In recent years, feline ages and life-stages have been redefined, cats are considered to be elderly once they reach 11 years with senior cats defined as those aged between 11-14 years and super-senior cats 15 years and upwards.
According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) Senior Care Guidelines, older cats are classified as mature or middle-aged at 7 to 10 years old, as senior cats at 11 to 14 years old, and geriatric from 15 to 25 years old.
Some cats begin showing age-related physical signs as early as age seven, while others are still friskier than kittens at ten. A general rule of thumb is that a cat is classified as “senior” if she’s over 11 years of age.
Signs of Aging in Cats
Indoor cats live on average 10-15 years, while outdoor cats live on average 2-5 years This handout is intended to help you sort out the pros and cons associated with each lifestyle so you can rest assured your cat will have both an enriched life and protection from environmental hazards.
The aging process is accompanied by many physical and behavioral changes: Compared to younger cats, the immune system of older cats is less able to fend off foreign invaders. Similar symptoms may be seen in elderly cats: wandering, excessive meowing, apparent disorientation, and avoidance of social interaction.
Older cats tend to be less active and playful, they may sleep more, gain or lose weight, and have trouble reaching their favorite places. Don’t chalk up health or behavior changes – often gradual – to old age, however. Schedule regular veterinary exams to enhance your older cat’s well-being.
The oldest cat in history was a feline called Creme Puff who was born on 3 August 1967 and lived until 6 August 2005 – an amazing 38 years and 3 days. Creme Puff lived with her owner, Jake Perry, in Austin, Texas, USA.
Between the ages of 7 and 9, your cat is much like a middle-aged person. He might start to show his age in subtle ways, such as becoming a bit mellower, or you may not notice a change at all. Cognitively, he’s as sharp as ever, and physically, he is likely enjoying good health thanks to your great care.
On average, cats sleep between 12 and 16 hours each day. As cats get older, they tend to sleep more (1) to conserve energy. Some older cats can sleep for 18 hours or more per day. If you’re worried that your cat might be sleeping too much, keep in mind that they require more sleep than humans do.
Because cats rely primarily on body language to communicate to one another, they must be attuned to biological and behavioral changes in the other animals around them. This includes detecting weakness or changes in body temperature and odor. They are also intuitive in that they often know when they are about to die.
Your cat may become more clingy as he ages, wanting to be with you every moment of the day or night. This is a great way to give your cat the attention he seeks and the activity will help to keep his aging body healthy. While some older cats become more aloof and less interactive, others become more needy.
Kidney disease and thyroid disease are the most common causes of this issue. High blood pressure can lead to changes in the brain that might cause the vocalization behavior you’re observing. Your veterinarian can take a blood pressure reading to rule this out.
And, it’s not just by a little bit. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, desexed female cats in the US tend to live 39% longer than intact cats, while desexed male cats live 62% longer on average than non-neutered ones.
Cat Life Expectancy: 12 Tips to Help Your Pet Live a Long Life!
But is denying cats ‘the outside’ also cruel? The bottom line is most cats can be totally happy living indoors – but owners need to put in the effort to provide for their environmental and behavioural needs. Welfare problems can also arise if indoor cats cannot satiate specific natural desires and behaviours.