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What to Know About Your 5-Year-Old Cat: Facts & Expert Tips

Written by: Codee Chessher

Last Updated on January 19, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

young woman owner with white cat

What to Know About Your 5-Year-Old Cat: Facts & Expert Tips

By the time your cat is 5 years old, they’ve gone through all their major life stages and have settled into a relatively humdrum, stable, day-to-day routine. Your cat knows how family life works and has carved out a little niche for themselves in the pecking order. They’re most likely trained and, in reverse, trained you and your family in all the best ways to care for them.

There are so many different facets to feline owner life that it can be dizzying to keep up with them all individually, so we’ve decided to just list them all for your convenience. Scroll down for everything you should know about your 5-year-old cat by now.

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Things to Know About Your 5-Year-Old Cat

Diet & Weight

Younger cats need more protein, fat, and carbs to fuel their growing bodies, but adult cats don’t need as much food to maintain their weight, hence the term “maintenance diet.” Adult cats who have filled out their furry frame can start gaining weight once they pass 3 years if their portions aren’t reduced. Most adult cats are perfectly happy with 2 cups of high-quality kibble per day, but wet food is always recommended to add additional moisture and other beneficial goodies.

By definition, a maintenance diet maintains a healthy weight and vigor, but you need strict portion control too. By now, you should know to not freely feed your cat or let them graze with unlimited access to food at all times, which is a big contributor to cat obesity and other health conditions that come with it. If your cat struggles with overeating at 5 years old, we suggest reducing their total food intake throughout the day with more frequent, smaller meals. Try three slightly smaller meals per day to start, and adjust up or down from there.

norwegian forest cat eating cat food from a bowl
Image Credit: Astrid Gast, Shutterstock


You and your cat should be familiar with your annual wellness exam by the fifth year, and generally speaking, your kitty is in the prime of their little life. However, depending on genetic predispositions and environmental factors, this is also the time that serious health conditions may arise. From year five onward, your cat may need extra blood or genetic screening yearly to weed out or prepare for future health crises.

At home, you can help your cat stay in healthy shape by simply observing their behavior and taking a close look at a few common problem areas—specifically, their face, ears, nose, and nails. Let’s briefly cover how to identify healthy and unhealthy signs in each of these body parts in a 5-year-old cat.

Healthy & Unhealthy Signs to Watch For:
  • Face: Your cat shouldn’t have any scratches, fur loss, or noticeable discharge coming from any part of their face.
  • Ears: Clean your cat’s ears with a warm, damp cloth once every couple of weeks, and watch for bites, redness, fur loss, or excessive ear scratching.
  • Nose: A cat’s nose shouldn’t be too wet or dry, and especially shouldn’t be producing any discharge or redness. Have your cat checked by a vet if you notice mucus discharge, excessive sneezing, or pawing at the face.
  • Nails: Your cat’s nails shouldn’t be too long and sharp or too short and nubby. A monthly trim should keep them in good shape, but you should also provide them with several scratching posts throughout the house.
trimming nails of cat
Image Credit: Yimmyphotography, Shutterstock


The most common behavioral change in mature cats is suddenly seeming like they’ve forgotten how to use their litter box and are urinating and defecating in weird places. This is especially common in intact males, who may spray as part of their territorial instincts. Male cats stand when they mark, while they squat to actually urinate. We strongly recommend you get your cat neutered if they start marking around your home.

Five-year-old cats can display a huge range of personality traits, just like dogs or people. Both bursts of playfulness and stints of somnolence are common and not anything to worry about on their own. What you want to watch out for is sudden, unexpected displays of aggression, which may be a sign of illness or being wounded.

Sleep & Exercise

An adult cat sleeps between 12 to 20 hours per day, with some cats being more active or lazier than others. According to the Sleep Foundation, 40% of cats spend 18 or more hours sleeping every day. They do, in fact, sleep in short cat naps around 70–80 minutes long, referred to as a polyphasic sleep pattern because their sleep is broken up throughout the day. Naps from less than an hour to almost 2 hours long are normal and no cause for concern.

Your average adult cat doesn’t need much exercise—15 to 30 minutes will be plenty. That doesn’t mean you get to skimp out on quality playtime, though! Your cat loves playing with you with enriching toys and puzzle feeders, and cat towers are always a good idea to provide a beneficial scratching outlet.

cat playing with owner
Image Credit; Dora Zett, Shutterstock


Your cat’s fur should be soft, sleek, and healthy to the touch. If your cat’s fur is thinning, dull, or has red patches on their skin, take them to a vet ASAP. Keeping them on a balanced diet is the best way to make sure they get everything they need, barring certain health issues. Your cat is likely just as fastidious as ever about their self-grooming, and most cats have perfected a grooming routine by their fifth year of life.

The most you’ll need to do is run a pet brush through their fur once a week to remove dead fur, untangle mats, and identify any problem areas in the fur or skin. While you’re at it, you can check your cat’s ears and nails to make sure they’re in healthy, presentable shape too.

Oral Hygiene

We recommend brushing your cat’s teeth three times a week, or daily if possible, but that depends on whether your cat is cool with it or not. Teeth brushing helps prevent gum disease and gingivitis, which are woefully common and detrimental for older cats. Your vet should also be checking your cat’s teeth at their wellness exams to ensure they’re clean and healthy.

Many cats hate having their teeth brushed, which makes things tricky. The best you can do in those situations to keep their teeth clean is to buy them dental treats or toys. These dental toys promote healthy blood circulation in the gums and help scrape off plaque from the teeth but aren’t a substitute for having their teeth brushed. Again, the best way to stay on top of your cat’s dental health is to brush their teeth.

cat brushing teeth
Image Credit: cynoclub, Shutterstock

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Wrapping Up

Your 5-year-old cat is a part of the family, and it’s always a good idea to brush up on the most important things to know about their health. The good news is that most cats are in their prime at this age, but you should still pay attention to warning signs and stay on top of daily routines like teeth brushing.

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Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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