Caring for an aging cat
The stages of your cat’s life and what to expect.
How can you tell when your cat is getting old? On the outside, your cat may look much the same, and probably still loves to bat a toy mouse around the kitchen floor and pounce on it with great enthusiasm. But inside, things are changing.
The Middle Years
You may barely have noticed the subtle changes your cat went through after the first year of life. But as he or she approaches middle age, between the ages of 8 and 12, bigger changes begin to take place.
The Later Stages
When your cat is between the ages of 12 and 15—the geriatric stage—take note of any behavioral changes. These can be early indicators of illness.
You may notice he or she sleeps a lot more—this is likely normal. Some older cats sleep more than 18 hours a day.
Your cat’s joints may stiffen and become difficult to move with age, making him or her lethargic about many types of activities—even a once-fastidious grooming ritual. A lack of desire to groom can also be a sign of sickness, so if you notice this behavioral change, consult with your vet.
Expect to see some differences in your cat as he or she ages—it’s a natural part of the aging process. But these changes can also be the best clues to catching an illness before it progresses, making monitoring for behavioral changes one of the best ways to care for your aging cat.