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How Old was the Oldest Cat that Ever Lived? 5 Health Tips to Help your Cat Live Longer

cat getting pets

[Written by Star LaBranche]

Articles are still circulating about the World’s Oldest Living Cat, Rubble. This white and orange Maine Coon cat celebrated his 30th birthday in style with a wellness check from the vet and some of his favorite kitty food. 

However, Rubble, while still being a record holder, isn’t the oldest cat that ever lived. That Guiness World Record goes to Creme Puff, a Texas cat who lived to be 38 years and 3 days old before passing away in 2005. Quite impressive when you remember the average indoor cat lives to be about 13 to 17 years old.

Wondering how you can keep your kitty healthy, active, and mischievous well into their twilight years? Here are some health tips for cats and how you can try to make sure your buddy lives a long time.

woman laying with cat reading a book

1. The Vet is Your Friend; Use their Services When Necessary

As a cat lover, it’s hard to avoid people posting in cat-friendly spaces on the internet seeking medical advice for their animals. Sometimes they’ll include pictures of a sick or wounded animal and plead with the internet to provide them with a solution that doesn’t involve going to the vet. 

Most often, the animal desperately needs medical attention and there is nothing anyone on the internet can do to help them. We understand that the vet can be expensive, that medical bills never pop up at convenient times, and some locales make it difficult to even find veterinary care, however, if you want to keep your cat healthy, they need to go in for vet visits when something is wrong. You should also schedule wellness visits for routine tests and annual vaccines.

If money is an issue (as it is for almost all of us), there are options such as local rescues who can help pay for bills, organizations that run low-cost animal care clinics, pet insurance to help out during a medical emergency, or even CareCredit, which is a credit card that can be used for medical bills and veterinary care. 

cat playing with toy

2. Learn More About Cats

While we’re all experts on our cats, doing a little extra research never hurts. Your kitty can’t tell you that they’re bored with their toys, or they want their litter box cleaned out more often, or even that they miss your when you’re at work. Sometimes they act out, other times they can become lethargic and uninterested in things that used to entertain them for hours. 

Additionally, different breeds of cats have different needs, likes, and dislikes. If you adopted a rescue that’s part Maine Coon, you might be surprised by their gregarious personality and talkative nature. If you find a cat with a lot of Abyssinian in them, you might find yourself playing with lures and toys most of the time you’re home. Meanwhile, you might wonder why your Persian mix is so laid back and relaxed all the time, or why your Siamese wants to lecture you in cat language. It’s important to know what kind of cat you’re living with and how to help them fit into their home.

If you want your cat to live a long time, become a "felinologist." Not literally, of course. We're not suggesting you have to become a veterinarian or zoologist in order to connect with your cat, however, knowing more than you did yesterday about the behavior of your cat's breed, their likes and dislikes, and being able to apply all of this knowledge towards your pet, could be to your and your cat’s advantage.

cat laying on kitchen chair

3. Keep a Cat-Proof House

Cats can sometimes come into contact with things they shouldn’t, including human foods that can be dangerous to them and household chemicals or poisons, so keeping a cat-proof house is key to keeping their safe and healthy. This isn’t to say you need to put pads on the corners of the coffee table, however, making taking small steps can make all the difference.

Start by making sure that all foods that aren’t cat-friendly are stored somewhere your cat can't access. Household items that are dangerous to cats should also be put in a safe place where they can’t reach. If you’re using any type of poison for pest control, be very careful where you leave it.

If you suspect your cat has encountered a dangerous substance, be sure to call a pet poison control line and take them to the vet if advised.

man petting cat

4. Be Careful When Letting your Cat Outdoors

While house cats tend to be more overweight and sometimes bored with their domains, outdoor cats generally fare far worse. Outdoor cats have a lifespan of two to five years on average. Indoor cats, on the other hand, live about 17. This isn't much of a debate if you want your cat to be healthy and live a long life.

The outdoors are so dangerous for cats for a variety of reasons. First, outdoor cats are much more likely to come in contact with diseases, such as feline leukemia (FeLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), just to name a few. There are also natural predators, such as large prey birds, wolves, or coyotes, depending on where you live. Other animals, even other outdoor cats, can also injure pets in fights over territory. 

Unfortunately, humans can also be a cat predator. Whether malicious or not, a humans can be very dangerous to a curious feline, especially if you live anywhere near a busy street.

Additionally, outdoor cats also have better chances of coming into contact with worms, fleas, ticks, and other disease-carrying pests. Worse still, because outdoor cats can be less socialized, it might be harder to get your kitty to the vet for shots and medical care.

If you’re someone who has had outdoor cats all your life, it might be difficult to consider bringing your pet inside all day, but the statistics are hard to fight.

cat sleeping under comforter

5. Love Your Cat and Take Good Care of Them

Why do some cats live for decades and other expire before their time? We may never know. But one thing is clear, no matter how long your cat lives, your experiences and memories with them will live on through you. 

Take the best care of your cat and, even if they don’t outlive Rubble or Creme Puff, you will know you did everything you could for them. Providing a loving, fun, exciting home for your cat is a great way to build positive experiences with them and enjoy having an animal in your life.

Here's wishing you and your cat a long, healthy life!

woman laying with her cat

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