There are many ways to keep your cat healthy and happy throughout their life. As a member of the family, your cat deserves the very best possible care. One of the best ways to ensure your cat stays happy and healthy is by making sure they have their preventive care checkups.
What your cat requires will change as they age. Cat’s lives are broken into four stages: kittens, young adults, mature adults, and seniors. Each stage requires special attention to certain health and behavioral areas. The chart below includes a breakdown of life stages that your cat advances through, and concentrates on how to best support them in each stage. Use the information on this page to observe your cat at home, as well as discuss these items with your veterinarian during your cat’s checkups.
The Four Life Stages of a Cat
Kittens (Birth up to 1 year)
Kittens have a very high play drive. Now is the best time for gradual positive introductions to people and other pets. It is also the right time for your cat to become comfortable with nail trims, tooth and coat brushing, their cat carrier, and transportation to the veterinary practice.
Young Adult (1 year – 6 years)
Inter-cat aggression may develop at this stage of life along with sexual maturity. Be sure to use appropriate play with your cat.
Mature Adult (7 – 10 years)
Play activity begins to decrease and your cat becomes more likely to gain weight. Many people assume their cat is young and healthy, but a lot can change in just one cat year which equals four human years. Your cat will benefit from regular checkups to keep her/him healthy and prevent disease or illnesses.
Senior (over 10 years)
The human equivalent at the beginning of this life stage is about 60 years. Senior cats may exhibit behavioral changes (e.g., vocalization, changes in litter box usage, not going up and down stairs as easy). Senior cats should visit the veterinarian at a minimum of every six months since much could happen in a year and your veterinarian can catch things early on before they are more advanced or costly to treat.