The average life expectancy of a cat is around fifteen years, but many lead active and happy lives into their twenties and a few even manage the early thirties. The oldest cat recorded was thirty-four years five months old when she died.
So what can you expect from your kitten as he grows up? As a baby (under four weeks of age) everything has to be done for him; as a toddler (at five to eight weeks) he has to be carefully supervised; as a child of two to nine months, he is active, playful and adventurous. All these stages are expected, but the teenage phase can take many owners by surprise.
Just like human teenagers, many cats seem to have a super abundance of energy. If they have a feline friend they can use up some of it in play, but if they do not, they may start playing boisterously with their owners, jumping out and ambushing them and giving them painful nips. They should be kept fully occupied or they can get into mischief. Regular play sessions, where the play is of the owner's choosing, will help ward off boredom, and plenty of company is important, as is understanding if the cat becomes hyperactive.
Plenty of high quality, varied food should be given, as cats at this age will eat a lot, and probably a quarter as much again as an adult cat. One word of warning: if you are feeding a prepared cat food, hyperactivity can be caused by the food you are giving, as some cats react to certain brands by becoming 'hyper', their behavior returns to normal when their food is changed; this is another good reason for feeding a wide variety of food and not just one brand of canned food.
However boisterous and time-consuming your teenage cat turns out to be, remember it is just a phase, and one you will probably miss once it is past. Your cat's middle years, however, are often the best. If he was a contented kitten, he is now truly a contented cat, he has a good relationship with his owner, he is well adjusted to family life, he returns affection with affection, and is at the peak of his physical powers. For the owner, he is less demanding, and he should be enjoying excellent physical health. Remember to keep up the yearly booster injections for enteritis and cat flu, and the complete health check at the same time.
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