The life stages of our pet is something that we should give some thought. cats are living beings like humans, and have life stages of which we should be aware. They are born from their parents, raised until the proper age, grow up to be mature adults, explore the world, and eventually pass away like us. They share experiences with their owners and fellow cats so need to learn learn proper skills. But there is so much more. Here are some basic stages of a cat’s complete life cycle, and some of the things a cat needs during those various stages:
Life Stages of a Cat
- 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 behavioral issues.
- Kittens can be neutered from 4 months old.
The Tween Stage
- 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.
Adult Cat Stage
- 3 years to 6 years
- Conditions that can arise include obesity, dental disease, cystitis, intestinal diseases, heart disease and behavioural problems. Regular health checks at the vets are very important.
- Parasite control very important especially as most cats this age are still keen hunters.
The Bridge Stage
- 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.
The Senior Stage
- 11 years and older
- 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.
- It is an achievement for a cat to reach an age of 15 or more!
- 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.