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How Do Cats Age

Updated: August 11, 2022 by Kristen Chapple

There’s a popular myth going on around about how do cats age which says that to find out how old a cat is in human years you should multiply each calendar year by seven. The result would be the approximate age of a cat as compared to that of a human being.

We all know that most simple things are not that simple at all. Such is the case here. The thing is there are so many variables at play here that we couldn’t simply apply that rule of thumb.

Reality check about how do cats age

Firstly, it’s a known fact that our feline friends age faster during their first two years of life. You’ve seen that your cat grew fast to her maximum body size, right? Well, a one-year-old cat seems to be like a 15-year-old human being, and one year later she’s like a 24-year-old.

Afterwards, a cat’s aging process slows down to adding around 4 human years to each calendar year, thus meaning that a 5-year-old cat should have the age of a 36-year-old human.

Besides that, depending on the environment they live in, cats age differently. So a cat that lives in the wild will age faster than one living indoors.

Signs of a cat’s age

The teeth of a cat are one indicator of a cat’s age. Older cats have more stains on their teeth.

A kitten’s permanent teeth develop around 4 months, so if the teeth are permanent and completely white, it means that the cat is around 1 year old. Small yellow spots indicate that the cat might have between 1 and 2 years old, while more tartar and yellow spots put the age of the cat somewhere between 3 to 5 years. If the cat has missing teeth that indicates an even older feline.

The muscles are another indicator of cats age. If their muscles are well defined, that says that the cat is younger and active. Older cats have some skin hanging or they’re a bit bonnier.

The fur of a cat can give some clues as well on her age. A soft, fine fur shows a younger cat while a thick coarse hair belongs to older cats.

The cat’s age can be seen in their eyes as well. Small, young cats have their eyes clear, with no tearing or discharge and present smooth irises, while old cats have some sort of cloudiness in their eyes and a somewhat jagged iris.

The life span of cats

While there’s no definite answer to how long cats can live, there are a few patterns. Of course it all depends on so many variables, including owner’s care or various accidents and threats if the cat lives outside.

While most indoor cats can live between 12 to 18 years, stray cats live an average 10 years. There have been documented cases where cats have reached and exceeded the age of 30, but in general 20 is a more appropriate number when you think of an indoor cat.

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