How Old Is My Cat
One of the most important things that we as cat owners can do is to appreciate and understand how our cats develop and grow throughout their lives. How can we tell what is normal ageing vs. a sign of discomfort or illness? This guide will help explain what you need to know to keep your cat happy and healthy no matter their age. Using the chart above, find out your cats age category and click on the relevant link below to learn more about your cats needs at their specific stage in life:
Week : Starting The Weaning Process
Kittens will be walking around freely at this time and starting to play with their siblings. They will be developing a new sense of independence, although they may not stray far from their mother or their littermates. This will be a very good time for them to socialize with humans.
Kittens may be introduced to canned food at this time. Select a quality brand of kitten food with a named meat source as the first ingredient . Ideally, they should be given the same kitten food given the mother cat, as the kittens will quickly accommodate and eat mom’s food. Use a shallow plate and expect their first experiences to be messy.
Although the mother cat will try to wean the kittens, they still need the nursing experience to satisfy their suckling needsat least until they are eight or 10 weeks old, by which time the mother cat will have gradually weaned them.
Kittens can also learn litter box basics now. They need a smaller, separate box, one that will be easy to access and exit, with only an inch or two of litter. A shallow plastic storage box or lid to a shoebox might work for starters. As human babies experiment by tasting everything, so will kittens. Avoid their ingestion of harmful substances by using a natural litter such as one made from corn cobs, paper, or wood chipsnever use clumping clay.
Kitten Development In The First Six Weeks Of Life
The first six weeks in a kitten’s life is crucial for its development. They will grow and develop quickly, however they are susceptible to a number of threats. Now outside the womb, a kitten will need warmth, food, and protection from infectious diseases and parasites .
Kittens will probably never grow again at the remarkable rate they accomplish during this period, and seeing the changes in their development from week to week is an incredible experience. Learn about their first week and move on from there.
Read Also: What To Feed A 3 Month Old Kitten
Three Weeks Old Kitten
If you are bottle feeding, youll notice the kittens are drinking much more at each feeding, but at fewer feedings, probably four to five times a day. At this age you can start introducing solid fooduse wet food at first, and try mixing it with kitten formula. By the end of the week, their weight will have increased to close to 15 ounces. They are walking steadily, without too much wobbling.
Tweed is three weeks old!
One Year: No Longer A Kitten
By the time she reaches her first birthday, a kitten is no longer considered a kitten but is now a full-grown cat. Although she may still engage in kittenish behavior and may still have some additional growing to do, your newly adult cat is ready to transition to a high-quality adult cat food formula. Follow the recommended feeding guidelines on your kitty’s new cat food to determine how much and how often she should be fed.
Although a cat is considered an adult by one year of age, developmentally speaking, kitten adolescence typically lasts until a cat reaches eighteen months or so. During this time, a cat might still exhibit the energetic playfulness of a kitten, as well as typical “teenager” behavior, which may include testing boundaries and acts of rebellion like scratching the furniture or marking territory. According to the kitten growth chart at Raising Happy Kittens, your kitty may become less affectionate during this time. But not to worry. Usually, cats start to mature and settle down after the eighteen-month mark, and by her second birthday your kitty will be fully grown into her adult personality.
Watching a kitten grow from a tiny newborn to a full-grown cat is a wondrous thing. Knowing what to expect as your kitten grows will empower you to help her grow into a healthy and happy companion.
Don’t Miss: 8 Year Old Cat In Human Years
Changes Seen During A Cat’s Main Stages Of Life
Cats go through three main stages of aging. Their nutritional needs, activity levels, and veterinary care vary during each stage.
- Kittenhood: Kittenhood lasts from birth to one year This year, especially the first six weeks, marks the fastest growth of a cat’s life. A diet of kitten food , routine preventitive veterinary care, and training, all set the standards for future health and well-being.
- Maintenance years: During the maintenance years of one to approximately 10 years, growth has ceased, and the activity level may start declining toward the end of this life stage. A high-quality diet formulated for adult cats provides the ideal nutrition for your adult cat. Routine play with highly interactive toys and regular veterinary care will help guarantee your adult cat’s continued good health.
- Senior years: Cats are generally considered seniors at the age of 10 years. Veterinary care becomes increasingly important, in order to detect early signs of diseases that target older cats.
Life Stage Definitions And Relevant Clinical Perspectives
The Task Force has designated four age-related life stages : the kitten stage, from birth up to 1 year young adult, from 1 year through 6 years mature adult, from 7 to 10 years and senior, aged over 10 years. The fifth, end-of-life stage can occur at any age. These guidelines focus on the life stages of kitten through to senior. These age designations help to focus attention on the physical and behavioral changes, as well as the evolving medical needs, that occur at different stages of feline life. Examples include detection of congenital defects in kittens, obesity prevention in the young adult cat, and increased vigilance for early detection of renal disease in mature adult and senior cats. It must be recognized, however, that any age groupings are inevitably arbitrary demarcations along a spectrum and not absolutes.
