Whether you’ve got tiny kittens bouncing around or you share your house with a stately senior, it’s important to understand the stages of your cat’s life so you can best meet their needs.
We’ve already taken a look at how kittens grow, but how do cats age throughout their lives? Indoor cats can live for up to 20 years, with average lifespan ranging from 12-18 years—an impressively long time for such a small little creature!
A Cat’s Life Stages
According to the Blue Cross, a cat has six life stages: Kitten, Junior, Prime, Mature, Senior and Geriatric (but don’t let your senior cat hear you calling them that!). Let’s take a closer look at these life stages, how cats age, and what cat owners need to consider.
Kitten (Up To 6 Months)
If you’re adopting a kitten, you’re most likely taking them home when they’re 10-12 weeks old. For a more detailed look into young kittens’ development, head to our earlier blog post on how kittens grow.
Junior (6 Months-2 Years)
This Junior stage covers the second half of kitten-hood, into adolescence. At the age of one year cats may technically be classed as adults, but they might carry on acting like kittens for a while longer.
Prime (3-6 Years)
These years are your cat’s peak: they’ve reached full maturity and they’re in their prime. By this age, your cat has probably developed set routines and they’ll know what they do and don’t like!
Mature (Middle Aged Cats: 7-10 Years)
At this stage your cat is a bit like a middle-aged human: around mid-40s to mid-50s in human years! Many cats will continue in established routines and won’t yet start to show signs of ageing.
Some mature cats may start sleeping more often, and getting less exercise. If cats do start to slow down it can lead to weight gain, so it’s important to ensure they’re having the right amount of food for their activity level.
Senior (11-14 Years)
When a cat hits double figures they start to be classed as a senior—although they might not behave like one! Some cats will slow down earlier than others, but by the time a cat reaches the senior life stage they’re equivalent to 70 in human years, so don’t be surprised if they start taking it easy and sleeping more.
Senior cats can see more changes to their health, so it’s important to monitor them closely and talk to your vet if you spot anything out of the ordinary. As with mature cats, slowing down can result in some weight gain which will need to be watched out for.
Geriatric (Or Super Senior! 15+ Years)
We (and our cats) aren’t fans of the term geriatric, so we’re opting for super senior! Some cats may still seem young and sprightly, but others will be showing signs of their age—and that’s absolutely fine! They’ve earned a lazy retirement.
It’s important to consider all your cat’s needs and make sure they’re as comfortable as possible. They’ll spend a large part of their time sleeping, so warm comfy beds are a must—and heat can help if they have problems with ageing joints, too! Older cats might struggle to groom themselves, so you can gently groom them to give them a helping hand.
Routine and reliability will be even more important to senior and super senior cats, especially if they’re losing their sight or hearing, and as a cat’s “territory” can shrink as they age and become less adventurous, make sure their comfy beds, food and water bowls, and litter tray are all in convenient spots for them.
Every cat is different. Your senior cat might still be going at full speed, or perhaps your middle aged cat has already decided it prefers the quiet life. Being considerate of and adapting to your cat’s ageing will help you to give them the happiest, most fulfilling life possible—which is what we all want for our feline friends!
And, as always, you know your cats best: if you notice anything out of the ordinary, it’s best to speak to your vet.
25/07/2022 by NatuTeam