Cat Years – Just like the fact that the anatomy of a cat is different from that of a human being, so is the way they age. There is a massive difference between one year in cat years and one year in human years. It is said that while a human infant only manages to get a grasp on basic mobility in a year of their birth, a kitten gains a level of maturity that is equivalent to fifteen human years.
Veterinarians have identified these variations in cat years and human years after conducting extensive study and research across various breeds of cats.
Why is it important to ascertain cat years?
As a cat owner or just as a curious human being, you might wonder why it is important to know about cat years in general. The answer to this is simple- just like a human requires different things for its survival and well-being at different phases of its life, so do cats.
It is important to know the cat’s age to provide it with the right kind of nourishment and treatment. The requirements of a kitten, whether dietary or otherwise, will be different from that of a fully grown cat.
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So, how can you, as a cat owner, or how does a vet identify how old a cat is? Cat years are understood by observing various physical indicators that a cat starts to show. Some of these signs are mentioned below to understand cat years better-
#1 The cat’s fur coat- when a cat starts to age, its fur starts to change from bright white to grey. The fur also becomes thicker and coarser with age.
#2 Multiple behavioral changes can be observed in a cat as there is an increase in cat years. These changes are in the form of more meowing. Cats also become less playful with age and prefer to sleep most of the time instead.
#3 Thick and brittle claws are another sign of increasing cat years. A young cat usually keeps their claws sharp to help them to hunt better. With age, a cat sharpens its claws less frequently than before. This also increases infection levels around the paws in cats.
#4 As a cat’s age increases, it develops an eye condition called lenticular sclerosis. This is a condition wherein the lens of the cat’s eyes starts to cloud, resulting in an unclear vision. The telltale signs of this are greying and frequent discharge from the eyes.
#5 With an increase in cat years, a cat’s teeth start to turn yellow and even begin to fall out. A young cat or kitten, on the other hand, has a healthy set of teeth.
Cat Years v/s Dog Years
Dog years is a term we have all heard at some point in our lives or the other. Often out of lack of knowledge, people use dog years and cat years interchangeably, thinking that the lifespan of both these animals is the same. However, this is far from being true.
Dog years and cat years are measured based on entirely different factors. One human year is equivalent to six to seven years in the cat’s life for a cat. It is a commonly known myth that a dog year equals seven years in human terms. However, to calculate a dog’s year, several other factors are considered. These include the breed of the dog, its weight, and its size, to name a few.
Use this cat age calculator for your cat.
In the first two years of its cat years, a cat reaches a state of maturity that is roughly equal to twenty-five years in a human’s life. While in the case of dogs, their breed plays a significant role in defining their age. For dogs, the bigger their breed is in terms of its size, the younger is their age. Small-sized dogs tend to age faster but live for a decent lifespan too. The size of a cat, on the other hand, has no bearing on its age.
It is always a good idea to take your pets to a trusted vet regularly instead of figuring out dog years or cat years on your own. However, as a pet owner, you should always look for the physical signs that start to show up in your cat or dog with age. These include changes in their general behavior, level of energy, and medical health.
Here is a table showing the average age of a cat and a dog in human years at different phases of its lifespan to make it better for you to understand the difference in their ages.
|Life Stage||Cat years||Age in Human Years|
|3 years & up||28 +4 years for every additional cat year|
|11 years & up||60 +4 for every additional cat year|
|Size of the Dog|
|Dog Years||Human Years|
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. At what age is a Cat considered to be old?
Cats are considered to be elderly once they reach attain eleven cat years. Senior cats may exhibit behavioral changes, physical changes in walking, etc. As a cat owner, you must also look for changes in the skin and fur of the cats. Arthritis is a significant problem in cats as they age. One should look for signs in their walking style and their gait. Also, lethargy and fatigue begin to set in.
Q2. How is it medically possible to detect Cat Years?
Veterinarians usually prescribe a “wellness examination” to check the health of your cats. A wellness examination would include a physical check-up with a stethoscope, listening to their chest and other areas. The veterinarian would then ask about the general conditions like food habits, thirst habits, etc., of the cat. Also, he would examine the cat’s fur, look for lumps, bumps on the skin, etc. Vets also study behavior patterns of different cats to understand cat years further.
Q3. What is the difference between the cat years of an outdoor cat and an indoor cat?
It is scientifically proven that indoor cats have a longer lifespan than outdoor cats. This could be a result of a lot of reasons. While an outdoor cat has to fight for its survival and hunt for its food constantly, an indoor cat is fed by the cat owner. An indoor cat lives in a safe and protected environment and is prone to little to no danger. At the same time, an outdoor cat is susceptible to all kinds of hazards- so many cats die due to road accidents, diseases, and hunger.
The cat years of an outdoor cat are usually two to three years, while a pet cat lives up to seventeen years. The most extended cat years recorded for an indoor cat is thirty years!
Q4. What can a cat owner do to take better care of their cats as they grow older?
Age directly impacts a cat’s muscular system, making it difficult for them to move around as swiftly as before. As a responsible pet keeper, one can provide them with small ramps helping them to walk better. Providing them with softer bedding, giving them warm cat food with the proper nutrition are a few things a cat owner can do. One should also take their cats regularly to the vet for a routine check-up to ensure they are not suffering from any illnesses.
Q5. What is the average lifespan of a cat, and does it differ for different breeds?
The average cat years is generally fifteen years. A cat’s breed does play a role in impacting its lifespan. Different species of cats live up to different ages. While a Siamese cat usually has twelve to thirteen years, a Balinese cat can live up to twenty years. The age depends on many factors, and the geographical location of where these cats are found plays a considerable role. A cat that is a local of a particular country tends to live longer in that environment than when it is moved to a different environment.
Now that we have bust every possible myth there could be about cat years for you, you as a cat owner are in a more informed position about their aging process. Assuming that dogs and cats age similarly and treat these two very different animals in the same fashion is a grave error that one can make as a pet owner.
At different stages of its life, a cat requires an extra level of nutrition and care. Providing this to your cat is only possible when you know the exact cat years.