Knowing the age of a cat may be the least of your concerns when you adopt one, or take in a stray feline. But knowing your cat’s age can help you provide age-appropriate care. Do you want to know how old is a cat in human years? Read on and find out.
It can be very difficult for anyone to tell the age or life stage of a cat, except for a kitten. Veterinarians, though, look at certain things so they can determine the age of a cat.
How to tell the age of a cat
Veterinarians usually conduct a physical examination to determine the age of a cat. One of the first things they look at is the teeth of the feline.
Kittens up to three weeks old are toothless. Teeth would only start appearing on the third or fourth week.
Cats with a full set of adult teeth should be at least six months old. The feline is around two years old if her teeth are clean and sharp.
Aside from the teeth, the coat of the cat is another strong indicator of the pet’s age. Young cats aged 10 years and below usually have shiny coats.
Older cats, on the other hand, have dull and matted coat. This can be attributed to poor mobility that hampers their ability to groom themselves.
Another way to determine the age of a cat is to look at the eyes. Kittens and younger cats have very clear and bright eyes. There are no traces of tearing or discharging in their eyes.
On the other hand, older cats usually have cloudy eyes. It is also common for them to have bluish haze in their eyes, resulting to eyes that look gloomy.
What are the life stages of cats?
Now that you have an idea how to guess the age of a cat, you would surely be interested in knowing the various stages of a cat’s life.
The International Cat Care, formerly known as the Feline Advisory Bureau, has identified the six life stages for cats. These are:
- Kitten - from 0 to six months.
- Junior - from 7 months to two years.
- Prime - from 3 to 6 years.
- Mature - from 7 to 10 years.
- Senior - from 11 to 14 years.
- Geriatric - from 15 years and over.
The kitten stage can be further divided into four periods—birth to one month old, 2 to 3 months, 4 months, and 6 months.
Kittens up to a month old are generally toothless. They have their eyes opened by the second week, but have very limited activity. They can be likened to human babies up to one year old.
Kittens aged 2 to 3 months usually have developed deciduous and canine teeth. By the end of this stage, their baby teeth have become fully erupted. Comparing with humans, they are like toddlers aged 2-4 years old.
Four-month old kittens can be likened to children aged 6 to 8 years old. They are very active. They like to play and explore. It is also during this stage that adult begin start to erupt and displace kitten teeth.
The junior stage in cats, which covers the 7th month to the 2nd year from birth, can be considered as young adulthood. If we are to compare it with humans, this is the stage wherein cats hit years 12 to 24 human years.
This is the stage where you should have your cat vaccinated, because health issues such as heart disease and infectious diseases usually arise during this period.
Cats aged three to six years old are said to be in their prime stage. A cat aged 3 years old is around 28 human years old, while a 6-year old cat is 40 human years old. As the stage’s name suggests, this is the time when the cat enters adulthood.
But this is also the stage where various health conditions can slow down a cat. Obesity, intestinal problems, dental issues, and even behavioral problems can arise during this stage.
When a cat enters her 7th year, he goes into the so-called mature age. This period would last up to her 10th year. If we are to compare them with humans, cats in this stage are around 44 to 56 years old.
These older cats are at increased risks of conditions like high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, and kidney disease. Obesity is also very common during this stage.
If you have a cat in this stage, you will have to closely monitor his health. Regular trips to the veterinarian’s clinic are also a must.
Cats aged 11 to 14 years old are under the mature age. Eleven-year old cats are said to be 60 human years old, while 14 year old cats are 72 human years old.
Aside from the health conditions mentioned in the earlier stages, cats are also likely to suffer from arthritis and senile dementia.
Cats who are 15 years old and above are in the geriatric age. A 15-year old cat is roughly 76 human years old, while a 21-year old can is 100 human years old.Only a few cats are able to reach this life stage, so you should be proud and happy in the event your feline pal turns 15 years old. That certainly calls for a celebration.
Just like humans and any other living creature for that matter, cats go through different life stages. As a cat lover, knowing the various life stages of our feline friends should go a long way towards giving your pets with age-appropriate care.