Feline Life Stages
Although ages have been used to identify life stages, it is recognized that there may be significant variation among individual cats. For example, some senior cats aged 10 years and older may remain in excellent physical condition and would be best treated as a mature adult at the veterinarians discretion. The guidelines are intended to be a starting point from which individualized care recommendations can be developed.
Read Also: Cat Eating Plastic Bag
Senior Cats And Geriatric Cats
Senior cats suffer from many of the same conditions and diseases as older humans, but careful management can vastly improve both their potential lifespan and quality of life. Depending on several factors, cats enter their senior years sometime between eight and ten years of age.
Veterinary care assumes greater importance, and even healthy senior cats should be seen at least twice a year by a veterinarian. If a cat has one or more of the diseases common to seniors, he or she may be seen several times a year for monitoring, as these diseases are chronic.
Week : Tiny Food Processing Factories
The newborn kitten weighs just ounces and easily fits into the palm of your hand. Its umbilical cord will fall off within two or three days, but its eyes and ear canals will not be open yet.
Kittens are very helpless at this age, but the mother cat instinctively knows their needs. She feeds them, keeps them close by for warmth, and bathes them with her rough tongue, which also stimulates their digestion and helps them urinate and defecate. Mother cats are very protective of their little ones and will move them to another location if humans intrude too much into the nest.
Provided the mother has been vaccinated or has natural immunity, the kittens will receive this same immunity for the first 24 to 48 hours through her colostrum, and it will last until they are old enough to get their kitten shots.
Newborns will weigh an average of 3.5 ounces at birth and may double their weight by the end of the first week. It’s a good idea to weigh them and monitor their weight to ascertain if they are getting adequate nutrition. They are simply little food processing factories at this point, and their only activities are nursing, sleeping, and passing waste. There is very little social interaction at this age, other than competing for their favorite nipple, where they will suckle while kneading with their tiny paws.
Read Also: Will A Hawk Eat A Cat
Weeks: Walking And Using The Litter Box
Around three weeks of age is usually when kittens start to take their first shaky steps. While they start out wobbly and unsure, as balance begins to improve during the fourth week they become more confident and eager to explore their surroundings. This is a good time to start kitten-proofing your home if you haven’t already done so.
During the fourth and fifth week of the kitten timeline, kittens are able to balance enough to go to the bathroom without any help from their mother. This is a good time to introduce them to the litter box, says Petful. Kittens typically learn what to do from watching mom, so all you really need to do is show them the box. Just keep in mind that they’re still learning and accidents might happen from time to time.
Weeks: Socializing And First Vaccines
Your kitten should be taken to her first veterinarian visit during this time. The first round of vaccinations should be done between six and eight weeks on the kitten timeline. The core immunizations she’ll need include distemper and the respiratory diseases, feline viral rhinotracheitis and feline calicivirus. Your veterinarian will place your kitten on a schedule for follow-up shots and boosters, and also discuss any additional shots for conditions she may be at risk for, including chlamydia and feline leukemia. By twelve weeks, kittens are ready to receive their first rabies vaccination.
Did you know kittens have two sets of teeth as they age, just like humans? Feline baby teeth start coming in during the second week, but your kitten should have all of her baby teeth by about eight weeks of age. By four months, her adult teeth will start to come in.
Recommended Reading: Will A Hawk Eat A Cat
Assessing Your Cats Age
Cats obviously mature much more rapidly than people, but once they are fully developed physically and behaviourally from about 3 years of age for many years their outward appearance changes very little. They usually still appear very youthful, and it can actually be very difficult to tell the age of an adult cat.
Despite the youthful outward appearance, inside the cat will be getting older. It is much easier to understand how to manage our cats lives, health and behaviour if we can associate their age with an equivalent of our own human years. It has often been suggested that we simply need to multiply a cats age by 7 to get a comparative human age. However, this is very crude and does not take into account a number of aspects of how cats mature and age. A much more appropriate method is to take the end of the first year of the cats life to be equivalent to 15 human years, the end of the second year to be approximately equivalent to a 24-year-old person, and thereafter to consider each year of a cats life to equate to approximately 4 human years.
The chart we have provided can be used to easily determine approximately how old your cat is in human terms. It should be remembered that this is just an estimate though as each cat, just like each human, is an individual and rates of maturation and ageing will vary.
Select your cats life stage below to find out more about your cat and the preventative healthcare it should be receiving.
