Dear Dr. Schelling,

It seems like just the other day, Coco was a tiny kitten, running everywhere and playing all the time. All of a sudden, she's almost 10 years old. Coco's the only cat I've ever had. What should I expect from this point forward, and how can I make her "autumn years" as happy and healthy as possible?

– Still Crazy About Kitty

Dear Still Crazy About Kitty,

Due to continuing progress in feline veterinary science and techniques, always-increasing knowledge of cats' physical and emotional needs (although there will always be some mystery), and more attentiveness than ever to our cats' safety and well-being, not only is the average lifespan of cats on the rise, but the quality of life for older cats has never been better. There are many things you can do—from regularly taking Coco to the vet, to engaging in age-appropriate play sessions with Coco, to giving her lots of love and comfy snoozing places—to help ensure that every season of Coco's life is full of sunshine and purrs. Here is an introductory article on taking care of your cat as she ages: CARING FOR YOUR SENIOR CAT.

Click here to read full article


We adopted our two-year old cat, Cleo, in May. She's acclimated wonderfully and we all dote on her. She's the new queen of the house. Soon the kids will be back in school and I'll be returning to work as a teacher. What can we do to help Cleo cope with our absence for several hours each day?

– A Loyal Subject

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Dear Loyal Subject,

There are lots of ways you can keep Cleo occupied, content, and out of trouble when there aren't any humans around over whom she can preside.

The three basic rules are: spend some quality time with her before you leave for the day, enrich her environment (make it comfy for sleeping and fun and interesting for awake periods), and give her the proper worship when you return home. In fact, here's a whole article about that: HOW TO KEEP YOUR CAT ENTERTAINED WHEN NO ONE BUT KITTY IS HOME



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Do you – or rather your cats – have any favorite homedmade toys, or household objects that function as toys? Email me at and we'll publish the most unusual, useful, and interesting suggestions in an upcoming feature.

GO CAT GO PLAY-N-TREAT TWIN PACK: Funny story. One day I saw my human putting kibble into a ball-type contraption [the Go Cat Go Play-N-Treat Twin Pack -ed.]. I was interested. She showed me the ball and I sniffed it, of course. Then she gave the ball a good thwack, and as it rolled across the floor, food fell out of it. Neat! I ate the food and walked back to my human. "Let's do it again," I communicated to her. She showed me the ball again and seemed a bit flustered. She rolled it across the floor as before, and again I ate the food that fell out. We did this three or four times. Then my human left the room, frustrated for some reason.

The ball was still there. Since I didn't have anyone to roll it for me – it's always more fun to get a human to do the work on my behalf – I swatted it with my paw to get it moving, and I ate the trail of kibble it left behind. My human came in and gave me the funniest look.

Now we have a routine. When Girlfriend steps out for a bit, she fills up the Play-N-Treat (not all the way, it seems), and I empty and eat its contents throughout the day.

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MUSIC MY PET CLASSICAL CD: I find classical music relaxing. Most classical music, not the 1812 Overture. It's especially nice when the humans are taking a break from being bossed around by me and I'm by myself. When I hear music by Brahms, Beethoven, and the other guys, I often like to curl up next to it and get comfy . . . In fact, it's playing now . . . I'll finish the review later . . .

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It has been scientifically proven that stroking
a cat can lower one's blood pressure.
go cat go play n treat twin pack music my pet classical cd