Your Cat May Be Suffering From Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure can result in fatigue and difficulty breathing, both of which can make your cat less interested in eating.
In addition, medications or a new food thats prescribed for heart disease may affect your cats appetite, especially if the new food is less palatable than what your cat is accustomed to eating.1
Adult Cat: One To Seven Years Old
Congratulations, that adorable ball of fluff you are raising is now officially an adult. Imagine, at two years old shell have reached her social maturity.
Behavioral changes are common at this time. Cuddly kittens may turn into I-want-to-be-alone divas or once unaffectionate kittens may cling to your lap.
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.
The Final Stages Of Your Kitten Becoming A Cat
After one year, your kitten will have become an adult cat. In this young adult stage they will be playful and fully socialised, healthy with a glossy coat, a strong skeleton and muscles, and excellent hunting reflexes.
Understanding the process by which your kitten develops into an adult cat means youll be able to give them the right support they need in their diet, behaviour and home life. If you have any concerns that your kitten isnt progressing in the right way, consult your vet.
How Is A Cat’s Age Determined
You may be wondering how exactly a cat’s approximate age is determined. Perhaps you have taken in a stray cat that you have been feeding for several weeks, and are curious how old the cat is and what to look for. While looking at a cat’s teeth is often a good indicator, it is not a foolproof method. For that reason, veterinarians prefer to examine the whole cat. In addition to looking for wear along the teeth, veterinarians will examine for any signs of cloudiness to the lenses of the eyes. They will also check for signs of grooming issues as older cats can be less thorough due to dental issues or weight gain. Labwork can show changes in organ function that are more common with age . Keep in mind your veterinarian is making an educated guess as to your cat’s age – there isn’t one specific way of determining a specific age unless the birthday is known.
When To Switch From Kitten To Cat Food
December 21, 2020
Taking care of a kitten is quite different than caring for an adult cat. Many cat owners wonder whats the right time to switch from kitten to cat food? Theres no exact rule for when to make the switch, but the general rule is that all cats less than 12 months old are considered kittens. Its essential to feed your young fur baby a kitten formula during their first year. The exception would be larger breed cats, which dont mature to adults until they are 18+ months old.
You should feed your kittens a growth-formulated diet until theyre at least 90% of their adult weight. If youre unsure, its best to double-check with your vet before making any significant lifestyle changes for your kitten or cat.
Moving Into Adulthood And Lifestyle Changes: Your Cats Changing Nutritional Needs
When your kitten has reached the age of 6 months, with sexual maturity fast approaching, this is sometimes considered the best time to consider neutering. For health reasons, many veterinarians often recommend early neutering when your kitten is between 4 and 6 months old. It is important to be aware that neutering will have certain consequences on your cats appetite and metabolism. For example, a neutered cats ability to burn calories is modified and weight gain could increase up to 20% quickly . There is a chance she may also be more inclined to beg for food in an attempt to satisfy her new found hunger. Hence, it is crucial to pay close attention to her body weight throughout this potentially tricky 18 week period following neutering and to closely monitor her food intake.
How To Convert Cat’s Age To Human Years
You can understand your cat’s development more easily if you have a general idea of his age in human years.
Variables such as genetics, , environment, and access to routine preventative medical care can alter your cat’s comparative human age. Although you might not have any control over the cat’s heredity, you do have options for controlling the other factors which control your cat’s aging process.
Adjusting To A New Home
As with any new roommate, your new cat will have to adjust to your home, and she may be shy at first as she gets used to all the new sights and smells. Depending on her previous living situation, it may take a while to win her trust, so be sure not to rush this important bonding period. All cats are different, so there is no exact timeline for her to acclimate completely to her new home but she’ll be at ease before you know it.
Adopting an adult cat is beneficial for you and her: she gains a loving forever home, and you gain a loving forever friend.
When The Adult Cat Suckles
Young kittens have a strong suckle instinct which can even last through adulthood. Older kittens and some adult cats usually suckle everything warm, soft and fuzzy as it reminds them of a mother cat. Kittens suckle when being separated from their mother cats because they need a friendly and secure touch. When older cats suckle mainly, it is normal, and at times, some cats get in the suckling mood, but it can be a sign of stress and compulsive behaviour. If a suckling cats behaviour makes you feel weird, maybe you sense something went wrong.
