The Secrets to Long Lives for Cats

the secrets to long lives for cats

You never would have thought Luna, my strong willed little tuxedo girl, would live to her current ripe old age of 20. A few times in her life, Luna has endured some health setbacks, most of which have been related to intestinal problems. As a long time cat lover and specialist in their daily care and well being, I am often amazed by Luna’s resiliency when, with the proper care and nutrition, she has bounced back each time to live another day.

Age 20 for a cat is a great achievement in and of itself, but this wily cat also enjoys “working out” at night, a routine typically followed by much younger cats. At the stroke of midnight, a few times a week, Luna leaps from the bed to the floor, races through the second floor of our home, and repeats the performance. Not a way for her humans to get a restful night’s sleep, but we can’t help but admire Luna for her pep.

Observing the living habits of many older cats over the years, I have developed a sense of what is behind the phenomenon of cats managing to live to ripe old ages. Genetics certainly would seem to play a factor. Much like studies on human genetics and how their inherited traits may swing the longevity pendulum to a shorter, or longer life, I believe that this impacts cats’ lives as well. Some purebred cats, for example, seem to generally have a shorter life span than “mixed” breeds, the latter of what I term a “Heinz 57” cat. Although several years ago, there was a story about a Sphinx cat who purportedly lived to age 32. His human was also quite elderly, they were the perfect “little old men”!

Exercise leads to fit cats, another indicator of longevity. Our Luna is about as slim as they get, and that’s the way she’s been for many years. Perhaps that’s why she seemingly has little to no arthritis and the ability to fly through the air at midnight. It’s important to spend as much time as possible interacting with cats. Catnip, wand and other toys that bring out the hunting instinct in cats are effective in ensuring exercise as well as mental stimulation. Although indoor/outdoor” cats undoubtedly experience the thrill of the hunt, they are subject to many more life threatening risks than their indoor feline counterparts, including hit and run car accidents, animal fights, and unfortunately, ill meaning people.

Great nutrition is another leading factor. With the proliferation of cat food choices on the market, it’s easy to choose a food that has fewer by products, and purer ingredients. I have also discovered that moisture in food tends to be an important factor in a cat’s health, especially as they age. A combination of premium quality canned foods with dry foods seems to work for our aging cats. A vitamin supplement such as Felovite with Taurine also helps keep them well nourished.

Keeping cats well hydrated also is good preventative measure for many ailments. Cats tend to wait until they are fairly dehydrated before going to the water bowl. We have been using cat water fountains ever since they first came onto the market and recommend their usage to encourage cats to drink. Our favorite is the line of Drinkwell products, especially the Pagoda and Lotus ceramic fountains as well as the Stainless Steel “360”.

Finally, and perhaps the most important key to feline longevity, is emotional health. I can’t say enough about showing your cats how much you love them. Your cat will let you know what he/she prefers in this sense, whether it’s just a kind word, a stroke on the head, or a “full body hug”. Let them know every day how much they mean to you in your life. Encouragement and affection will go a long way towards extending their lifetimes.

Peek N Prize Toy Box at MyThreeCats.com

What types of environmental enhancements do you offer your cat?

Caring for cats properly involves much more than simply furnishing food, water and a litter box. Environmental enrichment, such as toys, food puzzles, perches, and even hiding places, can really change the quality of life for almost any cat.

The Winn Feline Foundation recently took a look at this issue in a group of shelter cats on their blog. Environmental enrichment in shelter cats is an excerpt from a study which provided a food puzzle to a stable group of shelter cats and examined their reaction to the puzzle and their interactions surrounding the object. The study concluded:

“a stimulating item that can be shared by all individuals in a stable group, such as a puzzle feeder of appropriate size, can play an important role in promoting positive social interactions among cats and improving their welfare.”

Certainly, in shelter cats, this is an important study. It underlines the need for more than just basic care in the lives of these animals and the fact that this enrichment is easily achievable. After all, the ultimate goal is to give these cats the best chance for adoption. Cats that are comfortable in their environment and confident will show it in their behavior. And confident behavior is much more “adoptable” than a cat that is hiding in his cage or, worse yet, acting in aggressive manner out of fear.

However, this study also can be extended to those of us who keep multi-cat households. I have three cats and frequently see two or more of my cats interacting with the toys and puzzles at once. In fact, it seems as though if one cat shows interest, it generates interest in the other cats as well.  

