If your cat was a human, how old would he or she be? Cats don’t age the same way humans do.
That’s why you need to convert your cat’s age from human years to cat years.
Busting Cat Age Myths
A popular misconception is that 1 year of a cat’s life is equivalent to 7 years of a human’s life.
This is actually unlikely considering a 1 old year cat is more mature and developed than a 7 year old human.
A 1 year old cat is considered a full-grown adult.
Cats mature and develop more rapidly than humans. A lot happens in the first year of a cat’s life!
At one year old, cats have reached sexual maturity and are able to reproduce.
They also develop mannerisms and social behavior that will be with them for the rest of their adult lives.
The Real Way To Calculate Cat Age
There’s no real science to calculating a cat’s age.
However, it’s widely accepted that the first 2 years of a cat’s life is equivalent to 25 human years and every year after that is an additional 4 years.
This means that a 1 year old cat is approximately 14.5-15 years old.
For example, if your cat is 7 years old, it is 45 years old in cat years.
Why Outdoor Cats Age Faster
Outdoor cats age must faster than indoor cats – arguably twice as fast!
In fact, an analysis published by UC Davis Veterinary Medicine found that outdoor cats live as little as 2-5 years.
Outdoor cats age faster because of these factors:
- Contracting diseases
- Getting hit by cars
- Being attacked by wild animals
- Getting in fights with other animals
- Getting lost, stolen, or picked up by animal control
Even if your cat is indoor/outdoor, they still face the same risks.
Indoor cats avoid all of these obstacles by staying safe in their owner’s home.
The lesson here is that if you have the choice, keep your cat indoors.
They will enjoy a longer, healthier life in a safe environment.
How To Tell How Old A Cat Is
Just like humans, cats show signs of aging. Some of these signs are easier to detect than others.
The most qualified individuals to determine your cat’s age are veterinarians.
Be sure to check with your vet for the best estimate of your cat’s true age.
Below, some common methods to determine how old your cat is.
How Teeth Show a Cat’s Age
The condition of a cat’s teeth can say a lot about them.
Older cats tend to have more plaque buildup and stains than younger cats.
A kitten’s teeth start to surface around 1 – 4 weeks of age. More permanent teeth start coming in after they are 4 months old.
A cat with a set of permanent, white teeth is probably around 1 year old.
Slightly stained teeth indicate the cat is between 1-2 years old.
Mild to moderate plaque and tartar buildup on a cat’s teeth indicate the cat could be between 3-5 years old.
Just like humans, cats start to lose teeth when they get old. Missing teeth are an indication of an older cat.
Cats can’t brush their teeth like humans do, so they rely on us to help them maintain their dental hygiene.
Unfortunately, most cat owners do not brush their cat’s teeth.
However, brushing your cat’s teeth makes a significant impact on how long they live – it can add years to their life.
How Muscle Tone Shows a Cat’s Age
Younger cats have more energy than older cats. This is why kittens and young cats are more active.
A younger cat will be more muscular and “fit” than an older cat.
Older cats might have loose or excess skin.
This is especially noticeable when they walk around their belly area.
Older cats also have protruding shoulders and look bonier.
How a Cat’s Fur Quality Shows Age
Kittens have a fuzzy coat that becomes softer as they mature.
Older cats start to replace their soft fur with coarser, thicker fur.
Just like humans, some elderly cats start getting patches of gray or white hair.
How a Cat’s Energy Level Shows Age
Kittens are bursting with energy and want to explore everything.
This is a natural part of how they explore their environments and learn.
Once a cat is fully grown, they seek enjoyment from some of the more simple pleasures of life.
Napping, window watching, stretching, mealtime, and sprawling out in the sun are a few of an older cat’s hobbies.
Older cats like to play too, but they have less energy and lose interest faster.
How a Cat’s Eyes Show Age
Your veterinarian is best fit to examine your cat’s eyes, so please do not attempt to examine them on your own.
Bright clear eyes with no secretions or tearing is a sign of youth.
Some cloudiness in the eyes is a sign of age.
Similar to humans, cats start experiencing eye complications as they get older too.
Any secretions or suspected damage to the eye should be examined by a vet immediately – do not assume anything is normal.
How Long Do Cats Live?
Cats are resourceful and adaptive creatures. Because of this, they tend to live longer than other household pets, including dogs.
According to a study published by Frontiers in Veterinary Science, indoor cats live 15 years on average.
However, there are documented cases of cats living as old as 30!
Outdoor cats live much shorter lives – as little as 2-5 years.
If you adopted a new cat and are unsure how old it is, your veterinarian should be able to tell.
Vets have special techniques and the expertise to be able to accurately estimate a cat’s age.
Summary: How Old Is My Cat In Cat Years?
The first 2 years of a cat’s life are equal to 25 human years. Then every year after that is equal to 4 years. For example, if your cat is 3 years old, it is actually 29 years old in cat years.