdoors, but there are many hazards that contribute to the shorter life span of outdoor cats. Wild animals, diseases, cars, poisons, and getting lost are just a few of the rigors indoor cats don’t have to deal with.
- Spay or Neuter. At around 6 months old, get the cat spayed or neutered. Getting a cat "fixed" eliminates a number of health problems, many behavior problems, and the possibility that your cat will contribute to the pet overpopulation crisis.
- Feed her well (but not too much). Be sure to give your cat plenty of food and water. But don’t overfeed her as overweight cats are susceptible to various health problems, especially as they get older.
- Vaccinate. Keep your cat current on all her vaccinations. Whether you take her to a veterinarian or give the shots yourself (assuming you know how), the vaccinations can save your cat’s life.
- Get to a vet. If your cat starts acting differently for some reason, something may be wrong with her. You know your cat better than anyone, so if you suspect a problem, take her to the veterinarian. Many illnesses and problems can be treated if they are caught early.
Few things are as comforting as a purring cat in your lap. Return the favor and be good to your cat. With a little effort on your part, you can keep your feline friend healthy and happy for years to come.