How old is your cat?
19 September, 2011

Since I already have an article about how to determine a dog’s age, I thought it was time to post an article on how to determine your cat’s age.

Cats mature and age at quite a different rate than we do, but it is fun to try to compare our ages. Cats are considered to have entered their golden years at about age 9.

I’m not that old!

Some cats are now living until their early to mid-twenties thanks to modern husbandry and veterinary care. This would be the equivalent of a geriatric human of about 90+ years of age!

A typical cat now lives 15-17 years. Note that the average cat lifespan took a HUGE leap upward once we transitioned most cats to an indoor lifestyle, and modern medicine entered the scene.

In their first year, cats go from tiny kitten to mature adult (except in a few slow maturing breeds like Maine Coon, and Persian-type cats that take closer to two years to become fully grown and mature). This means a typical 1-year old cat is about the equivalent to a 16-17 year old teenager.

Quite a lot of changes in one year—I think you’d agree! While kittyhood is cute, a lot of problems come with it. So having year one behind us is a relief!

Between 2 and 9, each year the cat’s advance in their lifespan is the equivalent of about 5-6 human years, so they skip through their lifespan pretty quickly. This is an important reason why your veterinarian encourages you to present a healthy adult cat 1-2 times per year for a wellness checkup even if they are not due for their booster. They know that a lot will happen to a cat even in that short time.

Senior cats will be seen by the veterinary professional every 6 months or as needed so that as problems arise, these can be picked up and managed as soon as possible.

This table is only a rough approximation. It compares years in the normal lifespan, with green representing young adulthood, blue mature adulthood, and grey the senior years. You will note that for most of the lifespan, the modern long-lived cat is living in the golden years.

I thought this was an interesting and easy-to-read chart from

Of course, every cat ages differently depending on their health. My Sammy is 15, but is not even close to 74. I’d say he’s more like a 35-year old dude!

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