Feline (cat) Life Stage Wellness Guidelines

Five key resources for a cat at all stages of life include 1) Water 2) Food 3) Litter box 4) Social interactions and 5) a predictable routine Resting/Sleeping/Hiding place.

  • Kitten (0-6months old)
    • Discuss growth requirement and healthy weight management
    • Education on mouth handling, teeth brushing, assessment of weight and BCS
    • Kittens have high play drive at about 12 weeks old. It is important to acclimate them to any handling technique. Also make sure a kitten has enough toys at this age to avoid play bite
    • Start endoparasite prevention at 8 – 9 weeks of age
    • Complete core kitten vaccine +/- FeLV vaccine
    • Blood test for FIV/FeLV status, fecal examination 2-4 times in the first year of life
  • Junior (7 months to 2 years old)
    • Monitor for weight changes and feeding to moderate body condition (Calorie intake needs to be reduced after de-sex)
    • Fecal exam 1-4 times per year depending on lifestyles
    • Cat may reduce social play around this age and inter-cat aggression may start to develop
    • Continue vaccination annually
  • Adult (3 – 6 years old) and middle-age (7 – 10 years old)
    • Feed to moderate body condition. Monitor weight changes
    • Conduct fecal exam 1-2 times per year depending on lifestyles
    • Continue vaccination annually
    • Cat may develop dental disease at this stage of life and dental cleaning should be considered
  • Senior (11 – 14 years old) Geriatric (>14 years old)
    • Healthy senior and geriatric cat should be examined by a vet in every 6-month interval
    • Blood test (CBC, biochemistry) and urinalysis every 6 months, adjusted according to individual health status
    • Blood pressure monitor every 6 months as hypertension is more often among cats over 10 years old
    • Screening test (serum total T4) for any hyperthyroidism – as approximately 40% cats with early hyperthyroidism have mild clinical signs. Disease can be detected 1-2 years before any signs occur
    • Monitor for dental disease, oral tumor
    • Common aged-related diseases in cat include chronic kidney failure, osteoarthritis, cardiac disease, diabetes mellitus, inflammatory bowel disease and cancer