Keeping old cats young

December 8, 2009 at 12:38 pm Leave a comment

Great news: cats are living longer, healthier lives.  And Dr. Marty Becker and Gina Spadafori have some thoughts on how you can make sure your cats can be part of that trend in this week’s Pet Connection newspaper feature:

The popularity of cats has led to an explosion in knowledge of how to care for them at all stages of their lives, and geriatric care is no exception. Barring accidents, cats can live healthier, happier lives years longer than they ever have before — 10, 12, 14 years. Protected from the outside world, cats can live even longer, with 16, 18 and even 20 years — or more — a possibility.

But longer, happier lives do require effort on the part of cat owners. Sadly, study after study shows that cats aren’t seeing that effort: Pet owners dedicate more time and money into keeping their dogs healthy than their cats.

You love your older cat, right? So change that. Why throw away good years you could share? The place to start: a visit to your veterinarian.

Regular physicals — for geriatrics, twice a year is best — are even more important as your cat ages. These need to be more extensive than when your cat was younger: Your veterinarian may suggest blood and urine tests, for example, to determine what’s normal for your cat so that subsequent changes in the test values are more apparent.

From Dr. Becker and Mikkel Becker Shannon, help during hard times for pets and the people who love them:

The nonprofit Meals on Wheels has struggled in this economy to continue the delivery of meals to the elderly and pet food to their animals because rising gas prices have decreased the number of volunteers able to deliver the food. Meals on Wheels provides for pets in more than 100 of their locations, understanding how important animals can be to the socially isolated. To help keep the food deliveries on track, Meals on Wheels has collaborated with Banfield Charitable Trust to start “We All Love Our Pets,” a program providing grants nationwide both to create new pet food delivery programs and also to assist volunteers with the costs of distribution.

Want more? Read the entire Pet Connection for this week!…

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