Thursday, August 21, 2008

The age of my cat

Today I got an email from which is one of those websites with 1,000 different ways to live longer and healthier which I totally agree with but don’t always follow. The headlines of these emails are pretty standard “Are you getting enough of this mineral?” or “Don’t eat this if you want to live to see 60!” You know, the stuff that scares or entices you into clicking the mouse and opening the email.

But today’s ….. well, today’s said re: What is your cat’s Real Age?


In our house we (try to) limit junk food, encourage exercise, and reinforce good habits for all family members. I had no idea that I was supposed to also be doing it for our cats. I have a hard enough time remembering how many bags of Doritos’s I have already said Yes to and reminding my children that they don’t need dessert after breakfast to even think about what I could be doing to make my cats healthier. Although I suspect that supplying them with a bag of Costco dry food then sending them outside to chase the squirrels out of the yard isn’t enough.

Of course I HAD to take the test.

This is what I was promised:

The CatAge Test will calculate your cat's biological age, or CatAge, in people years, based on your cat's health, nutrition, activity level, and safety. You'll also receive personalized cat health recommendations to help your cat live a longer, healthier life.

I give them the name of my cat, Chucky, but also had to fill in my gender and age. What is that about? I guess if I were a 14-year old boy who liked to tie firecrackers to cat’s tails then Chucky’s CatAge might be lower, but I was asked no questions about firecrackers. The questions were all pretty typical until I got to this one:

Is Chucky an indoor or outdoor cat?

Indoor/outdoor supervised
Indoor/outdoor unsupervised

I marked Indoor/outdoor unsupervised. How do you supervise a cat anyway? Am I supposed to be providing play dates and snacks as well?

Do any of the following describe Chucky's oral hygiene?

Really bad breath
Tooth loss
Bleeding gums
Unwilling to chew hard food
Discolored teeth
Somewhat yellow teeth
Perfectly white teeth
None of the above

I had to check None of the above because they didn’t have a box for Chucky’s oral hygiene problem. He’s a drooler. When he’s happy and purring he drools. It’s disgusting. I didn’t know cats had enough saliva to drool, but his raspy little tongue can work up enough fluid to soak through my daughter’s shirt after they’ve watched a half-hour of TV together.

That’s another thing: there were absolutely no questions about my cat’s TV viewing habits. Or alcohol use. How am I supposed to trust the results of a health test that doesn’t even take a catnip addiction into consideration?

Chucky's CatAge is 65.2!
That's 4.7 years younger than the average CatAge for Chucky's breed.CatAge is the biological age of your cat, measured in people years.

I love how they explain what CatAge means. Like I thought my cat was really 65.2 years old and eligible for Medicare. I also like how they tried to throw me a little bone by letting me know that Chucky is a lot better off than the other cats who took the test. It’s like they’re petting me and saying, “Good owner. Good owner!”

Purr. Purr. Drool.

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