"Middle-aged" may seem like a funny term to describe your wee pet cat, but just like people and all other creatures, fluffy felines experience a natural aging process. The description essentially means your kitty isn't quite a baby anymore, but isn't at all close to being elderly, either.
Middle-Aged in Cats
Cats have much briefer life expectancies than people do, and as a result become "middle-aged" quickly by comparison. If your cat is in the range of 6 to 12 years old, then he's considered to be middle-aged, according to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. At this point, you may observe slight changes in your cat. He may be a little less active and energetic than he was during his sprightly early years, for example.
Once a cat gets to about 12 or 14 years old, then he's no longer considered middle-aged, but instead is a "senior" kitty, indicates the ASPCA. At this time, some cats develop health issues that are common to older felines, including cognitive problems, diabetes, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, arthritis and others. Because of elderly cats' susceptibility to more medical ailments, cat owners often increase their beloved senior kitties' regular veterinarian appointments. Some owners also make adjustments to their pets' diets, focusing primarily on commercial foods that cater to senior cats -- and senior cats solely. Older cats don't have the same dietary needs as young and middle-aged cuties. Firstly, they need additional protein. Secondly, they don't need as much fat.
Health Issues for Middle-Aged Cats
Although senior cats are indeed prone to various health conditions, middle-aged cats have their share of vulnerabilities, too. One illness that is especially prevalent in middle-aged felines is known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, according to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University. Not only does this heart muscle issue frequently affect middle-aged cats, it also is especially widespread in males.
Middle-Aged Death Due to Obesity
Obesity affects cats of all age groups, but can be especially problematic and dangerous to those that are at least of middle age. Obese felines have much stronger chances of passing away young than their leaner counterparts do. The chances of middle-aged obese cats dying is actually two times stronger than those of trim and healthy middle-aged cats.
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: How Often Should You Feed Your Cat?
- Blue Cross for Pets: Caring for the Older Cat
- The Anti-Cruelty Society: Cat to Cat
- Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine: Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
- ASPCA: Aging
- ASPCA: Feeding Older Cats