Old Cat Care

More Cat Care Information:

The health of domestic cats is on the decline. Their life span is much below that of their wild cousins and the cats of your parents era. I frequently hear people implying their cat is old by the time they have reached eight or nine years of age.

General Cat Care #1: Before You Bring Your Cat Home
You will need food, food dish, water bowl, interactive toys, brush, comb, safety cat collar, scratching post, litter and litter box.
General Cat Care #2: Feeding
An adult cat should be fed one large or two smaller meals each day. Kittens from 6 to 12 weeks need to be fed four times a day. Kittens from three to six months need to be fed three times a day. You can either feed specific meals, throwing away any leftover canned food after 30 minutes or free-feed dry food (keeping food out all the time).

Feed your cat a high-quality, brand-name kitten or cat food (avoid generic brands) two to three times a day. Kittens can be fed human baby food for a short time if they won’t eat kitten food softened by soaking in warm water. Use turkey or chicken baby food made for children six months and older. Gradually mix with cat food. Cow’s milk is not necessary and can cause diarrhea in kittens and cats. Provide fresh, clean water at all times. Wash and refill water bowls daily.

Not that long ago, it was common for cats to reach 18 or 19 years of age, with a few rare exceptions reaching nearly 30.

You may have your own reasons why this might be happening, and I'm probably going to voice most of them here!

By virtue of the regularity of eating, I consider the most important reason why cats aren't as healthy as they once were is the diet they are fed.

As people are coming into this awareness, there is a mad scramble by the commercial cat food industry to attract you with pretty words and smiling actors on the labels. The pretty words include icons such as 'scientifically proven' or 'recommended by top vets', although that is now less alluring than 'natural' or 'all natural'. (I'm not sure what a 'top vet' is either. Could it be one who does the most advertising for the industry?)

However, 'nature', 'natural' and 'all natural' are slipping into second place as 'organic' becomes the favourite word of the day.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a strong contender for organic food, both for humans and for cats, but not all organic cat food really is organic.

For a start, the word 'organic' means nothing if it is not backed by a reputable certification. Everything that grows could be said to be organic. Many conventional producers have marked their produce as organic, when it had no certification.

Becoming a certified organic producer takes time – years. The soil is regularly checked. In that period, the producer can't sell his produce as organic or use chemicals. It can be a tough time.

General Cat Care #3: Grooming
Most cats stay relatively clean and rarely need a bath, but they do need to be brushed or combed. Frequent brushing helps keep your cat’s coat clean, reduces the amount of shedding and cuts down on the incidence of hairballs
General Cat Care #4: Handling
To pick up your cat, place one hand behind the front legs and another under the hindquarters. Lift gently. Never pick up a cat by the scruff of the neck (behind the ears) or by the front legs without supporting the rear end.
General Cat Care #5: Housing
Cats should have a clean, dry place of their own in the house. Line your cat’s bed with a soft, warm blanket or towel. Be sure to wash the bedding often. Please keep your cat indoors. If your companion animal is allowed outside, he can contract diseases, get ticks or parasites, become lost or get hit by a car, hurt in a fight or poisoned. Also, cats prey on wildlife.

I have seen some dried organic cat food for sale. It was certified. But what's the point in that? You're feeding your cat organic cat food to avoid the chemicals that go into food production – the antibiotics in standard stock feed, the hormones given to stock to increase weight and production over a shorter period, the pesticides, herbicides, insecticides that are regularly used on the crops, the chemical fertilisers.

Stop and consider this. Can meat (in reality meat by-products as the good stuff goes for the higher priced human food) be kept indefinitely without the use of strong preservatives? How else can a packet of dried organic cat food have such a long shelf life?

Sure, the packet may not list preservatives in the list of ingredients. Why would they? You wouldn't buy it.

The packet may even boast 'no added preservative'. The wording needs to be clever to avoid litigation. 'No added preservatives' means they, the brand, didn't add the preservatives. It doesn't mean that preservatives weren't added to the 'meat' before delivery.

So the million dollar question is, should you buy organic cat food? In my opinion, if it's a commercial organic cat food, it is no better than non organic cat food.

All commercial cat food, whether organic or not, have one or more of the following preservatives in:

  • ethoxyquin (which causes diarrhoea, vision disorders, blindness, organ failure, cancers, leukaemia on just exposure to the human factory workers)
  • formalin is used to preserve dead bodies
  • sodium nitrite, which gives a nice rosy colour to food and can produce powerful carcinogenic substances known as nitrosamines
  • propyl gallate – is now suspected of causing liver damage
  • propylene glycol used to maintain the right texture and moisture content is used as coolant antifreeze in engines
  • up to 1000 times more salt than occurs naturally

Most of these are not allowed in human food, due to their high levels of toxicity. Do you think that could be why cats are not living as long as they once were Would you?

General Cat Care #6: Identification
If allowed outdoors (again, we caution against it!), your cat needs to wear a safety collar and an ID tag. A safety collar with an elastic panel will allow your cat to break loose if the collar gets caught on something. An ID tag or an implanted microchip can help insure that your cat is returned if he or she becomes lost.
General Cat Care #7: Litter Box
All indoor cats need a litter box, which should be placed in a quiet, accessible location. A bathroom or utility room is a good place for your cat’s box. In a multi-level home, one box per floor is recommended. Avoid moving the box unless absolutely necessary. Then do so slowly, a few inches a day. Cats won’t use a messy, SMELLY litter box. Scoop solids out of the box at least once a day. Dump everything, wash with a mild detergent (don’t use ammonia) and refill at least once a week, less frequently if using clumping litter. Don’t use deodorants or scents in the litter or litter box (especially avoid lemon scent).
Updated: February 24, 2017 — 5:53 pm

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