Conventional wisdom isn’t always wise. A popular misconception is that cats age seven years (in human years) for each calendar year. This misconception doesn’t take into account the fact cats mature much faster than children do in their initial years. So what is your cat’s age?
A cat reaches the approximate human age of 15 during its first year, then 24 at age 2. Each year thereafter, it ages approximately four “cat years” for every calendar year. Thus, a 5-year-old cat would be approximately 36 in cat years.
It’s important to understand that whether or not a cat is living primarily indoors or outdoors has a significant impact on a cat’s lifespan. Cats who live outdoors age far more quickly, perhaps even twice as fast, than indoor cats.
In older cats, signs of aging may show up in a variety of ways.
These can include:
- A cloudy appearance in the eyes
- An iris that appears somewhat jagged
- Bonier frame with extra hanging skin
- Protruding shoulder blades
- Possible stiffness of the joints
- Stained or missing teeth
- Thicker, coarse fur coat
- White or grey patches in fur
If you’ve adopted a kitten from the shelter whose history is unknown or if you’ve found an orphaned kitten without its mother, you can still estimate a kitten’s age based on its teeth.
- Kittens age 0-2 weeks have no teeth.
- At three weeks of age, a kitten’s first teeth will begin to emerge. The tiny teeth at the front of the mouth, called the incisors, will start to come through the gums.
- At four weeks of age, the long tooth next to the incisors, called the canine teeth, will start to come through the gums.
- At six weeks of age, a kitten’s teeth will reach their final stage of early development. The molars will start to emerge, and depending on the kitten’s health and condition, she will be perfecting her weaning onto wet food.
Kittens develop and lose a set of “baby” teeth just like humans do. Cats begin losing their baby teeth at around 12 weeks or 3 months. Although the timing varies between animals as much as it does among humans, the average kitten will have lost all her baby teeth by between 6 and 9 months old.The degree of tooth growth helps determine how old a kitten is. The degree of wear and tartar buildup helps estimate the age of an adult cat.
It’s a good idea to keep track of your cat’s age.
Some cat breeds are susceptible to age related genetic diseases such as hip-dysplasia or arthritis. If you’re unsure about your pet’s age, your vet can make an estimate based on a complete physical exam.
2 months = 3 human years
4 months = 6 human years
6 months = 9 human years
8 months = 11 human years
10 months = 13 human years
1 year = 15 human years
1.5 years = 20 human years
2 years = 24 human years
At 2 years of age whether a cat lives primarily indoors or outdoors begins to determine its age in human years.
An indoor cat will age approximately 4 “human years” for every calendar year. An outdoor cat will age at twice that rate: 8 “human years” for every “cat year.”
3 Years = 28 human years for indoor cats; 32 for outdoor cats
4 Years = 32 human years for indoor cats; 40 for outdoor cats
5 Years = 36 human years for indoor cats; 48 for outdoor cats
6 Years = 40 human years for indoor cats; 56 for outdoor cats
7 Years = 44 human years for indoor cats; 64 for outdoor cats
8 Years = 48 human years for indoor cats; 72 for outdoor cats
9 Years = 252 human years for indoor cats; 80 for outdoor cats
10 Years = 56 human years for indoor cats; 88 for outdoor cats
11 Years = 60 human years for indoor cats; 96 for outdoor cats
12 Years = 64 human years for indoor cats; 104 for outdoor cats
13 Years = 68 human years for indoor cats; 112 for outdoor cats
14 Years = 72 human years for indoor cats; 120 for outdoor cats
Many people are quick to adopt kittens, often overlooking cats over the age of two. People who pass over a senior pet are missing out on some of the kindest, sweetest cats. Unlike kittens, a senior cat’s personality is already established so what you see is what you get. Plus, most senior pets are already litter trained. If you would like to bring home an oldie-but-goodie senior cat, come visit us at the shelter at 2400 S Gloster St, Tupelo. Our kitties will be happy to see you.