When cat suckles in adulthood, it can be a sign of behavioural disorder if we exclude genetics, stress or rare comfort moments reactions. Genetically, some breeds tend to suckle in adulthood like oriental cats what is seldom within European species. If a cat starts to nurse frequently, but the cat previously didn’t have this kind of behaviour, it can be a sign of disease. There is no particular disease connected with suckling, but it can be some dental problem, and the cat chooses to suckle rather than chew. Principally is a sign of behavioural disorder.
If the owner notices the cat suckles in a very comfortable mood with great pleasure and enjoyment, the advice is to take it as something normal and appropriate for their cat. Some cats enjoy it or have the unconscious behaviour of suckling as a breed.
Method 1 Of 2:using Physical Appearance
At What Age Do Cats Stop Growing
Tabby, Siamese or common Domestic Shorthair: 13-16 inches long, 11 inches tall, weighing 10-22 lbs. Growth stops at 12 19 months.
Ragdoll: 15-26 inches long, 9-11 inches tall, weighing 8-20 lbs. Growth stops at four years.
Savannahs: 20-25 inches long, 10-19 inches tall, 12-20 lbs in weight. Growth stops at two years.
Maine Coons: 48 inches long, 8-16 inches tall, 25 lbs in weight. Growth stops at four years.
Bengals: 13-16 inches long, 11-13 inches tall, 10-22 lbs in weight. Growth stops at two years.
Common Elderly Cat Health Problems
Although the list below is not exhaustive, the most common health issues that your cat will face, and therefore you and your vet should pay particular attention to are:
- Hypertension Increased anxiety and blood pressure.
- Chronic kidney disease While most common in elderly cats, kidney disease may start to appear when your cat is middle-aged . So, trying to get your cat to have more water intake in their diet is crucial from a young age.
- Hyperthyroidism Enlarged thyroid glands due to overproduction of hormones. Notice if your cats urine or eating habits has changed.
- Diabetes mellitus Increasingly common disease, most prevalent in obese male cats.
- Inflammatory bowel disease and associated diseases Is a lifelong disease that needs to be monitored and managed.
How To Introduce Kitten Food To An Adult Cat
If you decide that kitten food or could do your adult cat some good, introduce it gradually to them. Restrain from making abrupt changes, as they can cause gastrointestinal problems thanks to the sudden increase in calories.
The best way of going about this transition is by mixing equal parts of their standard food with kitten food. After doing that for about two weeks, you can now increase the portion size of kitten food while decreasing that of their normal food until their entire meal consists of pure kitten food.
How To Keep The Pounds Off
Vets say that cats weight gain usually comes down to the type and quantity of food theyre fed, along with plain old boredom.
When they’re bored, they think, I might as well go eat. … Oh, look theres no food in my bowl, Im going to bother mom for more food, Mustillo says.
And when they whine, many owners give in to keep their pets happy.
But it is possible to prevent or curb weight gain:
- Replace dry food with canned, which tends to have more protein and fewer carbohydrates. Canned food is also a good way to set distinct mealtimes for your pet. Many cats gain weight when owners leave out a bowl of dry kibble so they can eat all day long.
- Cut back on treats. Cats do just as well with other rewards, like playtime with you.
- Make your cat work for its food. Vets have found cats are healthier and calmer when their owners use food puzzles, which the cat must roll or manipulate to get treats out of. You can hide some in the compartments of a wine box or cut one or more small holes in a plastic bottle and fill it with kibbles. The puzzles slow down their eating while tapping into their natural instincts to hunt and forage.
- If you have more than one cat, you may need to feed the overweight one in a separate room or put the healthy-weight cats food up high where the fat cat cant go.
Be patient, Mustillo says. If your goal is losing a pound, it might take a good 6 months, maybe up to a year. Its very slow.
Elderly Cat Friendly Home
All the recommendations for a cat friendly home will work as well for the elderly with a little modification. There is rarely the need to make drastic changes to the home to accommodate your cat as it gets older but small adaptations to the existing cat resources can make a significant difference to the quality of life. If your cat is finding stairs difficult to negotiate, for example, then it may be spending prolonged periods on one level, either up or downstairs. Ensuring that all your cats needs are met on that one level will avoid any risk of being unable to access important resources.
