Cats usually live longer than most dogs, and living until 20 years old or beyond is no longer unusual. A cat’s lifespan depends on many things, including appropriate, consistent veterinary care, diet, genetics, and whether the cat is indoor, outdoor, or a combination of both.
Many cats within the ranges of Mature and Senior do not look “older” and still have plenty of energy; however, underlying factors may be affecting their health. This is why we stress the proactive approach to their veterinary care.
The chart to the right, produced by the American Association of Feline Practitioners, shows the importance of regular annual exams; when a cat is 7 months old, they are equivalent to a 12-year-old child’s life stage. This is a example of why NOVA Cat Clinic recommends a physical exam every 6 months for cats over 7 years-old. Many changes can begin to occur in your pet's Mature and Senior life stages, and it is beneficial to establish baselines diagnostics before relying on developing symptoms. During your pet’s exam, your veterinarian may suggest a work-up of comprehensive tests that could include:
Thyroid Function Test
Fecal Exam for Parasites
Complete Blood Count
Many health problems not readily detected with these tests can be caught early. Taking a more proactive approach allows for appropriate steps to be taken to ensure continued well-being and a longer life for your cat.