You may be wondering “how old is my cat?”. It is a common misconception that one cat year equates to seven human (calendar) years. This is not true as cats age more rapidly than this during the first two years of their lives. When your cat reaches one year of age, this is the equivalent of fifteen human years, and at 2 years old, the equivalent is 24 human years. From then on, your cat ages at the rate of 4 human years for every cat year ( 8 human years if the cat lives outdoors). See the below table for a quick reference guide followed by what your vet may look for to determine your cat’s age.
How Old Is My Cat In Human Years?
|Life Stage||Age of Cat||Human Equivalent|
|Kitten (up to 6 months)||0-1 month||0-1 year|
|2 months||2 years|
|3 months||4 years|
|4 months||6 years|
|5 months||8 years|
|6 months||10 years|
|Junior (7 months – 2 years)||7 months||12 years|
|12 months||15 years|
|18 months||21 years|
|2 years||24 years|
|Adult (3-6 years)||3 years||28 years|
|4 years||32 years|
|5 years||36 years|
|6 years||40 years|
|Mature (7-10 years)||7 years||44 years|
|8 years||48 years|
|9 years||52 years|
|10 years||56 years|
|Senior (10-15 years)||11 years||60 years|
|12 years||64 years|
|13 years||68 years|
|14 years||72 years|
|Super Senior (15+ years)||15 years||76 years|
|16 years||80 years|
|17 years||84 years|
|18 years||88 years|
|19 years||92 years|
|20 years||96 years|
|21 years||100 years|
|22 years||104 years|
|23 years||108 years|
|24 years||112 years|
|25 years||116 years|
Your vet is the best person to be able to determine your cat’s age. They will be able to look for various signs to give a rough idea. It is always helpful to know the approximate age of your cat so that you can offer better age-appropriate care. Things they may look out for include:
Baby (deciduous) teeth appear at 2 – 4 weeks and finish growing when the cat is approximately 8 weeks old.
At 3-4 months, the permanent adult teeth begin to emerge and displace the baby teeth (teething). By 6 to7 months of age, all the shiny white adult teeth will be in place.
Cat’s teeth may start to dull and some staining may be visible at around 2 years old, with a little tartar beginning to build up around the gum line from around 3 years old.
Using the build-up of tartar as a determining factor for a cat’s age is not a foolproof indicator in cats over a year old, as just like humans, some cats naturally have better teeth than others and previous owners may have had a good dental routine in place.
As with humans, gravity takes its toll and cats are no exception. You may notice a ‘primordial pouch’ hanging from under your cat’s belly which swings from side to side as he/she runs towards you. As a kid, I always thought this was where cats stored their biscuits. 😹
Young cats and kittens will usually have soft, fine coats, increasing to thicker/coarser fur as the cat ages. The coat may also change colour and/or develop white or grey individual hairs upon ageing.
How well they groom themselves can change with age. Older cats are more likely to experience dental issues (causing pain), weight gain (making it harder for the cat to reach around to lick itself), and arthritis. All of which can impact how well a cat grooms itself.
Healthy kittens and young cats should have bright, clear eyes. From the age of 6-7 years old, the lenses of the eyes get denser which isn’t really noticeable until the cat reaches at least 10 years old. Changes to the iris in senior cats can occur such as iris atrophy, where the inside of the iris breaks down so the pupils don’t get as small as they once would. The inner iris can also appear wavy and have jagged edges as the cat ages. This however does not cause any pain to the cat.