Understanding cat characteristics is an important part of cat ownership and can help first time cat owners understand what to expect when bringing a feline into their life. There are four core stages starting with kitten hood, then adolescence, adulthood, and senior years. With each stage, comes different characteristics and behavior traits. Thanks to our friends at Trupanion, we’ve gathered together some great information for you here. 

cat characteristics throughout life


Kittens are cute, but they are also known for a never ending curiosity and the ability to get into just about everything, including trouble. Kitten-proofing your home can be a good start, but it’s hard to truly make a household entirely kitten safe. Most common ailments in kittens are vomiting and diarrhea as well as ingestion of things they shouldn’t (foreign bodies). Trupanion cites an average of $700 annually for the former and as much as $1,200 annually for the latter to be treated at the vet. Ouch! It’s always a good idea to keep kitty in places where they can’t get into trouble and keep small items off the floor and safely out of reach.

Adolescence in Cats

After the kitten hood stage of 0 – 1 years, cats 2- 4 are considered “teenagers.” This is also the age that cats can be prone to urinary tract infections, also referred to as UTIs. And again, upset stomachs causing vomiting and diarrhea can still occur. UTI issues can cost around $600 annually, but if an obstruction is present, the cost can climb to near $3,000! That’s quite a lot, so making sure your cat is covered, and getting them on a healthy diet at an early age can help prevent the instance of UTIs as they hit this stage in life.


Once a cat hits the age of 5, through their 10 year old year, they are consider adults (even if they don’t always act like one). Cats tend to be calmer at this age, but they also can be prone to putting on unhealthy weight that can bring with it a slew of other problems such as diabetes, kidney issues, and the recurrent UTI. All of these diseases are not only related to weight, however, so even if your cat is a healthy weight, if they show any unusual behavior or signs of any of these diseases, even if you are not sure, it’s always a good idea to take them to a vet. 

Senior Years

In the ages of 11 years old and up, a cat’s chance of kidney issues increases by 4, with annual costs over $1,000. Hyperthyroidism and lymphoma also are more common in a cat’s golden years, and even more common ailments such as arthritis can set in. With the help of your vet, there are a lot of options from diet to supplements and medicines as well as regular checkups that can help keep your cat comfortable as they age. 

Understand Cat Characteristics Overall

With Trupanion, there are also options for pet insurance that can help make veterinary care throughout the life of your pet more affordable than you may have realized. You can learn more about their offerings, as well as read their full article on cat characteristics on their website at http://trupanion.com/vun/cat-characteristics

Many cat owners think cats are very self-sufficient and therefore don’t need annual checkups, however that’s not entirely true. Often, cats are more stoic and will suffer in silence until their condition is much more progressed than you realize. Annual – and in the case of adult and senior cats, especially those with a history of any health issues – semi-annual veterinary checkups are a great way to ensure your cat is on track for a long and healthy life!