When we get a kitten, we fall in love with them into adulthood and senior years. Over time, we pet owners learn how to take care of our cats from beginning to end, understanding the ins and outs of spaying and neutering, bathing and vaccines, and weight management and food preferences. We quickly learn that there are different stages of development that cats experience, requiring us to care for them in new ways.
Luckily, we have the ability to understand our cats' development more easily when we have a general idea of what their age is in human years.
Convert Your Cat's Age to Human Years
There are several methods that allow cat owners to convert their pet's age, and the following process utilizes averages. In other words, development changes from cat to cat. Some purebred cats, like the Maine Coon, mature much slower than others and don't reach full development for 3 or 4 years. Like humans, cats age in relation to genetics, diet, exercise, care at home, and veterinary care. For example, a kitten can be 6 or 7 weeks old but appear to be far more advanced physically over a human baby of the same age.
Regardless of the chart's averages, it's worth it to get an idea of how old your beloved cat truly is in human years:
- First, allow 15 human years for the first year of your cat's life.
- Then, add 9 years for the second year. For instance, a 2-year-old cat will be approximately 24 human years.
- Next, add 4 human years for each successive year of your cat's life.
- Finally, refer to the accompanying cat-age-to-human-age chart to double check your calculation.
Control Your Pet's Aging Process
When calculating the age of your cat in human years, it's important to recognize that various factors may affect your cat's comparative age to that of a human.
This may include variables such as heredity, diet, environment, and physical and medical care. While it's probable that you don't have any say over heredity, you do have options for controlling other factors that have an effect on your cat's aging process. For instance, if you have a senior cat, you can provide them with special needs by performing a weekly physical, brushing hair and teeth daily, and feeding them proper nutrition.
If, however, you have a kitten, you can pay attention to key development stages the first 8 weeks. The first week, you'll want to understand that your kitten will be born with eyes closed and ears folded, and weight will be somewhere between 90-100 grams. Around day three, you can expect the umbilical cord to fall off. After seven days, weight should double. Ensure that in week two your kitten's eyes open and baby teeth begin to form. In the third week, ears become pointed and a few kittens will start to explore the environment. By week four, you can expect some more teeth and better hearing. In weeks five to eight, you can expect your kitten to see fully, try to eat solid food, and a change in eye color and activity. During this time, you should prepare for your kitten's first vaccination.
Cats of all ages should be closely monitored when it comes to things like development, food, and vaccinations. Understanding your cat's life stages is essential to your journey together.
Indicators of Age
Determining your cat's age usually isn't an issue if you had your kitten since birth. However, if you had a rescue cat or a stray, you may be unsure. The first thing you can do is look at teeth. For instance, if you see baby teeth emerging it's likely a kitten. If, however, you notice that there's staining from tartar, it's probable that your cat is an adult or senior cat.
You can also look for additional signs of sexual maturity. If a male cat is spraying urine or showing their testicles, it's likely around 5 months of age and experiencing puberty. Female cats around this age will go through heat, which you will be able to see and hear.
Look for other signs like coat development and eyes.
How Long Your Cat Can Live For
Up until 6 months old, your pet is considered a kitten. Then, it goes from kitten to junior up to 2 years old. Around 3—6, your cat enters its prime years of development, before moving into the mature stage of life, around 7—10 years old. When your cat finally reaches its senior age (11—14 years old), care begins to change more dramatically. In fact, your cat's life begins to change even more-so during the geriatric stage, when reaching a whopping 15 years of age and older.
Your cat can live for a long time, depending on lifestyle. Consider if your cat is an indoor or outdoor cat, for instance. Some wild cats live for about 4—5 years, while many indoor cats live for about 13—17 years. Despite this, it's not unusual for an indoor cat to live up to a long 20 years. If your cat is overweight, however, they are likely to live between 12 and 15 years old.