In order to make activity and movement in general easier for your older cat, it is important that it feels comfortable walking. Laminate, tiled or wooden flooring can be slippery and old cats can become unstable on slippery surfaces making them less inclined to be active. Equally, carpet can catch on your cats claws that overgrow easily without regular stropping and remain protracted as the muscles weaken. Cut pile carpets are more comfortable for your cat than loop pile so if your flooring is the latter you can compromise by providing cut pile runners throughout the home to enable your cat to walk in comfort. This is also the ideal surface on which to play, particularly if your cat likes to lie down in the process.
Nutrition And Weight Management
Nutrition guideline will depend on each cats body condition score but the goal of a good diet for your senior cat is one that is palatable, provides complete and balanced nutrition, helps maintain ideal body weight, normal fecal character, and healthy skin and hair coat. In addition, consider these factors:
When Does A Cat’s Personality Develop
The cat is a solitary and territorial predator. They may at times share territories with other cats , but hierarchical tensions are frequent.
In cats there are different variables that influence their behavior, the most important being known as the “sensitive period of socialization.” It is a time that elapses from the second to the seventh week of the cat’s life. During this period of maturation of the central nervous system, the cat begins to develop mature senses that allow them to explore the environment. This makes them familiar with their surroundings. Such as, relating to other cats, other animals, places, smells, food or the presence of humans, among many others.
During this period the animal has multiple experiences and receives a lot of information from the environment that surrounds them – there is no fear response until the end of this period. Everything that “lives” during this short space of time, will mark the future behavior of the cat. In addition there are other factors that influence the behavior of a cat, which we will go into below. For example, using positive reinforcement is a way to guide your cat towards a desired behavior.
The Effects Of Ageing
With increasing age, there are many changes to a cats physiology, behaviour and vulnerability to particular illnesses. Physiological changes include reduced ability to smell and taste food, reduced ability to digest fat and protein, reduced hearing, immune function, skin elasticity and stress tolerance.
Your Kitten May Still Be Learning What They Like To Eat
Once they start transitioning to solid food, kittens should be exposed to different types and textures of food so they learn what they prefer. If your newly weaned kitten wont eat, it could be as simple as switching from a round kibble shape to oblong.
Offer wet food and dry food with different textures and shapes . You can also try to make the food more appetizing so that the transition is easier. A cats appetite is strongly driven by their sense of smell.
Make sure that any wet food that you feed your kitten is room temperature or slightly warmer; warming wet food up increases its aroma and appeal.
When Exactly Do Cats Reach Their Full Size
Most experts agree that cats reach adulthood at 12 months old, which means this is the age where their personalities have matured and solidified into how theyll throughout their adult lives. However, a cat doesnt grow with the same consistency. In fact, cats reach full size anywhere between 18 months to 4 years of age.
Kittens grow the fastest, starting the week that theyre born.
After kittens are born, they usually double their size in their first week. After their first week, kittens grow an ounce about every three days. Since they are usually born weighing about 3.5 ounces, their growth rate during their first year of life outpaces growth in any other stage in their life cycle. Sometime around the third or fourth week, kittens will begin to stand and toddle about. Around 16 weeks, kittens growth starts to slow as they pass their quickest development and most impressionable stage.
When Do Cats Stop Growing According To Breed Type
Although the growth of cats is similar for all domestic cat breeds, there are some variances when we compare them. This mainly has to do with the size of a particular cat breed as larger cats tend to take a little more time to develop into adult cats.
For example, so-called giant cat breeds such as the Maine Coon may take closer to 4 years before they reach their final size. British Shorthair cats are also relatively slow growing and taking up to 3 years before they reach their final adult dimensions.
On the other hand, smaller sized cat breeds may reach their full adult size earlier and medium to large cats a little later. This is why smaller cat breeds such as the Persian or Siamese cat usually reach full growth around the 1 year mark and cats like the European Shorthair may take closer to 2 years to reach full development.
