The American Association of Feline Practitioners has outlined the 6 distinct cat life stages, and what cat owners can do to provide the best care for their cats at each stage of life, from kittenhood to geriatrics.
Here’s a quick overview, and be sure to visit the AAFP website for the full details, and for lots of other useful cat care information as well!
Kitten (0-6 months): This is the easiest stage to introduce your kitten to children and other pets. It’s also the best time to establish a regular routine for nail trimming and tooth and coat brushing. Teach your kitten to become comfortable with the carrier and rides in the car.
Junior (6 months-2 years): Cats become sexually mature as young as 6 months of age, so be sure to have your cat spayed or neutered by this stage to avoid unwanted litters and improve your cat’s behavior.
Prime (3-6 years): While cats are often at their healthiest at this stage, it’s still important to bring your cat to the veterinarian for regular wellness checkups and preventive care like dental cleanings.
Mature (7-10 years): Some cats become more sedentary and less playful at this stage. Be sure to keep your cat at a healthy weight to avoid the health problems associated with feline obesity, a common problem in older cats.
Senior (11-14 years): Cats at this stage are roughly equivalent to human seniors in the 70+ age range. Consider increasing vet visits to once every 6 months at this stage of your cat’s life.
Geriatric (15 years and over): While the average cat lifespan is around 15 years, many cats can live well beyond their teens and into their 20s. Monitor your older cat for health and behavior changes and talk to your vet about managing chronic health issues.