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Cat Longevity and the Ultimate Test?
- Updated: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 12:16 PM
- Published: Thursday, June 25, 2009 12:06 PM
- Written by Margaret Gates
I've been thinking about cat longevity. We had cats when I was a kid, and none of them made it past about eleven. I thought then that was how long they lived. After all, it was a lot longer than most of the dogs I knew. As an adult, my husband and I adopted a half-dozen rescues. They lived longer. One made it to 19, a couple to 18, but many died at 14 or 15. They all succumbed to one disease or another, cancer, diabetes, kidney failure and one from a completely mysterious ailment. It was heartbreaking.
Cats should be living longer than this. At least into their twenties. I think the record is 37 years. It depends partly on genetics, but their overall health is the biggest factor. I'm optimistic that our current clowder will do better. They will be healthier as a result of being fed a nutritionally-balanced raw cat food diet. Two have eaten raw food for cats from the time they were adopted as kittens. The rest ate "regular" food for a very short time. Our oldest are well over a decade old. I'm hoping it will be a while before I see the long term results. It is my wish to have the same cats in 2029!
I wonder if the consequences of commercial food – especially dry kibble – would have been more apparent if people were keeping cats differently. The rise of commercial pet food coincided with the increase in spaying and neutering. Recalling Pottenger's study of cats fed raw food versus a cooked diet, the problems with the cooked-food group were most apparent as reproductive problems: miscarriages, deformities, small litters, underweight kittens and eventually being unable to reproduce at all.
Since nearly all female pet cats are spayed, we eliminated reproductive issues as a way to see that something was terribly, terribly wrong. Maybe that's the real test of a raw cat food diet. Can they reproduce properly – over many generations – with that diet alone? If it's nutritionally-balanced and hasn't drifted from the recipe, the answer is surely yes.
Please don't test this at home. All pet cats should be spayed or neutered! There are far too many homeless kittens and cats to this day!
By the way, that was a hint to go out and adopt! And, of course, feed raw food for cats right from the start.
Margaret Gates is the founder of the Feline Nutrition Foundation.