Cat Life Stages

When we think about our cat’s life stages, we might think that they consist of kittenhood, adulthood and senior age. However, did you know that, according to International Cat Care, your cat goes through six different life stages? Each of these life stages can mean a change in care and even feeding requirements, to ensure your cat continues to thrive, no matter what their age.

Here at Cheshire Pet, we proudly follow the Cat Care for Life blueprint. This is a partnership between you, us, and your cat. We work together to keep your cat healthy and happy throughout all their different life stages. For more information about our Cat Care for Life promise visit: We also combine this with a specially designed Best Friends Health Plan, so that you as a pet owner can ensure your pet receives the very best preventative treatments, through a simple monthly direct debit. More information can be found here:

Keep reading to find out more about our recommendations based on your cat’s age*

Kittenhood (0 – 6 months)

This stage of your cat’s life is classed as their infancy stage. During this 6-month period, a kitten will transition through the stages very similar to those of a human child. New-born to toddler to pre-schooler to big kid.

Appearance As with most baby animals, kittens look like a tiny version of their adult selves. Very easy to spot and, of course, very cute! You will also notice that your kitten may have shorter ears and tail, however, these will grow to be more proportionate.

Behaviour – While they are a kitten they are completely reliant on their mother (and you) to support them with every aspect of their care and protection. As they develop, you will see their desire and curiosity to explore their environment. Combined with a lack of fear and energy, this can lead to a lot of mischief. At this impressionable age, we recommend focusing on socialising your kitten with as many people and animals as possible, to help them develop into a well-rounded cat.

CareTypically, your kitten should have received their first vaccination by the time you are ready to bring them home. We recommend the 2nd vaccinations from around 12 weeks onwards, followed by annual booster vaccinations. At your first appointment here with us, we will also offer your kitten a wellness check, discuss neutering and parasite treatment options. We will be able to discuss nutritional needs, providing guidance on appropriate amounts of protein required to support growth and development. We will also advise on ranges of high-quality kitten food that will help to deliver this to your kitten.

Junior Cat (6 months – 2 years)

Equivalent to human adolescence. Your kitten will now be maturing both physically and mentally, with obvious changes to both as they grow through this period.

AppearanceYou may notice that during this period your junior cat begins to look more lean and lanky. This is due to them experiencing many growth spurts as they develop their adult frame.

Behaviour – Your cat will begin to lose their kitten-like ways and will learn to become more like an adult cat. Usually, by the time they are 18 months old, they will have a much calmer demeanour compared to those early few months. We would normally recommend the continued socialisation of your cat, where possible, along with training about rules and boundaries around the home.

CareDon’t forget to ensure that you continue your routine parasite treatments and your cat’s established vaccination schedule as they continue to age. At around a year old, we also recommend transitioning your cat from kitten food to adult cat food, which could be canned (wet), kibble or a mixture of both depending on their preference. Please be aware that it is not uncommon for cats at this stage to put on additional weight after being neutered. It is important to ensure intake is monitored and your cat isn’t overfed. Our team are always on hand to discuss your junior cat’s feeding requirements so, please ask when you next visit us.

Prime Cat Stage (3 – 6 years old)

At this stage, we class your cat as being in the 'prime of their life’. Very similar to a human in their 20s and 30s.

AppearanceDuring this stage, your cat will be at the peak of their health and physical fitness. Their once lanky frame will be filled out, but not overweight, with a sleek body and shiny healthy coat.  They are now classed as 'fully' grown and will be as tall and long as they are going to be throughout the rest of their adult life.

BehaviourYour cat will also now be much more settled into their personality (which of course varies from cat to cat). This personality is the one they will have for the rest of their life. We would expect to see a playful and active cat, with well-established routines and their own territory. Your cat should also be fully trained however if you do notice problematic/unwanted behaviours, we can help! We would check for any underlying medical conditions that may be causing the unwanted behaviour and we can also help with training.

Care Although in peak health, caring for your adult cat should still involve regular health checks with us here at the practice, as well as booster vaccinations and all-year-round parasite treatments. The nutritional needs of your cat will continue as they did during their junior stage, barring any special health requirements that may arise.

Mature cat stage (7 – 10 years old)

At this time in their life, your cat is equivalent to that of a middle-aged human in their 40s or 50s.

Appearance From looking at your cat outwardly there will be very little difference to how they looked when they were in the prime stage of their life. It is, however, important to be aware that your cat could be prone to weight gain and their coat may look a little less shiny.

BehaviourWhile many cats remain active through this life stage, it is common to see mature cats slowing down.

Care – At this stage of your cat’s life, care does require more involvement from you as an owner. This is due to their increased risk of obesity and related health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes etc. All of these can increase your cat’s risk of cancer, kidney and thyroid disease. We recommend regular check-ups with our vets who will help to monitor your cat’s health, as well as provide advice on how to spot signs of illness at home, such as weight loss, diarrhoea etc. Part of the health check will also focus on your cat’s diet as at this stage in life, your cat will require an array of nutrients to keep them healthy, such as vitamins C and E. We may also need to adjust levels of food as their activity levels decrease.

Just like all of their previous life stages, it is important to ensure your cat’s vaccinations and all-year-round parasite treatments are up to date.

Senior and Geriatric cat stage (11 years+)

From 11 years onwards, your cat’s life stages are split into two separate stages. Those from 11- 14 years, we class as seniors and would be equivalent to a person in their 60s or 70s. 15 years + we would class your cat as geriatric or a super senior!

Appearance – At this stage of your cat's life, it would be expected to see signs of ageing. This can include them developing more white fur, a less shiny coat, and their features may become more pronounced.

Behaviour – As your cat continues to age, so too does the risk of conditions and illness. At this stage of life, your cat may also be prone to mobility issues caused by arthritis and other joint problems. This can cause your cat to slow down in pace and avoid activities such as using their cat tree or even their litter tray if it has high walls. Another condition to watch out for is dementia. Symptoms may include forgetting to use the litter tray, loud yowling, agitation, and forgetting to eat or drink.

Care – We highly recommend that your senior cat continues to receive regular health checks with our vets, as this will provide opportunities to identify, monitor and manage ongoing health problems. Keeping an eye on possible issues will help your cat enjoy a comfortable healthy life for as long as possible through their later years. During their health checks, we will also discuss the management of your cat in the home, from playtime to cleaning. We will also look at their diet as it may need to be adapted to meet their new senior needs.

Interested in booking a health screening for your cat? We are pleased to be offering several life stage clinics tailored to your cat's age! Visit Feline Life Stage Clinics for more information or call us on 01270 765 555

*Please be aware that some cat breeds can mature quicker than others. Therefore, we would recommend discussing any nutritional changes with a member of our veterinary team