Veterinary Care for Cats: Life Stages

The recipient of a veterinarian degree from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Jennifer Woll now lives and works in the Chicago metro area, where she consults a local kennel known as DePAW University, Canine Campus, and runs her breeding business, Dr. Jennifer’s Ragdolls. At Dr. Jennifer’s Ragdolls, Dr. Jennifer Woll breeds the popular Ragdoll cats and sells them as far away as New York and New Jersey.

Cat owners of all breeds need to know and recognize that a cat or kitten’s health requirements will change over his or her lifetime. Generally, veterinarians break the lifespan of felines down into three main time periods. During kittenhood, which may last as much as a few years depending on the breed, the cat will need spaying and neutering; owners should also begin flea control during this stage and start vaccinations and intestinal parasite prevention.

In the adulthood years, the cat will need to maintain an active lifestyle and healthy eating patterns to prevent the early onset of late life-stage diseases. Owners will want to monitor changes in weight and modify vaccination schedules according to age and lifestyle. Veterinarians recommend about two physicals per year.

During the senior years, the cat will require at least two annual physicals and diligent daily lifestyle monitoring to help ensure longevity. For cats, the senior years begin around age 12.