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The Phases of a Cat's Life

It's up for debate whether cats really do have nine lives, but one thing is for certain, their lives have four specific phases. Here's what you need to know as your cat goes through life.

Kitten: birth to 7 months

This is when kittens are most playful and curious as they begin navigating the world around them. Litter training can start as early as three weeks, and socialization training can start at eight weeks. Check with your vet about a vaccination schedule, which typically begins when kittens are 6 weeks old, as well as the best moment for spaying or neutering.

Junior: 8 months to 2 years

Juniors are as frisky as kittens but have grown a little more cautious. This is the time when behavioral issues may emerge as the result of trauma, stress or poor training. Any weight gain during this phase could be the result of neutering, as studies have shown that neutering slows down a cat's metabolism. They will continue to develop until the age of two.

Adult: 3 years to 9 years

As these cool cats get older, their weight and size have stabilized. But they may not be as thrilled to chase balls as their younger, energetic selves, and snoozing in a sunbeam for 10 hours a day seems like a much better option. So it's important to give them regular exercise and the right foods, such as Nutrish Ocean Fish-A-Licious or Indoor Complete Chicken with Lentils & Salmon Recipe for optimal cat health. This is the age when health concerns start to arise, like dental issues and diabetes, so make sure your cat gets regular vet checkups.

Senior Cat: 10 years to 14+ years

Your bonds with these seniors are stronger than ever. Unfortunately, as they age they're more prone to be sedentary, causing weight gain along with other issues, like hearing loss, digestive problems, arthritis and even cancer. Keep a sharp eye on senior cats and be sure to consult with your vet about any subtle changes, as well as treatment for chronic conditions.

Providing a nutritious diet, exercise and regular visits to the vet will help ensure that your house cat leads a long and healthy life.