Rapid Growth: 2 To 6 Months
The rapid growth stage begins once a kitten is weaned off its mother. At this stage, the kitten needs lots of nutrients to support its fast rate of growth. Kittens need twice as much energy as adult cats on a per pound basis
However, their mouths and stomachs are much smaller than that of an adult cat. This means that it is best for kittens to have several small meals a day rather than 1 or 2 large meals.
Kitten Care: Things To Do To Before You Get Your Kitten
Register with a vet Buy a cat carrier Buy a bed, food and water bowls , litter tray, toys, brushes / combs. Buy a break-safe collar and have an identity disc made with your cats address details on it Prepare your home: Secure any trailing wires Ensure all toxic plants, human foods, medicines, cleaning chemicals are out of the kittens reach Create a scratching post or an area that it is ok for the kitten to fulfil its natural instinct to scratch Set aside a private area for the kitten to feel safe using a litter tray Place food and water bowls in separate locations, cats dont naturally like to eat and drink from the same area Create an area where your kitten can have peace and quiet and feel safe, such as a cardboard on its side, to the cat this is a safe haven, like a cave to retreat to. Litter tray: In the wild, big cats are careful about keeping clean. Thats why they dont eat and go to the toilet in the same place. Kittens are no different, please keep the litter tray well away from the places where the cat eats and drinks.
What Can You Do To Make Sure Your Kitten Is Healthy
If you want to make sure that your feline friend has everything it needs to develop happily and healthily, there are plenty of resources out there that can help. For starters, you can speak with a vet at Hello Ralphie to answer any questions you may have about cat ownership and kitten development. Book an online vet appointment today, and a virtual vet will be happy to help you set your cat up for a healthy life!
In addition to a visit with a virtual veterinarian, the following online resources can also be incredibly beneficial, especially for new cat owners:
Feline Stages Of Life
First, lets talk about the average cat. Most reach 18 inches tall and weigh about 10 pounds when full size. Most domestic cats like Tabbies and Siamese will grow to adult size in one year. But theres a lot of growth and a few life stages before you get there!
Lets dive in!
Newborn to 6 months old: This is the most rapid growth stage. Your kitten will go from newborn , to feisty, curious kittens wreaking havoc in the house.
Kittens will gain rapid weight during this time. A kitten will gain 0.25 0.5 lbs per week in those early weeks until they have doubled their birth weight by weeks 10-12.
This is also the time that socialization is important. To keep your kitten from becoming aloof, lots of interaction and love are key. Feral kittens dont have any socialization with humans, and it explains why they prefer to avoid us.
In this stage, kittens are fluffy, with downy fur, round faces, big toe beans , and enormous eyes. They have sharp, tiny teeth, and small, delicate bones. Theyre also very active and playful. They lose their baby teeth around 10 weeks. By 6 months they have their adult teeth. Their facial features will become more prominent and sleek around 3-6 months.
This is your cats adolescent stage. They may be rebellious, rambunctious, and constantly on the go. Theyve grown into a lanky stage, and depending on the activity level, can look lean. Trust me, they will grow into their frame as they mature.
The Problem With Average Cat Weight
Resources listing an average weight or range may not take into consideration other factors that affect weight. Factors like breed, sex and spayed/neutered status could all have an impact.
For example, the weight range for a Siamese Cat is 8 to 15 pounds. Females typically weigh 8 to 12 pounds, however, while males can weigh 11 to 15. So, a 15-pound female Siamese would be overweight, whereas that size might be healthy for a male.
Those resources also dont account for mixed breed cats. If your cat is a mix of two or more breeds, you may struggle to pinpoint an average weight or range for her. What then?
Some Kittens May Reach Their Full Size In 12 Months
How quickly your kitten reaches his full size depends on how big he is going to get. The bigger his breed, the longer it will take him to be fully grown. Kittens typically stop growing by the age of 12 months.1 However, larger breeds like Maine Coons can take up to two years to reach their full size. Growth typically slows significantly after 12 months, with a fast growth spurt occurring in the first eight weeks.2
It’s worth noting that most cats will reach sexual maturity before they are fully grown. This is similar to a teenager going through puberty, which happens when a kitten is six to nine months of age.3 Around this time, you might consider spaying or neutering your cat. A male cat can father kittens before he’s fully grown, and a female cat can get pregnant before she’s fully grown as well.