Sadly for us, dogs and cats age much faster than humans. Major health issues can occur much earlier in their lives because of this rapid aging. Therefore, it is good to know how your cat’s age progresses in comparison with human years.
There is general agreement that the first two years of your kitty’s life are about equal to the first 25 years of your life. After this, each additional year of the cat’s life is equal to about four of ours.
Compared to younger animals, your older pet will have a different gene expression. A pet’s gene activity changes at seven years old.
According to Hill’s Science Diet, these changes can affect how the cat’s body functions, as some of these genes will influence changes. The genes are associated with such factors as the inflammation processes, oxidative stress, immunity, DNA repair, energy production and protein metabolism. Proper diet can address these issues.
Catster.com lists some methods you can use to determine your cat’s age if you do not know it.
First, check the cat’s teeth. These are great age indicators. Older teeth can have more staining, which can be controlled by regular brushing. (See “Do You Know How to Groom Your Cat?).
Kittens’ teeth first come in between two to four weeks. The more permanent teeth appear at around four months of age. If you open your cat’s mouth and find permanent white teeth, the animal is probably around a year old.
Between years one and two, some yellowing might develop, and tartar buildup. These are signs that the cat could be between three and five years old. Missing teeth are usually an indication of a senior cat.
A young cat that is active is more likely to have some muscle differences. If the cat is older, he will probably be a little bonier. He may also have some extra skin hanging, or perhaps his shoulder blades protrude.
A cat’s coat could be an indicator of his age. Kittens and younger cats usually wear a soft fur coat, while the coat of an older cat can be coarser. A senior cat may also have patches of grey or white.
Younger cats have bright, clear eyes that don’t tear and show any signs of eye discharge. Cloudiness of the eye is an indication that the cat is 12 years old or more. Check the iris — a young cat will have a smooth iris, and the iris of an older cat may appear somewhat jagged.
Typically, an indoor cat will live from 12 to 18 years, though many survive into their 20s. Their age depends in part on the kind of care they receive and their genetic disposition.
Outdoor cats typically have a shorter life expectancy, often living for only two to five years. In urban areas, It is wise to keep your cat indoors.
I have been fortunate, as I have usually lived in a more rural area, and have always let my cats out. My cats have all lived fairly long lives.
I like to give a cat as much freedom as possible, so if he wants to go outside, I will let him out. I have a cat door, and established hours. If dinner-time is at 4:00, I can be assured the cat will come home in time to eat.
Here is a chart of approximate ages of cats as compared to human age. This information is from catster.com.
KITTEN: 0 to 6 months = 0 to 10 years
JUNIOR: 7 months to 2 years = 12 to 24 years
PRIME: 3 to 6 years = 28 to 40 years
MATURE: 7 to 10 years = 44 to 56 years
SENIOR: 11 to 14 years = 60 to 72 years
GERIATRIC: 15 years plus = 76 to 100+ years
Your cat’s life goes by so fast, compared to your own. Be sure to enjoy that wonderful feline while you can, as he will leave the planet far too soon.