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How old is “old†for a cat? Pet food companies suggest seven years old is a good time to think about age-related changes. In fact, 40 percent of all pet owners have a cat (or dog) aged seven or older. A better definition of “aged†is the last 25 percent of her life, but since we can’t predict life span, pinpointing when old age begins is tough.

The life expectancy of cats has tripled in the past 50 years. Today many cats reach their late teens or early twenties. For these cats, old age—when a pet becomes “seniorâ€â€”would be about age eleven to thirteen. Granpaws Rex, a Sphynx cat, lived to the ripe old age of thirty-four!

Cats live longer because we consider them to be family members, and people want the same level of care and consideration for their pets as is available for themselves. Many of us want to prevent or treat “old pet†concerns, such as arthritis, diabetes, and kidney disease. To cat lovers, maintaining quality of life in older pets is paramount.

Over the next two weeks, please share with me your questions, joys, frustrations, and delights—your “Golden Moments†relating to your aging (7-years and older) kitties. I’ll be here to help you understand the aging cat’s changing needs; ways to prolong and enrich her life; and tips to keep Kitty happy throughout her golden years.