Cats are very different from humans. One of the differences between us is the way they age. This article will explain how your cat ages and the best way to determine it.
Cats age at different rates, so they can differ in their aging process. We typically use a ratio of 1 to 7 to estimate a young cat’s age in human years. For older cats, we use a 1 to 4 ratio. Your cat’s age can be determined by many factors, such as its teeth, eyes, coat, and more.
How Do Cats Age?
In cats, aging takes place differently than in humans. The aging process is very linear for humans, and time passes the same when we are younger or older.
In the case of cats, it’s another story altogether. If we are going to better understand how cats age, we need to translate it to human years.
According to the AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association), cats age in three main stages. Those stages match with humans’ growth.
- Their first twelve months are equivalent to fifteen years in human years.
- Their second twelve months are equivalent to nine human years. As a result, by the time they reach the age of two, they are twenty-four years old in human years.
- For the subsequent years, every year your cat ages is equal to four human years.
By knowing the speed at which our furry friends age, we can understand some of their behavior. Therefore, this article will explain the different stages of our furry friend’s life and how you can calculate their age with different methods.
How To Best Determine Your Cat’s Age?
Your first option to know your cat’s age is to go to your vet. Your vet will be able to determine your cat’s age with better accuracy and may help you develop a care plan for them. This care plan can help your furry friend to have a longer and healthier life.
Vets usually base their age estimation of your cat on a complete body examination. Still, there are certain parts of a cat’s body that your veterinarian pays closer attention to, which could help you understand your pet’s age. To determine your cat’s age, pay attention to the following parts of their body: teeth, coat development, and eyes.
From the moment your cat is born up to the six-month mark, the growth of their teeth can indicate their age. Adults’ teeth start to appear above the baby ones during their development. Usually, the initial teeth appear in the first two to four weeks. After that, the total displacement of the baby teeth comes at the mark of 3 to 4 months. At that point, all your furry friend’s teeth are the permanent ones, the adult ones.
The fur of kittens is very soft and delicate, comparable to human baby skin. But, with the passing of time, our furry friend’s coat starts to get thicker and more robust. Cat’s fur can change color when they get older. The shades of their fur can get lighter or darker with the passing of time. Similar to humans, cats can develop patches of gray hair. The state of your cat’s fur is not a clear indication of age, but it can help your vet assess it.
The clarity and brightness of your furry friend’s eyes are also a great indicator of its age. When cats are younger, their eyes are very bright and don’t have any types of clouds. They are pure with no signs of tearing or discharge. With the passage of time, cats get older, their eyes start to get cloudy, and the brightness begins to tone down.
Other methods that help determine your furry friend’s age are based on their behavior and not their physical characteristics. You can do this by examining three factors: mobility, activity levels, and sexual maturity.
It is simple, the younger the cat is, the more they move and play. The older it gets, the more our furry friends sleep and rest. Of course, this is always something that needs to be based on each cat independently. However, a general idea of their sleep patterns can help you.
Male cats arrive at their sexual maturity by the time they are five months old. You can see when your cats have arrived at maturity when they start to mark their territory with urine sprays. For female cats, the task of knowing when they arrive at sexual maturity is a bit more complicated.
Early spay and neutering, now the standard practice encouraged by veterinarians, can help prevent early pregnancies. This practice, however, makes it more challenging to estimate the age of your female cat because the first signs of heat are gone. Female cats arrive at sexual maturity at the same age as male cats (5 months), but they are more vocal about it.
How Old Is A 2-year-old Cat In Human Years?
By the time they reach the age of twenty-four months, cats will have reached the equivalent of twenty-four years old in human years.
What Are The Life Stages Of A Cat?
Cats have four stages in their life, all according to the AAHA (American animal hospital association):
- Kittens from birds to the one-year mark.
- Young adults cats from one to the six-year mark.
- Mature adult cats from seven to ten years spot.
- Senior cats from ten years and on.
When cats are kittens in their first year of life, they develop super fast. At that age, your cat is curious and energetic. Your furry friend will love to play around and get to know their environment. It might be challenging to keep them entertained at this stage, but don’t worry; this phase will pass quickly.
Young adult cats are in their adolescent stage. Cats in this stage get very confident and energetic. They are no longer afraid of their surroundings because they already know most of their universe. Additionally, at this stage, they might get rebellious (just like humans). They might not like to have their nails trimmed and can even run from their owners.
Mature adult cats, on the other hand, are calmer. They already discovered what is safe and what is not around them. They have the energy to move and play but begin to calm down and enjoy the quiet times relaxing with their human companions.
Compared to their younger counterparts, senior cats seem to be calmer. Relaxation and napping seem to be even more enjoyable at this point for them. Senior cats tend to avoid social interactions, walk less, and sometimes gain or lose weight.
At What Age Do Cats Are Fully Mature?
Kittens are fully grown by the time they turn twenty-four months old.
As we have learned, cats age differently than humans do. Kittens can become adult cats in the blink of an eye, so try to enjoy every moment you have with them.
The most important thing to remember from this article is that your cat’s age will pass at one speed when they are younger and slower when they get older. To understand how cats age, keep in mind that the first year equals 15 human years. Since the second year is nine more than the first, it equals 24 human years. For every year after that, your cat will gain four human years.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.