Six Life Stages in the Life of a Cat
The Feline Advisory Bureau has identified six stages in a cat’s life. Whilst each cat is unique, at certain stages of their lives, cats can be prone to certain health problems. Find out below what life stage your cat is in, what to be aware of and what you can do to ensure your cat lives a long and healthy life.
KITTEN – Birth to 6 months
- Check for conditions which may have been present since birth eg cleft palate.
- Agree diet, identification (eg microchipping) and discuss any behavioural issues.
- Kittens can be neutered from 4 months old.
JUNIOR – 7 months to 2 years
- Common health problems at this stage:
- Infectious diseases
- Problems related to hunting, fighting and trauma
- Can develop certain life-threatening conditions such as heart disease
- Priority is your cat’s first vaccination booster and this should continue annually to maintain immunity
- After neutering, cats can put on weight – ask your veterinary team for advice on the correct weight for your cat and how to maintain that weight
PRIME – 3 years to 6 years
- Conditions that can arise include obesity, dental disease, cystitis, intestinal diseases, heart disease and behavioural problems. Regular healthchecks at the vets are very important.
- Parasite control very important especially as most cats this age are still keen hunters.
MATURE – 7 years to 10 years
- Increased risk of “older cat” conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism and cancer. Close monitoring by you and regular checkups at the vets are important. Signs to look out for include change in thirst, weight loss, vomiting, poor coat condition, diarrhoea.
- Obesity can also be a major problem in cats between 6 and 8 years old.
- Obesity can lead to many of the more serious conditions such as diabetes.
SENIOR – 11 years to 14 years
- More likely to suffer from the conditions described under the Mature stage.
- All these conditions are treatable so don’t put it down to “old age” and let your cat suffer in silence.
- More likely to suffer from arthritis – for which treatment is available - and can also suffer from the equivalent of senile dementia.
GERIATRIC – 15 years +
- It is an achievement for a cat to reach this life stage!
- Cats of this age need to be monitored and check more regularly for all of the conditions referred to in the Mature and Senior life stages. Even at this age, your cat is still eligible for the treatment now available for all the conditions referred to.
For more information about the life stages of cats and plenty more “cat” information, visit www.fabcats.org.