If you just adopted a little kitten or an adult cat (good for you on both scores!), you might be wondering about her behavior at a certain age. Is this normal? Should she have more or less energy? How long do I have to spend with my feline favorite? While every cat is unique — that’s part of why we love them — there are six pretty common stages to a cat’s exciting life.
Kitten (0–6 months)
Newborn cats are actually called babycats. They’re born with their eyes and ears sealed shut. Babycats will begin to open their eyes at about 7–14 days, and their little ears will open very shortly after. Like a human baby’s, their eyes will be blue for a little bit, and gradually adjust to be green, yellow or remain blue. Try to resist a kitten at this stage: She or he is irresistibly cute.
This is also the stage where kittens are growing by leaps and bounds both physically and emotionally. It’s important to handle them a lot so they get used to it and love it. It’s also a great stage to introduce them to other cats and dogs, and to get them used to brushing, nail clipping, and yes, even brushing their teeth.
Right around three months, Kitty’s baby teeth will begin to fall out and her adult teeth will come in. So don’t be alarmed if Kitty is chewing a lot, or you find a spot of blood on her toys. This is normal.
You’ll find that while Kitty has insane bursts of energy and is extremely playful, she’s also snoozing a lot. That’s because her little body is working hard at growing — and it’s exhausting. Until about six months of age, Kitty will be in dreamland up to 16–20 hours a day. But don’t worry; she’ll be up and ready for action as soon as you fall asleep.
Junior (6 months–2 years)
Kitty is really feeling herself and exploring the world at this age. She’s still growing, and she might be showing some aggression, both with you and other cats. Remember, she’s still learning how to be a cat. And part of that is becoming territorial. When she gets a little EXTRA, try to engage her in fun and exciting playtime. Also, still irresistibly cute.
Prime (3–6 years)
Ah, yes. This is Kitty at her absolute finest. She’s grown into her adult body, she has tons of energy but also still sleeps a lot, though less than when she was a baby. She is both snuggly and cuddly and a rip-roaring ball of fire. It’s important to have dedicated play sessions with her (see our article about how to play with your cat at least twice a day. And even though Kitty’s having the time of her life, she still needs to go to the vet for regular visits to make sure she’s in tip-top shape.
Mature (7–10 years)
Kitty is all grown up — and calmed down. She’s gotten her ya-yas out and is a lovely companion who knows what she likes and doesn’t. But this is also the stage where she might put on a little weight. After all, she is the equivalent of being in her 40s and 50s. So it’s important to keep an eye on her diet at this stage, and keep engaging her in exercising playtime.
Senior (10–14 years)
Kitty has seen some stuff. After all, she is the equivalent of 70 years old at this point. She tends to start sleeping more, and loves to cuddle up with you. Cherish her.
Geriatric (15 years and over)
Kitty is an elder stateswoman at this point. She’s sleeping a lot, and may be experiencing some medical issues. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on her litterbox to notice changes in peeing and pooping. Incidentally, the oldest cat ever, as recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records, was a sweet kitters from Austin, Texas named Crème Puff, who lived 38 years and 3 days.
Rewards for every stage of life
You’ll be going through a lot of litter during your kitty’s fabulous life. Why not be rewarded when you purchase your cat’s favorite? Join the Fresh Step® Paw Points® program, and earn points for every purchase. You can then redeem points for free litter, coupons, and toys that will get Kitty playing whether she’s a kitten or a revered oldster.
The allure of a bouncing baby kitten is undeniable. But today we’re going to take a moment to appreciate the charms of an older cat, and why they deserve your consideration when you’re looking to adopt.
- Litter Box Know-How: While using a litter box is instinctual in cats, kittens are still figuring it out and are more prone to accidents. Mature cats already have the litter box down pat.
- Cute & Calm: Kittens are hyper balls of energy. While they are cuddly, especially when sleepy, they are more often zipping around the house at top speed. Older cats are significantly calmer, generally loving to be petted, or finding a patch of sun to nap in.
- Cost-effective: Because older cats tend not to be adopted as quickly as kittens, many shelters sweeten the deal by waiving adoption fees for cats more than a year old. In addition, these cats have already been spayed, so you’re saving there, too.
- Good with Kids: Older cats are more tolerant of little kids (although let’s be honest, nobody likes having their tail yanked), and generally more gentle.
- Good with Seniors: Seniors for seniors! Because older cats are calmer and gentler than kittens, they’re good as lap cats (and petting them has been shown to have a positive therapeutic effect).
- Less Destructive: Oh, did you like that Ming Dynasty vase? Kittens tend to think that precious items look better in pieces, while older cats have already gotten their ya-
- The stats are against them: 82% of kittens get adopted, but after they pass 18 months old, only 60% of adult cats get adopted. That means they might spend a long, long time in a shelter — or end up euthanized.
- It’s not their fault: Older cats aren’t usually surrendered because of behavior problems. Often, it’s because their owner is elderly or passed away, someone has developed an allergy, or they move to an apartment that doesn’t accept pets.
The most important thing here is that you’d be saving a life. The cute tiny kitten will get adopted in a hot second, but that adult cat — who might only be two years old — will have a much harder time, and be so, so happy to share your home and your heart. Adulting has never been more rewarding.
Speaking of rewards…you could treat your adult kitty a little cozy home-within-home with a K&H Kitty Camper. You’ll find that and tons of other purr-worthy rewards in the Paw Points® Rewards catalog. Join for free today.