Cats are living longer than ever before. More cats are being kept exclusively indoors, thus avoiding many of the health risks encountered by outdoor cats. More and more cat owners are understanding the importance of a healthy, species-appropriate diet as a foundation for good health. Advances in veterinary medicine now allow cat owners to pursue sophisticated treatments for diseases that would have been a death sentence in the past. But older cats (most commonly defined as cats age seven and older) have special needs when it comes to maintaining their health.
Amy Shojai’s Complete Care for Your Aging Cat was first published in 2003 and quickly became the “old cat bible.” However, seven years is a long time when you’re talking about health related topics. This newly released edition has been updated to reflect changes in veterinary medicine and includes a wealth of resources about treatment options, products and research, complete with links to websites when appropriate. The e-book version of the book includes hotlinks to relevant information.
This book is an invaluable resource for cat owners. Shojai covers basic information on how age affects your cat’s body in great detail. She explains how to look for changes that might signal health problems in older cats (for an excerpt, read Amy’s guest post Caring for Your Older Cat). She discusses home nursing care to help older cats through various health issues, and presents advanced care options and how to make informed choices, including a section on making end of life decisions which is presented with great sensitivity, yet covers all the facts a cat owner needs to know when faced with this difficult choice.
The most valuable section of the book is the extensive and comprehensive listing of feline health conditions, ranging from arthritis to heart disease to kidney failures. Each section provides information on symptoms, reducing risk, and treatment options. I read a lot of cat health books,and I have yet to find another one that is as well organized and easy to use as a reference guide as this one.
But it’s not all hard facts and information. Each section of the book contains a “Golden Moments” segment, which contains heartwarming stories of real cat owners who share their lives with older cats and are continuing to enjoy life while dealing with typical issues common for senior cats. These touching, and often inspirational stories make this book more than just a reference guide.
I loved almost everything about this book. The one area that didn’t resonate with me was the author’s take on nutrition. Pet nutrition is a controversial subject. While the material is as well-researched and well-documented as the rest of the book, Shojai’s recommendations focus on senior diets and prescription diets. I’ve written extensively about feline nutrition and won’t belabor the issue here. You can read more about why I don’t believe these diets are the best choice for cats of any age here.
Even though I disagree with the author’s recommendations in this one area, I nevetheless highly recommend this book to all cat owners, regardless of how old your cat may be. This is a must read for anyone who wants to keep their cats happy and healthy well into their golden years.
Amy Shojai has generously offered to give away one copy of this book to one lucky winner. If you’d like a chance to win the book, please share your story of your senior cat, or a friend’s senior cat in a comment. The contest will run until Friday, December 10. Share the contest on Facebook and Twitter and include the link in a separate comment for an extra chance to win. Winners will be able to choose between an autographed hard copy of the book, or an e-book.
Amy Shojai is a nationally known authority on pet care and behavior, and the award-winning author of nearly two dozen nonfiction pet books, including Complete Kitten Care and Complete Care for Your Aging Dog. She can be reached at her website http://www.shojai.com