In recent years, feline ages and life-stages have been redefined, cats are considered to be elderly once they reach 11 years with senior cats defined as those aged between 11-14 years and super-senior cats 15 years and upwards. When caring for older cats it sometimes helps to appreciate their age in human terms.
According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) Senior Care Guidelines, older cats are classified as mature or middle-aged at 7 to 10 years old, as senior cats at 11 to 14 years old, and geriatric from 15 to 25 years old.
Some cats begin showing age-related physical signs as early as age seven, while others are still friskier than kittens at ten. A general rule of thumb is that a cat is classified as "senior" if she's over 11 years of age.
From 7-10 years of age, your cat begins to lose their drive to play and is less active. This is a normal shift in activity as your cat is comfortable in their environment and routine. As your cat slows down, it is crucial to monitor your pet's eating habits.
She may become more vocal or develop more anxieties about change, strange people or new noises. She may show less interest in play, although she's still willing to participate occasionally, and she is more likely to indulge in longer catnaps.
Indoor cats typically live longer than outdoor cats and have a life expectancy of about 10 to 15 years. However, that number may vary a bit if your cat spends a lot of time outside as well. There are several factors that determine how long your cat will live, including how often you take them to the vet for a checkup.
Older cats tend to be less active and playful, they may sleep more, gain or lose weight, and have trouble reaching their favorite places. Don't chalk up health or behavior changes - often gradual - to old age, however.
Anyone with a cat in their life will know that they're probably going to stick around for a while, with the average lifespan of indoor house cats these days hitting an impressive 12 to 15 years.
As in humans, female cats tend to live for longer than male cats. Neutered cats are also likely to live for longer than intact ones, and pure breed cats are less likely to live as long as crossbreeds.
Poor hygiene practices can leave your cat susceptible to diseases and stress. Cleaning your cat's feeding equipment, litter boxes, and houses will help them feel comfortable and prevent diseases or parasites that may affect their health. Poor feeding habits can seriously compromise your cat's health.
Cats are juniors until the age of 2, and like human children, may start to show a different temperament between 6 months and 2 years old, even progressing from the (sometimes) defiant 'Terrible Two's' to becoming a stroppy teenager!
Signs of a Depressed Cat
Changes in body language, including ears held back, tucked tail, and hairs standing on end. Meowing more or less than usual or making low-pitched, mournful meows. Lack of energy or a decrease in activity level. Retreating from humans or other family pets.
It is even believed that house felines can spot an illness or allergies that their owner isn't aware of. They become more clingy, empathetic, and caring towards their owner when they suspect a health problem.
Cats can also discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar humans, recognise human faces and voices, and make the mental match between the two.
Unlike dogs, cats are not known for coming when called. But if your cat doesn't move a whisker when you call its name, it doesn't necessarily mean that it doesn't know its name. According to a study1 published in 2019 in the journal Scientific Reports, cats do, in fact, recognize their own names.
As they age, kittens turn into our steady and aloof companions; they are calming fixtures in our lives. With modern medicine advancing, cats are living longer. Once they age, many people describe cats' personalities as irritable, moody or just plain grumpy.
Your cat is following you because they want your attention
Perhaps they're afraid of something or they may be feeling ill and this has caused a change in their behaviour. Sometimes cats experiencing distress will also want to keep as close to their owner as possible.
As they age, cats are not able to digest their food as well resulting in increased nutrition requirements. If their nutrition does not meet their requirements, they will lose muscle mass resulting in the ability to easily feel the bones of their spine and hips when petting them.
Many cats are just as bouncy at 9 as they were at 5 and 6, but some may be slightly less energetic. As cats begin to age, they may start having trouble handling stress. You may notice that your cat seems less tolerant of loud noises and environmental changes.
While younger cats and kittens require close to 20 hours or more a day of sleep, adult cats 3 to 10 years in age average around 13 to 16 hours of sleep a day.
Beginning at around age 9, your cat enters senior years. At this stage, cats often begin to develop diseases common to their senior-human counterparts, such as diabetes, heart disease, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease and cancer. In fact, one out of 10 pets that appears healthy, has an underlying disease1.
Alone Time Can Strengthen Together Time
Though household cats do get lonely because they developed a need for companionship, remember their ancestors were solitary animals. Therefore, it's in cats' roots to also enjoy some time to themselves!