A common misconception is that cats age seven years (in human years) for each calendar year. In fact, cats age much faster in the first two years of life. A cat reaches approximate human age of 15 years in its first year, then 24 years of age by 2 years. According to this, a cat ages around four cat years per calendar year each year. Thus, a cat who is 5 in feline years would be roughly 36 in human years.
Note: It should be remembered that a cat that lives outdoors ages much faster, perhaps even twice as quickly, as a domestic cat. Scroll to the bottom of this article to learn more about feline to human years for cats outdoors.
How do you calculate the age of a cat?
If you’ve taken in a stray cat or adopted a cat whose age is unknown, there are several ways you can tell its age in cat years. How to calculate the age of a cat:
- A cat’s teeth: Teeth are a good indicator of a cat’s age in feline years. Older cats tend to have more stains than younger cats, provided the previous owner negligently brushed the cat’s teeth. And a kitten’s teeth come first between two and four weeks; Your more permanent set appears around four months of age. So, if you open a cat’s mouth and find permanent white teeth, the cat is likely around a year old. Some yellowing can place the cat between 1 and 2, and tartar build-up on all teeth indicates the cat can be between 3 and 5. Missing teeth can mean you have an older cat on your hands.
- Muscle tone of a cat: Younger cats are more likely to have a certain muscle definition due to their higher activity level. Older cats are usually somewhat bonier and may have extra skin that hangs or protrudes from their shoulder blades.
- A cat coat: The condition of the cat’s coat is another good indicator of a kitten’s age in feline years. Kittens and younger cats usually have soft, fine coats, while older cats tend to have thicker, coarser coats. An older cat may have shades of gray or white spots.
- A cat’s eyes: Light, clear eyes with no tears or eye discharge are common in younger cats. A cat with some cloudiness in its eyes is likely 12 years old or so. When inspecting the lens, also examine the iris of the eye. Young cats have a smooth iris, while an old cat’s iris can appear a little jagged.
Life span of a cat
Cats are generally quite long-lived, although mileage will vary based on owner maintenance and genetic makeup. In a few documented cases, cats are older than 30 years. Typically, domestic cats can live to be 12 to 18 years old, with many surviving into their 20s.
Outdoor Cats Life Expectancy – How Long Do Cats Live Outside In Cat Years?
Cats outdoors can have a significantly shorter lifespan than indoor cats, which are often only two to five years old. Pet parents in urban and suburban areas are strongly encouraged to keep their cats indoors.
Tell us: How old is your cat in feline years? How old is your cat in human years?
Top photo: © GrapeImages | E + / Getty Images Plus.
This piece was originally released in 2017.