Caring for Your Cat At Every Age & Stage

Caring for Your Cat At Every Age & Stage

As your cat ages, they go through different life stages that affect their behavior and health needs. 

Stay current with vaccinations: Staying up-to-date with vaccines is crucial in preventing diseases that can be challenging to treat. Remember, even indoor cats require their vaccinations.

Prioritise preventive care: Cats are adept at concealing signs of illness, annual checkups with your veterinarian and regular blood testing are essential for early detection–as is building a history between your vet and your ca-it helps vets identify changes during  examinations. Don't hesitate to discuss shifts in your cat's behavior, even if they seem minor.

Monitor your cat's weight: Obesity in cats can lead to numerous life-limiting conditions like severe arthritis and diabetes. Ensuring your cat consumes a well-balanced diet appropriate for their life stage is highly important. Feeding measured amounts (preferably in structured meals, especially in multi-cat households) allows you to tailor intake to their individual metabolism.

 

Scroll Below for Tips on Care by Development Stage & Age

KITTEN 0 to 6 MONTHS

Now is the ideal time to conduct an examination for potential congenital issues like a cleft palate or hernia. It's also a great time to engage in conversations with your veterinarian about aspects like lifestyle choices, diet, identification methods like micro-chipping, vaccination schedules, and addressing any behavioural concerns. *Neutering for kittens can begin as early as 4 months of age.

Consult your veterinarian on the process of acclimating your cat to having its mouth, teeth, ears, and claws inspected. Additionally, inquire about proper techniques for maintaining your cat's dental hygiene and grooming at home.

JUNIOR 7 MONTHS to 2 YEARS

Frequent health concerns for adolescent cats encompass prevalent infectious diseases and issues arising from their adventurous, active lifestyle, which often includes fighting and hunting. Your cat's initial booster vaccination becomes pivotal around their first year, as it plays a crucial role in preserving immunity against common infections. Additionally, as your cat progresses through physical and emotional maturation, it's essential to maintain a healthy environment and closely manage their diet and weight to prevent excessive gain post-neutering.

 ADULT 3 to 6 YEARS

At this life juncture, typical challenges encountered encompass issues such as obesity, dental ailments, cystitis (inflammation of the bladder), digestive disorders, cardiac conditions, and behavioral concerns. Even during their mature years, many outdoor cats remain avid hunters, making meticulous attention to parasite management crucial.

More than 70% of adult cats contend with dental and/or gum issues, which can lead to significant discomfort and tooth loss. Regular yearly check-ups enable early problem detection, often before severe ailments can set in. In cases where dental problems are identified, it's frequently essential to perform a thorough oral examination under general anesthesia to facilitate cleaning and necessary dental procedures.

Incorporating some dry cat food into their diet can contribute to maintaining clean teeth. Actively cleaning your cat's teeth can offer substantial benefits and is the most effective approach to oral hygiene. Many cats can be trained to readily accept tooth brushing, particularly when initiated from a young age. Should you consider this, inquire with your veterinary clinic for a suitable brush and toothpaste, ensuring you use products specifically designed for feline oral care—human alternatives are unsuitable for cats.

MATURE 7 to 10 YEARS

Once a cat reaches the age of 7 and beyond, even though many still maintain a youthful appearance and playful spirit, there's an elevated susceptibility to age-related issues that can emerge. Common examples of these conditions encompass diabetes, kidney disease, hypertension, hyperthyroidism, and various forms of cancer.

It becomes increasingly vital to keep a close watch on older cats, paying keen attention to telltale signs of potential ailments. These signs include changes in coat quality, diminished energy levels, unexplained weight loss, instances of vomiting or diarrhea, irregular bowel movements, shifts in appetite or thirst, alterations in urination patterns, and reduced activity levels.

Moreover, it's worth noting that obesity tends to peak in the mature and senior cat phases, warranting additional caution when it comes to feeding routines. Fluctuations in body weight can sneak up gradually, often being harder to detect, especially in long-haired cats. This underscores the significance of routine weight checks and the continuous assessment of a cat's body condition

SENIOR 11 to 14 YEARS

In the Senior and Super Senior stages of a cat's life, several health challenges can arise concurrently. However, it's essential to understand that many of these ailments remain treatable, and one should not merely attribute any alterations in their cat's health to 'old age' and dismiss them.

As cats age, they become more susceptible to conditions like hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, kidney disease, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and even symptoms akin to senile dementia, which might include confusion, withdrawal, aimless wandering, and excessive vocalization (meowing). Nevertheless, it's crucial to recognize that these signs can also manifest due to other underlying diseases, emphasizing the necessity for a comprehensive examination.

Older cats can encounter issues like dehydration, constipation, reduced grooming habits leading to coat and skin problems, and overgrown claws. Their diminished sense of smell, dental or gum problems, and a less efficient digestive system might result in reduced appetite and weight loss. Thus, it's imperative to maintain vigilant monitoring for signs of illness in older cats.

As cats age, they require attentive care, and regular health assessments can pinpoint areas needing additional attention. While some older cats are predisposed to dehydration, diseases such as kidney disease, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism can exacerbate this issue. Feeding wet (canned or pouch) food rather than dry food can enhance their water intake.

Notably, chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer are identified as the 'top 5' significant conditions affecting Mature, Senior, and Super Senior cats. Nevertheless, many of these illnesses and changes can be effectively managed, ensuring a good quality of life even for Super Senior cats.

SUPER SENIOR 15 + YEARS

In the Super Senior phase, multiple health issues can manifest simultaneously. However, it's important to remember that many of these diseases remain quite treatable. So, it's unwise to attribute any shifts in your cat's well-being solely to 'old age' and neglect them.

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