How old is your cat and what does age mean? A cat’s life consists of six different stages.
Here we go through the cat’s maturation process and aging, from kitten to supersenior.
In many cases, the cat can live a very long life. The conditions for this of course differ between cats, but the average lifespan of a cat is 13-14 years.
Many live much longer than that. The cat’s different life stages are not very obvious in terms of appearance, which means that it can be very difficult to assess a cat’s age based on this.
No matter how young your cat looks or behaves, it naturally ages through different stages of life.
So when does your cat transition from being a kitten to becoming an adult?
Kitten, 0-6 months
Corresponds to the age 0-10 years in humans
The important growth phase in the cat’s life – here it goes quickly from one week to another. As a kitten, the cat is mischievous and playful regardless of breed, and its behavior now does not say much about how its temperament will be as an adult. Start raising the cat early to create the best possible conditions for a safe and warm relationship between you. Also teach the cat to tolerate handling – you should be able to examine its teeth, ears, paws and claws without it protesting. If you have a long-haired cat that requires fur care, it needs to get used to it early in life. From about four months of age, it is advisable to neuter the cat if it is not to be used in breeding. You also need to ensure that the cat is thoroughly vaccinated according to current recommendations.
Junior, 7 months – 2 years
Corresponds to the age of 12-24 years in humans
Now your cat has become a junior. It is probably still playful and curious, but may begin to act more independently. At this stage in the cat’s life, it reaches sexual maturity, with the changes that it entails both physically and mentally. A cat that is not neutered when it reaches sexual maturity can soon begin to exhibit sex hormone-controlled behavior, which can be experienced as problematic for its owner.
The veterinary visits that the cat may need to make at this age are usually related to accidents of various kinds, such as injuries after cat fights.
Adult, 3-6 years
Corresponds to the age of 28-40 years in humans
Your cat has now reached adulthood and has matured both physically and mentally. This is usually a quiet period if your cat does not have any diseases of any kind. It is important to continue to vaccinate the cat regularly and to check oral health and weight. Dental problems are very common in cats and can lead to pain and discomfort, something that can be difficult to detect as cats are masters at hiding disease symptoms.
Middle-aged, 7-10 years
Corresponds to the age 44-56 years in humans
As mentioned earlier, it can be difficult to determine a cat’s age through behavior and appearance. When the cat reaches middle age, it still looks youthful and can behave as playfully as before. But from now on, the risk of age-related diseases such as impaired kidney function, high blood pressure, tumor diseases and thyroid disorders increases. If the cat is overweight, there is also an increased risk of diabetes. Keep an extra eye on your cat to detect changes in its behavior and health, and feel free to do annual health checks at the vet. Do not forget that regular vaccinations continue to be important to avoid infectious diseases!
Senior, 11-14 years
Corresponds to the age of 60-72 years in humans
By now, you and your cat have known each other for a long time and have probably both gotten used to and adapted to each other’s routines. Many cats become calmer at this age and cats that have the opportunity to roam freely may reduce their territory and stay closer to home. Now the age-related diseases are increasing in frequency, including impaired kidney function, high blood pressure, thyroid disorders, tumor diseases and osteoarthritis. Many of these diseases can be treated and the prognosis is usually better the earlier a disease is detected.
Therefore, it is important not to ignore changes in the cat’s behavior that could be a sign of illness. Book an appointment with a veterinarian for senior check-ups every year and the probability of diseases being detected in time increases. Some older cats move less and without adapted feeding increases the risk of developing overweight and obesity, which in itself can lead to sequelae such as diabetes. Feel free to get help from your veterinarian to choose the right food for your senior cat.
Supersenior, 15 years +
Corresponds to the age of 76-116 years in humans
If your cat is reaching this advanced age, it needs very special consideration. The diseases that are starting to become common during the senior stage are even more likely to develop now. Cats at this age should therefore be examined regularly by a veterinarian, at least once a year and more often at signs of illness. With consideration in the form of adapted feeding, regular health checks and a lot of love, even the super-senior cat can live a life with a good quality of life.