Most cat owners notice that their once energetic and trouble-making kitten starts to calm down and behave differently. It is to be expected that as cats grow older, their behavior changes with the years.
With age, cats become less playful and prefer to sleep inside the house for longer periods. They also become more irritable and lethargic, if not clingy.
In this article, we are going to delve deeper into cat behavior and how age affects their attitude.
How Does Age Affect a Cat’s Behavior?
As kittens, aged 6 months and below, they are at the most curious and playful stage of their lives. They shift to aggressive play at year 2, and it’s also the age to teach them appropriate behavior.
Between ages 3 and 6, your cat reaches overall maturity. They aren’t as playful but they still have moments of cheekiness and usual feline behavior.
At ages 7 to 10 is when they display behavioral changes. They are more comfortable in the house, sleep more during the day, and exhibit less playful tendencies.
Senior cats aged 11 and above are more prone to catch diseases that also play a role in their behavioral changes such as apathy, house soiling, possible aggression, being more withdrawn or sociable, neediness, and lethargy. Veterinarians warn owners to watch out for upper respiratory infections, Feline Leukemia Virus, and “worms” that can result in intestinal parasites and heartworms.
Read: Say Goodbye to Cat Allergies: 5 Natural Remedies for Relief
At What Age Do Cats Misbehave the Most?
When your cat hits a year or two of age, you should expect more displays of behavioral problems like hissing, kneading, hunting, house soiling, and shredding furniture and items. They also like to challenge their owner from time to time by biting and being generally troublesome.
Between 6 and 12 months, they are displaying “teen-like” behavior where they often misbehave in a way that leaves you pulling on your hair. They play a lot at this age by unleashing their predatory stalking tendencies like hunting your foot or anything that dangles above the ground.
In years 1 to 2, they are step one into maturing but still show signs of misbehavior. At this age, it is also recommended to correct patterns of urinating and defecating outside of the litterbox and destroying anything they get a hold of.
Read: The Unique Personality of the Bengal Cat: Do They Only Attach To One Person?
At What Age Does a Cat’s Personality Change?
All kittens start out curious, playful, cute, and cuddly. Usually past 6 months and no more than 3 years, you notice your kitten’s personality beginning to show form.
Dr. Lauren Finka of the University of Lincoln has conducted a study involving more than 200 cats and concluded that there are five major personality types of cats. In the list below, maybe you’ll spot which one your cat is:
- Inquisitive. Infinitely curious about everything – people, cardboard boxes, purses, and anywhere they can stick their noses in.
- Cankerous. Gets easily annoyed and are sensitive to their environment. They’re distant and more independent and would prefer little to no changes in their home.
- Cats’ Cat. They have to be around other cats and are very social with felines over people.
- Human Cat. Like the cats’ cat personality, these cats enjoy human company and would always be by your side wherever you go.
- Hunter Cat. They are like their wild ancestors, often seen stalking their “prey” or cat toy, and they love to explore.
Keep in mind that cats differ individually so your cat may turn out to be a combination of the above or a pleasant surprise.
At What Age Do Cats Calm Down?
Cats being energetic and stalking you and all their loveable weirdness never fail to make you smile. At some point, it does get tiring especially if you’re not in the mood or are too sick to deal with them, but they do calm down.
Their most playful stage occurs between 1 to 2 years old. After entering adulthood at 2 years, they are less playful around 3 to 5 years or more although they’d still have bursts of energy.
Read: Comparing the Asian Leopard Cat and the Ocelot: Which Is Right for You?
Do Cats Get Clingy with Age?
When cats reach senior age typically over 10 years old, they tend to become more aloof and some become clingy and needy. You would want to be gentle with them and caring as they are close to living their full life.
A clingy cat follows you around, loves to brush its fur around your legs, is more vocal, and seemingly never leaves your side. While this may be adorable, older cats who start to be more dependent on you may have lost their sense of hearing or sight hence their clingy behavior.
A clingy cat showing symptoms such as disturbance in sleeping patterns, disorientation or reduced activity may point to Feline Cognitive Dysfunction or FCD which affects more than 55% of cats over 10 years old. Cats suffering from this forget simple habits such as where the litter box is.
Do Cats Get Angrier as They Get Older?
Owners describe that cats become more irritable with age. They become moody and prefer to be left alone. It may just be their personality or it can be an underlying health condition.
Cats with a fiery attitude at a young age mellow out through the years as they become more secure in their being and environment. An older cat that’s constantly grumpy and unapproachable when it used to be nicer is expressing frustration with changes.
Your cat has lived out its glory days, no longer able to run and jump as easily as it used to and it could be suffering from cognitive dysfunction or a health condition that is causing them discomfort. These changes will affect their behavior and they express it through withdrawing, lashing out, or becoming mean and angry.
Why Is My Older Cat Becoming Aggressive?
A loving cat becoming aggressive as they age is a symptom of a health condition or environmental changes causing stress to your cat. Your cat could be adjusting awfully to the changes that come with age, moving to a new home, the loss of another pet, a lack of nutritional need in its diet, or a health condition.
Older cats are more likely to suffer from dental disease, cognitive dysfunction, arthritis, and cat worms. The discomfort or pain brought on by a major health issue can cause aggression.
Read: The Fascinating Similarities and Differences Between Asian Leopard Cats and Bengal Cats
Do Cats Get More Affectionate with Age?
A variety of factors play into cats’ behavior whether they become more affectionate as they grow older. A healthy cat that has received proper care and attention will be more affectionate towards its owner as time passes, and they tend to follow you around and sleep close to you.
As your cat matures, it becomes more relaxed around you. When they start to decline cognitively, they come more anxious about their environment and are prone to be demanding and dependent on you.
When your cat turns out to be more aloof than affectionate, as long as they eat properly and are active when they should be, they are doing well being by themselves.
Read: The Connection Between a Cat’s Age and Slow Walking: Understanding Your Feline’s Behavior
Time changes all, even our beloved cats. A cat’s behavior changes as it ages. When they’re past the kitten stage, they become more adventurous and seek fun things inside and outside the house in their junior years (6 months to 2 years). At around 3 to 6 years, they mellow out but still display moments of playfulness.
When they reach 7 to 10 years, they start to decline cognitively and are more prone to diseases, so they sleep more and prefer to be by their owner’s side or withdraw to a place they deem safe. If your cat is lucky to live up to 14 years or even 20, your cat may start to forget where the litter box is and soil the house. They could be more needy or withdrawn. In the end, they’ll always need your care.