How to Tell a Cat’s Age?

There are a lot of mysteries about cats that have been adopted or rescued, and that includes the feline’s age. A veterinarian is your best partner in determining the current age of a cat, as well as in planning a care program to ensure the optimal quality of life and longevity. A thorough veterinary examination of the cat’s entire body will generally help to determine an approximate age of the cat; however, vets tend to look at a few body parts in particular when trying to estimate how old the cat might be.

However, with pets’ teeth cleaning products readily available, tartar may not be a good indicator depending on the diligence of the cat’s caregiver in providing a dental care program. It not only helps prevent early pregnancies, which are harder both on the mothers and on the kittens, but the surgery itself is said to be easier on the cats at a younger age.

When a cat attains senior status, it may even develop patches of white or gray individual hairs, much as humans do upon aging.

This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.

If your cat is less than 6 months to a year, it may not yet have all of its teeth, which consist of incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. Between 2-5 years of age, the cats teeth will start to yellow, and between the ages of 5-10, the yellowing will be easily visible and the teeth will start showing signs of wear.

If your cat is over 10 years old, all of its teeth will likely show signs of yellowing, and they may be worn significantly. If that doesnt help, you may be able to tell the cats age by examining its fur, body, and eyes. To learn tips from our veterinary reviewer on how your cats eyes can help you tell its age, read on!

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For their size, cats live quite a long time. Generally, an animals longevity is proportional to its size (with the exception of tortoises, man and a few other animals).

Kitten 06 months a period when the young cat is growing rapidly and is usually not quite sexually mature Junior 7 months2 years during this time the cat reaches full size and learns about life and how to survive it Prime 36 years the cat is mature physically and behaviourally, and is still usually healthy and active, looking sleek and shiny and making the best of life Mature 710 years the cat is what we call Mature, equivalent to humans in their mid-40s to mid-50s Senior 1114 years takes the cat up to the equivalent of about 70 human years Super Senior 15 years and over many cats do reach this stage, some not showing any signs of being so senior in age

The table below shows all of the stages and also the equivalent human age. However, as a charity, we need your support to enable us to keep delivering high quality and up to date information for everyone.

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Between the ages of 3 and 5 years, the teeth may start building up a little tartar around the gum line (especially the molars) and tooth wear may be visible. One important part of maintaining your cats health as they get older is brushing their teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste .

These help fight gum disease which can cause serious health problems, like infection, down the line. When a cat reaches senior age, the fur becomes thick and coarse again and may turn grey in certain places. This is another good argument for keeping your cat indoors (or screening in your porch or balcony!)

Not only will you keep them safe from all the outdoor dangers, but they will probably live a lot longer and be easier to care for in the long run.

Teeth

A cat’s initial baby teeth first emerge between 2 to 4 weeks, making teeth an excellent determination of age for kittens. Their permanent teeth are developing above the baby teeth and by the time the kitten is 3 to 4 months old, the permanent teeth will start to displace the baby teeth (also called deciduous teeth). Typically, all of the adult teeth are in place by 6 months of age, and the growth is no longer useful in determining a cat’s age.In older cats, the amount of staining, or tartar, on a cat’s teeth is also an indicator of age. However, with pets’ teeth cleaning products readily available, tartar may not be a good indicator depending on the diligence of the cat’s caregiver in providing a dental care program. Therefore, while teeth are a good indicator of a cat or kitten’s approximate age, they are not foolproof.

Sexual Maturity

Male cats reach sexual maturity as early as 6 months. Signs of puberty include territorial spraying of urine testicles that are more prominent.Female cats will typically have their first heat (estrus cycle) sometime between the ages of 5 and 9 months, though the length of daylight and weight of the cat also have some effect on the time of the queen’s first estrus cycle. A female cat will tell you she is experiencing estrus very visibly and vocally. A female cat is most fertile between the ages of 18 months and 8 years although she can become impregnated much earlier or later depending.However, many veterinarians now practice early spay and neuter. It not only helps prevent early pregnancies, which are harder both on the mothers and on the kittens, but the surgery itself is said to be easier on the cats at a younger age. This can make determining the age of a cat a bit trickier.

Coat Development

A kitten’s fur or hair is baby-fine and soft, but as a cat ages, its coat will thicken and coarsen. It may also change color, becoming darker or lighter in shade. When a cat attains senior status, it may even develop patches of white or gray individual hairs, much as humans do upon aging. While it’s not a guarantee of age, the coat helps a vet determine the age of a cat.Additionally, how well a cat grooms itself can help indicate how old the animal is. Cats are incredibly clean creatures, but an older cat might begin to slack on grooming as it gains weight with age or when dental problems or arthritis make it painful.

There are 6 life stages for cats:

The table below shows all of the stages and also the equivalent human age. What these stages let us do is to appreciate how old the cat is inside, since, as has been pointed out, this is often not very obvious from the outside, as cats seldom go grey or show outward signs of pain or illnesses such as arthritis.International Cat Care has set up a preventative healthcare initiative calledFor full details please visit the Cat Care for Life website.

Determining Your Cat’s Age

It can be difficult to tell how old your cat is if you haven’t had him since birth. It is helpful to know roughly how old your kitty is so you can provide better age-appropriate care. Your veterinarian can approximate your cat’s age based on tests of his blood and organs, but here is a little guide for the rest of us!

Let’s talk about Cat Teeth:

It is easiest to tell the age of young kittens based on early developmental signs:

Changes in Fur:

When a kitten is born, it has thick, short fur. As they age, their fur becomes softer and finer. When a cat reaches senior age, the fur becomes thick and coarse again and may turn grey in certain places.