Life Stages of a Cat

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Vet2Cat is passionate about feline health and wellbeing.

Our care includes preventative health care, veterinary attention when they are unwell, and providing a healthy and appropriate environment to look after their mental wellbeing. By doing so, you will feel sure that you have done your duty as a cat owner, and ticked all the boxes of the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare (see in the footer of this site).

We believe veterinary care and advice is an important foundation for ensuring your cat lives a long, healthy life. Vet2Cat uses the framework of the CatCareforLife programme www.catcare4life.org as a guide for this.

The CatCareforLife Initiative was established by the International Society of Feline Medicine. It has recommendations for owners and vets, to help provide the best feline health care. As cats age, they go through different life stages, in the same way as humans do. There are different aspects of a cat’s health to focus depending on age, and CatCareforLife makes recommendations for additional investigations, such as the different frequency of blood and urine testing as your cat gets older.

It is important to note – this is independent advice developed from years of international collaboration among feline specialists – it is not a practice-driven scheme or health plan.

The Life Stages and important aspects of health

Below are the important stages of a cat’s life, with links to catcare4life.org where you can find more information.

Kitten (0-6months of age)

  • Checking for birth defects
  • Appropriate nutrition for growth
  • Appropriate vaccination programme – most kittens need a course of 2 or sometimes more vaccinations
  • Neutering from 4 months of age
  • Microchipping
  • Parasite control – particularly against cat roundworms Toxocara cati and Toxoscaris leonina which can be passed on from the mother
  • Environmental and behavioural advice – e.g. taking on 1 or more kittens, introduction to other pets and people, playing with kittens correctly, provision of resources
  • Oral care introduction

Kitten (0–6 months)

Junior (7 months to 2 years)

  • First year booster – very important to ensure ongoing immunity
  • Lifestyle assessment (eg. mostly indoor or outdoor, hunter or not) for optimal parasite control
  • Environmental and behavioural advice – provision of different age appropriate resources, safety for outdoor cats (at this age, cats are most likely age to be involved in road traffic accidents)
  • Weight assessment and appropriate nutritional advice, avoiding excessive weight gain after neutering
  • Dental assessment and oral care advice

Junior (7–24 months)

Adult (3 years to 6 years)

  • Lifestyle assessment allows for appropriate advice regarding ongoing vaccination and parasite control tailored to your cat
  • Weight assessment and appropriate nutritional advice – weight gain is common at this stage
  • Dental assessment and oral care advice – increased incidence of dental disease
  • Environmental and behavioural advice – stress-related illnesses (eg. cystitis) will most commonly manifest in this life-stage

Adult (3–6years)

Mature (7 years to 10 years)

  • Lifestyle assessment as above
  • Weight assessment and appropriate nutritional advice – the incidence of obesity peaks in this age group
  • Dental assessment and oral care advice – even higher incidence of dental disease
  • Cats older than 7 years have increased risk of common ‘old cat’ illnesses, even though they can still look and act very young
  • An annual urine sample and blood pressure measurement is advised as a minimum
  • Examination of the back of the eyes should be included in routine clinical examination (checking particularly for damage caused by high blood pressure)
  • An annual blood screen is recommended (to cover at least kidney and thyroid parameters and blood glucose)

Mature (7–10years)

Senior (11-14years)

  • Lifestyle assessment – changes in mobility can indicate arthritis and resources may need adapting to accommodate this. Appetite may change, requiring a change of food
  • Weight assessment – weight loss and decline in condition become more concerning, as diseases such as kidney disease, thyroid disease, diabetes and cancer peak in this age group
  • Annual urine test as a minimum, but preferably 6-monthly
  • Annual blood screen as a minimum, but also preferably 6-monthly
  • Annual blood pressure measurement, but also preferably 6-monthly
  • Eye examination included in routine clinical examination

Senior (11–14years)

Super-senior (15+ years)

  • All aspects of Senior Cats apply
  • Biannual urine and blood testing and blood pressure measurement is highly recommended
  • Careful monitoring of weight and body condition is important, as loss or decline can indicate dehydration, undereating, arthritis, muscle loss, etc.

Super Senior (15years+)

The Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare

These apply to all animals in the care of humans, whether a house pet, a horse, farm or zoo animals:

  1. Freedom From Hunger and Thirst
  2. Freedom From Discomfort
  3. Freedom From Pain, Injury or Disease
  4. Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour
  5. Freedom From Fear and Distress

Purrfect Health Club

At Vet2Cat we offer monthly health plans to help spread the cost of your cat’s preventative health care.
Our range of monthly health plans have been devised to cover different cats’ lifestyles, ages and individual needs.
Read more about our Purrfect Health Club here.