We are told that veterinarians divide a domestic cat’s lifespan into six life stages. They do this to be able to provide better health care. I’ll guess and presume that at certain life stages it is sensible for a vet to carry out certain age specific screenings. Also the life stage of the patient will help with diagnosis.
The chart shows the cat’s life stages and below are the sort of age related health issues associated with each age bracket. This is not comprehensive. You’ll need to see a vet for more.
Kitten – birth defects, behavioural issues (training), microchipping, spaying and neutering. This is the time to set behaviour on the right path such as getting your cat used to having his teeth brushed and to not bite your ankles. Nutrition is particularly important. Scratching needs to be managed. Managing play effectively. Socialisation is vital.
Junior – infectious diseases, injuries and health issues arising out of hunting and fighting, development of certain life-threatening conditions, vaccination boosters, weight issues.
Prime – intestinal diseases, heart disease, obesity, oral health, behaviour issues, parasite control.
Mature – diabetes, blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, cancer, check ups, poor coat, diarrhoea, vomiting.
Senior – arthritis, dementia.
Geriatric – I’d keep an eye out for the development for conditions such as kidney disease. Danger signs of ill health for a geriatric cat: loss of appetite and weight, coughing, laboured breathing, weakness, increased thirst, increased urination, constipation, diarrhoea, bloody discharge from body opening, increase in temperature, lump, unexplained behaviour, skin problems such as maggots. Outdoor cats can get maggots in knots in the fur. Poor coat quality reflects a chronic illness. Poor grooming habits due to arthritis or obesity or depression. Owner needs to assist. Gradual loss of senses such as hearing which can be difficult to detect. Gum disease is a major issue. Dementia – cognitive dysfunction syndrome. House soiling due to urinary tract disease. Hyperthyroidism. Decisions about euthanasia.
Geriatric health problems can’t be cured but controlled. Sounds like humans.