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How Old Is My Cat? Factors That Help Determine Age

Christy Caplan
Vet examining a cat's teeth

All pet parents want to know how old their cat is and whether a vet needs to determine the age. Many factors involve the cat's behavior, and observant pet owners may use set criteria to narrow the age range. A vet typically provides their best guess after the initial examination and oral health checkup.

How Old Is My Cat?

After your new cat is comfortable in his environment, consider a home checkup. Your cat's teeth, gums, and eyes may help determine the age. Pet parents need to observe overall behavior and note how long their new feline friend sleeps at night and how often they groom during the day. The journal needs to include behaviors that are both effortless and difficult for their cat. Healthy cats sleep 16 hours a day.

How Can You Tell How Old a Cat Is?

A vet uses a set of criteria to determine the approximate age of your cat. For example, an aging cat may lose his robust appetite, and this factor may indicate your cat is a senior after a vet rules out medical conditions. A cat lover's part in the process is invaluable, so keep good notes about your new kitty.

Teeth

It is much easier to determine the age if you adopted or rescued a kitten. Cats have 26 baby teeth and 30 permanent teeth.

  • Kitten's teeth erupt at specific stages of growth.
  • It may take up to 24 weeks or approximately seven months for permanent teeth to erupt.
  • If there is a lot of tartar and gingivitis, it is probably an older cat.

Sexual Maturity

Cats reach sexual maturity somewhere between seven and nine months. If your new cat appears territorial or he sprays to mark his territory, then your feline friend may be close to nine months.

Eyes

Examine your cat's eyes and describe if they are bright and alert or cloudy in your notepad. A blueish haze may develop when a cat is closer to ten years old.

Vet examining a cat's eyes

Energy Level

An older cat may prefer to sleep or lie around in a cat cave if his joints are sore. Going up and down stairs can be an effort, so watch your new cat's behavior for signs that indicate he is an older gentleman.

Fur

Young cat grooms all day long! An older cat may need help with hard-to-reach places. Your new feline friend's coat may not be shiny and there may be mats if he is a senior.

Movement

A young cat is highly flexible. Cats need to be flexible when they groom as their tongue and paws reach almost all parts of the body. Felines also jump from a standing start. Pet parents may see this behavior throughout the day after a young feline's catnap.

Pet Parents Can Help Gather Information

A vet may need your help to assess a cat's age. If cat lovers consider their feline friend's behavior and use the same criteria as the vet, the information may narrow the age to a specific range. The pet parent's estimate helps the vet before an exam and completes the medical history.

It Is Not An Exact Science

Pet parents provide essential insight into a cat's behavior, and a vet uses this information to determine a cat's age after a full checkup. Cat lovers may find it helpful to consult with a vet. Many factors help determine your cat's age, and these still may only point to a range. With that in mind, whether a cat is a young adult or a senior makes a big difference in the level of care. This process is essential after a new cat joins the family.

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How Old Is My Cat? Factors That Help Determine Age