It has always been assumed that a cat’s one year is equivalent to humans seven years. That has been the age old assumption but it has been discovered that cats mature very early in their lives.
A few months after birth, a cat gets sexually active and can get pregnant. When you compare to human beings, we can only start the reproduction activity from the age of 12 and above.
But where did that assumption come from? And how did one get those years from?
Well, nobody can ever tell where the assumption came from and how they came up with the estimated years. There has not been any scientific way to proof that a one year old cat is equivalent to seven in human years.
In general, it is accepted that the first two years of a cat is the same as 25 years of a human being. As the years go by, the cat adds four human years to its one year.
When you look at it, there are certain breeds of cats that will live longer than others whereas cats that live outside will age quickly than those that live indoors.
As you read further in this article, you will see that there are some factors that influence the life expectancy of cats. These factors can be controlled by us, humans, to help our little companions to live longer.
First of all, what are some things that will indicate a cat’s age to you? Below are some of them:
The Eyes Tell All
When looking at a cat’s eye, there are some characteristics that will quickly tell you how old a cat is. For example, if the eye is bright, clear, no tearing and no discharges then that cat will be a young one. If the eye of the cat that you are looking at is cloudy then that cat will be approximately 12 years old. When you are checking the eyes, you should also pay attention to the cat’s iris. The younger cats will have smooth irises and the older cats will somehow have jagged irises.
Life Span of a Cat
A cat’s life span is how long it lives and it cats live long depending on a few things. If the owner takes good care of his or her cats then they will live for quite some time. If the cat has good genes, then expect him or her to have a good long life. As mentioned earlier, indoor cats have lived for even 20 years unlike outdoor cats who face threats like accidents, illnesses and or being attacked by other animals which shortens their life spans.
The Tone of The Cat’s Muscle
The younger the cat, the more muscle definition it will have thanks to their level of activity which is high. Older cats will be bonier and will have extra skin.
The Cat’s Coat
The younger the cat, the softer and finer its fur coat and the older the cat the thicker and coarser its fur coat. Just like in human beings, a senior cat may have graying fur hair or it will have patches of white on its fur coat.
The Cat’s Teeth
Just like in many animals, the cat’s teeth are a very integral indicator of age. When the cat is old, its teeth will have a lot of stains unlike the young cats. If the owner of the cat was not brushing the cat’s teeth, then the stains will be even more pronounced. One can also distinguish if a cat is older or not by checking whether the cat’s permanent teeth have developed fully. A kitten’s permanent teeth appear when they are about four months old. If the cat is missing teeth, then you probably have a cat that has been around the block for a while now.
The above are some of the more obvious indicators of a cat’s age that is often used by veterinarians. For you to elongate your cats life there are some things you can do that will make sure you and your furry companion have years together. Below are some of the things that will influence the life expectancy of your cat:
Spaying or Neutering
It is imperative that you spay or neuter your cat as it waters down a lot of risks that might lower the life expectancy of your cat. For example, an cat that has not been neutered will be involved in a lot of fights and will be gone for long, sometimes days on end looking for a female to mate with. The un-neutered cat is at more risk of getting infections that are incurable like leukemia due to the fights. They are also at risk of being hit by cars if they wander off aimlessly and far away.
An un-spayed cat will also stand a risk of being infected with leukemia and other dangerous diseases by mating with any male that is infected. Unlike popular belief, a female cat that gives birth continuously has a shorter life span than one that is spayed. Finally, spaying and neutering your cats will reduce the risk of them getting cancer of the sex organs.
What Your Cats Eat
Feeding your cats food that is not nutritious will cause a lot of health problems to your cat. By giving your cat a low protein diet it will decrease the chance of it having chronic kidney failure. For surety, you can talk to your vet to find out what kind of low protein foods you can give your elderly cat. Obesity in cats is so prevalent and that can also make your cat’s life span shorter. So watch what you feed your cat for longer living.
Take Your Cat to the Vet Regularly
Having your cat checked on a regular basis and having him or her vaccinated will ensure that his or her life is longer.
It has been mentioned a couple of times that cats that live indoors are less prone to dangers such as speeding cars, dogs, snakes and so on to cut their lives short. Outdoor cats that are not spayed or neutered and are stray will not have a long life, at the most, they will reach 3 years old.
Good or Bad Genes
Good genes mean longer lives for some cats taking up the same characteristics as human beings. Also, some cat breeds tend to live longer than others.
Same as any living mammal out there, when cat’s age, their bodies physically change and they have slower or poor functionality that is they slow down tremendously and become less active.
Due to the slowdown, their normal activities of climbing and jumping around become a strenuous activity. Same as what happens to an older human being, their joints become stiff hence the reduce rate of jumping and climbing and just like a vicious cycle, their food intake reduces too.
The older the cat gets the more the probability of him or her having kidney failure and more the need grows to feed them a diet fit for older cats. Problems such as diabetes, over active thyroid, chronic kidney failure, cancer, dental problems, incontinence and arthritis are more prevalent at this age.
As long as one keeps into consideration the needs of an older cat, taking care of them would not be a hard task.
In the time and age we living in, many people take in pets because they are able to provide what they need, may it be health related and love and attention related.
As long as you are able to do all that, you are guaranteed to have a long life together with your furry friend.