Why Cant I Bring The Kittens And Their Mother Indoors
Even if your home is very nice, a mother cat may become so stressed by being confined in the new environment that it impacts her health and her ability to care for her kittens. Community cats thrive in their outdoor home and the mother cat has likely chosen an ideal space to raise her kittens, so there is no need to intervene.
Don’t Miss: Cat Pee On Wood Floors
Veterinary Care For Adult Cats
Adult cats should be seen annually for a wellness check and to receive any necessary vaccine boosters. It is important to routinely examine your cat at home and pay attention to their litter box and eating habits. You are the first to spot any potential problems including skin lumps, ear mites, and excessive weight gain. It is also important to know your cat’s routine. Be alert for changes such as the following:
- Limping: Limping or slow gait when climbing stairs can be a sign of arthritis or injury. In either case, a vet visit is indicated. Your veterinarian can diagnose sources of pain in your cat and prescribe medications if appropriate.
- Change in litter box habits: Peeing outside the box can be a sign of FLUTD or a more serious condition in your cat’s urinary tract. It is an indication for a vet visit ASAP. Diarrhea or painful constipation also should trigger a vet visit.
- Change in appetite: Sudden loss of appetite can be an indication of several diseases, and the cat should be seen by a vet for diagnosis and treatment. The same applies to cats who eat constantly but do not gain weight. Likewise, any increased frequency of vomiting is a sign of a problem. While it could be something as simple as a food allergy or increased hairballs, more serious conditions are possible.
Life Cycle Of Giardia:
1) The Cyst Stage 1
The cyst is hard, rigid and can survive any cold weather. They are resistant forms and are carriers of the disease Giardiasis. This infection occurs when contaminated water, food or fecal matter is ingested by human beings.
Excystation is the stage in which the parasite escapes from the cyst and emerges as a trophozoite. In the small intestine, the process of excystation begins where each cyst releases two trophozoites. These trophozoites multiply through binary fission, remaining in the small bowel.
2) The Trophozoite Stage 2
Encystation is the process of forming a cyst or to become enclosed in a capsule. Encystation occurs when the parasite migrates to the colon. The cyst stage is most commonly found in non diarrheal feces. Owing to the infectious nature of cysts, shortly after passing stool, it can spread from one person to another.
Recommended Reading: Lovecraft’s Cats
Discussion Items For All Life Stages
The Task Force recommends a minimum of annual examinations for all cats, with increasing frequency as appropriate for their individual needs.6 Senior cats should be seen at least every 6 months and more frequently for those with chronic conditions. More information can be found in the AAFPSenior Care Guidelines.12 Seeing patients and clients at least annually provides an excellent opportunity for client education. lists a number of discussion items relevant to all life stages. Some topics such as sterilization, claw care, the importance of identification and microchipping, and disaster preparedness may be covered once in an initial consultation. The AAFP Position Statement entitled Early spay and castration is a source of further information on timing of pediatric spay/neutering. 13
Open-ended questions and requests such as, What would you like to discuss with me today? or, I hear that hasnt been eating well, tell me more about that are an excellent start to setting the agenda for the consultation. An appointment template can be valuable to guide more specific questions such as, Has there been any urination or defecation outside the litter box? to ensure other relevant information is not missed or left to the end of the consultation.
Almost Time To Go Home
Well-socialized and completely weaned kittens may be ready for their new forever homes in just a couple of weeks from now. If you’ve been waiting for kittens to be old enough to adopt, you’ll probably be pretty excited by this time.
Patience, though. Remember, “all good things are worth waiting for,” and in ideal circumstances, kittens are not ready for adoption until they are between 7 and 9 weeks old.
Read Also: Cats To Human Years
Developmental Stages Of Kitten Behavior
Well-socialized cats are more likely to have well-socialized kittens. Kittens respond to their mothers calm or fearful attitude toward people. Although feeding time is important, its also vital to include petting, talking and playing in order to build good people-skills in your kitten.
Kittens are usually weaned at six or seven weeks, but may continue to suckle for comfort as their mother gradually leaves them more and more. Orphaned kittens, or those weaned too soon, are more likely to exhibit inappropriate suckling behaviors later in life. Ideally, kittens should stay with their littermates for at least 12 weeks.
Kittens orphaned or separated from their mother and/or littermates too early often fail to develop appropriate social skills, such as learning how to send and receive signals, what an inhibited bite means, how far to go in play-wrestling and so forth. Play is important for kittens because it increases their physical coordination, social skills and learning limits. By interacting with their mother and littermates kittens learn how to be a cat, as well as explore the ranking process .
The following chart provides general guidelines for the stages of development.