Your adult cat is a perfect specimen of mobility, speed, acuity, and grace. She is in her prime. She shines in her gleaming coat and her eyes are bright.
Jumping, twisting, and landing, her skeleton bears strain our own bodies could never endure. Her muscles are highly flexible. Her movements are lightning fast and her senses highly tuned.
Between ages 1 and 8, your cat will experience the equivalent of a human's journey from teenager to late middle age. As caretaker, you are responsible for good adult cat health and lifestyle in these years and beyond.
It can be difficult to keep such an adventurous creature indoors. But to do so is proven to extend a cat's life, because it limits exposure to predators, cars, fleas, and other cats that may have diseases such as feline leukemia or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Keep your cat duly entertained indoors by providing toys, structures to climb on, spots near windows to watch the action outdoors, or–if she responds to them–TV and special videos.
One potential side effect of being a pampered, indoor cat is obesity. If your cat starts to gain weight, limit or change her diet and encourage more exercise. Make time for play with your cat each day.
An adult cat should visit the vet annually. Dental and gum disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and other medical problems can present themselves in adulthood to middle age. Early detection is essential to successful treatment and extended life.
As your cat nears 8 years old, be sure to watch for signs of other age-related illnesses such as weight loss, decreased appetite, neglect of grooming, increased thirst and urination, and retreating from the household.
Both you and your cat will enjoy these peak years. They will be filled with acrobatic antics and lithe poses you can't help photographing. If you take the appropriate precautions, you can extend the health and fun for many years.
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This article is part of a series on how to spot signs of a healthy cat. You can learn more about the key signs here.
Cats don’t lack personality; that’s for sure. They can be shy, outgoing, snuggly, independent, energetic, relaxed and everything in between. Yet some breeds tend to exhibit certain traits more strongly than others. Here are our picks for what we’re calling the Cat Personality Awards.
The friendliest cat breed:
This larger cat has a big heart to match. They’re often very social and happy to chat with you, whether they’re curled up on your lap or following you around the house. They make excellent family pets because more family members means more people to snuggle and play with.
Also outgoing: Ragdoll, Siamese, Burmese
The most laid-back cat breed:
Gentle and calm, this soft and silky-furred feline is friendly without being demanding. Ragdolls are usually totally cool sharing a house with other pets and kids. They don’t stress much about routine changes or even being carried around. Their motto? It’s all good.
Other cool kitties: Scottish fold, Birman, British shorthair
The most playful cat breed:
Making up around 90% of cats in the U.S., with more than 80 colors and patterns, domestic shorthairs are a melting pot of different breeds. They were originally working cats used to hunt mice and other critters on farms. They still love to stalk, hunt and pounce on toys and play games with their owners — so expect to spend lots of energetic playtime together.
Also ready to play: Siamese, Maine coon, Manx
The most independent cat breed:
This popular breed has been around humans since the 1600s, but is satisfied doing its own thing. Gentle, docile and quiet, Persian cats don’t insist on a lot of attention. They’re just as content sitting on your lap or observing what’s going on by themselves from a sunny perch across the room. They can be discerning in who they give their affection to, but you’ll be on their good side once you earn their trust.
Also fine on their own: Russian blue, American shorthair, Norwegian Forest cat
The most trainable cat breed:
The idea of training a cat may seem hilarious, but the curiosity and intelligence of Abyssinians make them highly trainable. Some can even be taught tricks or to walk on a leash and harness. Training and playing games are perfect ways to direct their affectionate energy.
Also eager to learn: Bengal, Siamese, American shorthair
The cleanest cat breed:
Owning this affectionate, hairless breed means you can spend more time cuddling and less time lint-rolling your clothes. They do require regular baths, but that just means more time to hang out together.
Other neat freaks: Siamese, Russian blue
The best cat for first-time owners:
it’s a toss-up!
Thinking of getting your first kitty? It’s hard to pick just one breed, so we’ve got three:
- Maine coons are super friendly and charming, and adapt well in a variety of living situations.
- Siamese are clean, love to talk and are very loyal.
- American shorthairs are smart, playful and independent.
Remember, most cats — especially those found in shelters — are a mix of breeds, which just means they often combine the best of all cat personality traits! Whatever personality you’re looking for in a cat, you’ll know it when you find your fuzzy soulmate.
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