Many environmental enhancement toys, cat furniture and other items can be found at www.MyThreeCats.com, the experts in optimum care care and well being.

New Stainless Steel Drinking Fountain For Multiple Cats Now Available

We’re excited to be able to announce one of the best quality cat products on the market today, a cat fountain designed to allow multiple cats to drink fresh, aerated streams of water, without having to wait their turn.

The reason the Drinkwell 360 Stainless Steel Pet Fountain has really caught our attention is twofold:  it accommodates multiple cats, and its stainless steel design prevents “cat acne”.   What is “cat acne”?   

When cats’ chins and surrounding area come in contact with unclean, plastic food and water bowls, the bacteria that can work its way into scratches and nicks in the bowl can infect the cat.  Veterinarians and other feline experts recommend using ceramic, glass or metal bowls, and daily washing of those, in order to prevent this common condition.

You can find the Drinkwell 360 Stainless Steel Pet Fountain at www.mythreecats.com.  As a loyal blog reader, we want to reward you and offer you a 25% discount off the $99.95 retail price of this fountain for a very limited time only, while supplies last.   You must type in the promo code 360 in the promo code box at checkout and then click “update” in order to get the discount. 

Reward Your Cat and Help a Homeless Cat

Reward your Cat and Give a Homeless Cat a Chance at MyThreeCats.com!

MyThreeCats.com and The Studio of Bernadette Kazmarski have partnered to offer you, our cherished customers and cat lovers, a special event designed to reward you and your cat(s) AND save the lives of homeless cats. Now through May 1, 2010, you will have a one time opportunity to do either (or both) of the following:

#1 Place your bid in an on line auction for a strikingly vibrant and beautiful print of an original portrait “Peaches and Peonies” created by renowned animal artist and publisher Bernadette Kazmarski. Click here to view “Peaches and Peonies” and to register for the auction.

Proceeds from the winning bid will be donated to FosterCat, Inc., a 501 C3 all-volunteer non-profit organization founded in 1999, providing temporary foster homes for cats and kittens until they can be placed for adoption. 2010 marks FosterCat Inc.’s 11th year as they approach their 1,000th cat adoption. Read more about FosterCat, Inc. here.

#2 Place your order now at MyThreeCats.com. For each and every order received through this email promotion now through May 1, 2010, MyThreeCats & Co., Inc. will donate $5.00 to FosterCat, Inc. Once we’ve received your order, you’ll receive an email confirmation of the donation. (Note: Donations from My Three Cats & Co., Inc. for this event will only be generated by receipt of product orders. No minimum is necessary).

Wouldn’t you like to know that you’ve saved lives, while doing your favorite thing – shopping for your favorite feline at MyThreeCats.com, or winning a beautiful cat print! This is a time limited event, expiring May 1, 2010, so we encourage you to act now.

Happy Shopping and Bidding!

   

 

The Daily Cat: Playing Kitty Airplane

peaches-with-canA healthy cat will eat what you give her, a kitty who is a little under the weather may need some persuasion; we won’t be talking about those manipulative and overly dramatic “finicky” kitties here. We’re considering cats who are recovering from illness or injury or who are elderly, and for whom even eating is a little bit of a burden. She may seem hungry, even show up for mealtime, but take a sniff or even attempt to eat and walk away. Often illness, surgery, trauma or age reduce a cat’s appetite through weakness, stomach upset, loss of smell or loss of taste, and a cat in a slightly weakened condition may need some inspiration for the taste buds. First, wake her up at least 15 minutes before you want to feed her—a sleepy kitty in a weakened condition isn’t ready to eat as soon as she wakes up, so pet her and give her attention for a while until she seems entirely alert. Always use fresh food, usually canned, so its smell is the strongest, and you don’t need to resort to fish-based foods, often liver-based food is more appealing. Then tease her with the food—play “kitty airplane” the same way you would with a recalcitrant child, show her the can and her dish, open the can and let kitty sniff the food then put it aside, making a big show of getting her dish ready, putting the food in the dish, allowing her to smell it all the while, then finally present it. This little play helps to get her digestive system started and her body gives her the signal to eat, plus, she’s wondering what they heck you’re up to, and curiosity is a big stimulant for a cat. If she’s still reluctant, pick up a little in a spoon and offer it for her to lick off; a little at a time is sometimes just enough. Don’t leave her food out, but put it back in the can and keep it, offering it again a little later. It may mean wasting a few cans, but open a new can with every session. She’ll appreciate your efforts.