Ask the Vet


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 the full article.

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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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UNDERCOVER MOUSE: Being a cat, when I first saw this large round piece of material (below which the undercover mouse lives), I thought, "Oh good, a new thing to sit on as I wash up after dinner." Which I did; so there was a "delay of game." Once I was freshly cleaned, my person set things into action: A tail suddenly started darting to and fro, moving this way and that, peering out from under the cover. Of course I had to pounce! Many times, in fact—stopping the secret mouse-like agent in his tracks. Sometimes the little guy would speed up, so I countered with a turbo-charged full-body pounce. All this fun eventually wore me out, so I took a snooze – partially on top of the aforementioned cover, just to make sure the wily would-be escape artist didn't try any tricks. A perfect ending to a great game.

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It has been scientifically proven that stroking a cat can lower one's blood pressure.
It is impossible to keep a straight face in the presence of one or more kittens. -Cynthia E. Varnado
Undercover Mouse Striped Fish Catnip Toy