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How old is my cat in human years? 

Cat with stripes and wide eyes sitting down being pet

If you’ve ever wondered about your cat’s age in human years, you’ve probably arrived at the common theory that each human calendar year is equivalent to seven ‘cat years.’ However, the real answer is not so linear. Cats and humans mature at remarkably different rates during our life spans — as a result, a one-year-old cat is significantly more physically mature than a seven-year-old child. And sadly, since cats have significantly shorter life spans than humans, their life cycle develops at a different rate to ours. 

Table of contents:

How many cat years are in one human year? 

We tend to anthropomorphize our pets in order to relate more closely to them. However, there’s no agreed scientific consensus on the exact conversion rate of human years to cat years — and each cat’s lifecycle is unique. Things can be made more difficult if your cat is adopted or rescued and their birthday is unknown.  

Nonetheless, it’s generally agreed that during the first year of its life, a cat ages the equivalent of 15 human years. During the second year, it adds an additional nine years equivalent to human maturation. This means that by two years old, your cat is roughly 24 in human years! At this age, your cat is physically and sexually mature and thereafter will age roughly four ‘cat years’ for each calendar year.  

Cat life expectancy 

What does this mean for your cat’s life expectancy? How long a cat lives depends on a number of variables, including breed, health, and lifestyle factors — such as whether they are an indoor or outdoor cat. Cat’s life expectancies have increased significantly in recent decades, thanks to owner education, better access to veterinary care, and improved feline food sources.  

There’s never a guarantee on how long your cat will live, but a well-cared-for indoor cat can live as long as 15-18 years, with some even making it to the venerable age of 20 and beyond! Based on the guidelines above, that’s well into 70 years of age in human years. Did you know, the older recorded cat lived an incredible 34 years? 

Outdoor cats who have free access to explore the wider world are vulnerable to all manner of risks, from animal attacks to car accidents to disease transmission, meaning the average life expectancy is much lower than indoor counterparts.  

How do cats age? 

During their first two years, cats age remarkably quickly thanks to their unique genetics and metabolism. Some large breeds, like Maine Coons, develop a little slower, but generally during this time you’ll notice your cat come into full body condition, growing to full size, filling out its weight and coat, and becoming more coordinated. After this initial burst of growth, aging settles into a slower and more gradual process. As always, this process is determined by genetic and environmental factors — many cats live well into seniority with very few signs of aging! 

The stages of cat growth are measured based on physical and behavioral developments, outlined as follows: 

  • Kitten — 0-6 months (0-10 human years)
    In its infancy, kitten behavior is characterized by huge bursts of hyperactivity and limited coordination. Physical growth progresses rapidly and sexual development begins.
  • Adolescent Cat — 7 months-2 years (12-24 human years)
    The cat will eventually reach full physical and sexual maturity, reaching its full size and body condition with a sleek and shiny coat. Still curious and energetic but increasingly less hyper; sleeps for longer periods.
  • Adult Cat — 3-6 years (28-40 human years)
    In its prime years, the cat will be fully physically mature. Your cat should remain interactive, energetic, and mobile.
  • Mature Cat — 7-10 years (44-56 human years)
    Unless affected by disease, your cat should remain in a similar condition to its adult years. Sleeping may increase slightly as age progresses.
  • Senior Cat — 11-14 years (60-72 human years)
    Energy levels and mobility will decrease, along with appetite and increased sleeping. The coat may appear less shiny.
  • Super Senior / Geriatric Cat — 15+ years (76-100+ human years)
    Physical deterioration may occur, resulting in reduced mobility, loss of teeth, and dull or matted coat. Unusual sleep-wake cycles and some cognitive decline may occur.

Signs of aging in cats 

The best way to determine a cat’s age is to take them to a vet. Besides this, there are a number of tell-tale signs that indicate aging in cats.  

  • Teeth: Often one of the more reliable indicators of aging, teeth can give clues to a cat’s maturity. First developing around 2-4 months, a kitten will fully develop its permanent white teeth at around 4 months. Thereafter, aging is measured by tartare build-up, yellowing, and loss of teeth as indicators of a cat’s age. Missing teeth typically happen in senior cats over 10-15 years. However, health and lifestyle factors also affect a cat’s teeth and gums.  
  • Coat: Younger cats typically have finer, softer fur that is full and fluffy with no signs of grey. As they age, cat hair becomes coarser and less soft, with some grey developing in patches, typically beginning around the muzzle.  
  • Eyes: Cloudiness can develop in a cat’s eyes around 12 years of age. Weepy eyes are a common sign among senior felines.  
  • Muscle and Bone: Body condition gives an indication of a cat’s energy and mobility levels, and therefore its age. Older cats begin to lose body mass and muscle as they slow down, resulting in a skinnier appearance overall.  

How to keep your cat young 

Unfortunately, we can’t hit pause on the passing of time. However, there are daily steps you can take to keep your cat healthy and happy into old age. 

  • Diet: Feeding your cat a nutrient-rich, balanced diet will help keep them healthy and able to fight the signs of aging and disease.  
  • Proactive care: Vaccinations and preventative treatments for heartworms, fleas, and ticks will keep your cat healthy in the long run.  
  • Regular checkups: Preserve their quality of life and spot early signs of health concerns with annual checkups for cats under seven and twice-annual visits for older cats.  

ElleVet CBD + CBDA for senior cats 

Provide your cat with instant relief from joint aches, mobility issues, stress, and overall signs of aging with Ellevet’s CBD + CBDA products, formulated specifically to improve overall wellness in senior cats. The only formula specifically tested for long-term safety, our Proprietary Complete-Spectrum Cannabinoid & Terpene hemp blends are available for feline consumption in the oil and hemp paste form. 

As always, consult your veterinarian before starting your pet on any new products. For any questions about ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA products or how CBD + CBDA can help your feline friend live their best life, give us a call (844-673-7287) or send us an email ([email protected]). We are here to help.  

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