How Old Is Your Cat? – Determining Your Cat’s Age

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Cat owners who rescued or adopted their cats from the streets or from shelters will likely have a lot of questions related to their new pet.

One of the most common ones is: how old is my cat? It turns out that cats have a lot of characteristics and different traits that make it quite easy for you to estimate their age.

At first, it might seem far-fetched and difficult to do, but with a little research, it’s totally possible.

In this article, we’ll talk about what you should look at so you can figure out how old your cat is.


1. Teeth

If you have a younger cat, it will be much easier to understand how old it is. Vets are able to examine details such as the teeth that might reveal the cat’s years.

As a rule, the less teeth there are in the mouth, the younger the cat is. Usually, the teeth start growing 2 weeks after the birth of the kitten, and the whole process of teeth growth can last up to 8 months.

Here is a timetable of teeth growth in cats:

Cat AgeActivity
< 2 weeksNo teeth
2-3 weeksFirst baby teeth grow
3-4 weeksDeciduous canines grow
4-6 weeksDeciduous premolars grow
4 monthsAll baby teeth grown & no molars

Even if your cat isn’t young, teeth are still a great way to figure out your cat’s age.

Normally, when a cat is 6 months old, it’s supposed to have all of its teeth fully grown. But it’s still quite possible to find out a cat’s age even after it’s fully grown and has obtained all of its teeth.

If a cat has cheek teeth on both sides, that means it could be about 1 to 2 years old. In older cats, teeth will usually be worn out from extended use, and some of them could even have issues such as tartar, which could imply an older age.


2. Weight

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A cat’s weight can help you estimate the age as well. Note that healthy kittens normally weight about 3.5 oz at birth and gain about 0.25 oz of weight per day.

Generally, if a kitten weighs about 3 or 4 pounds, then it’s most likely 3 or 4 months old.

Weight is a great indicator of age. However, it only works well with younger cats that are less than 6 months old, when the so-called “teenage years” end.

Once a cat is over a year old, it could easily pack on a lot of weight, and it will no longer be a good indicator of age.


3. Fur

In general, the older a cat gets, the more fur it gets.

Small kittens can have a lot of fur, depending on their parentage. However, in most cases, it’s not going to be much.

Unless you have the experience and knowledge of a vet, it will likely be very hard to figure out how old your cat is just by looking at its fur.


4. Whiskers

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Cat fur might not be the best way to indicate age, but the whiskers are a much better indicator. Over time, cat whiskers tend to gain length.

Kittens have sparser fur, and they slowly grow whiskers. Whiskers should already be visible at the 1-month mark.

If a kitten has short whiskers, that could be a great help in determining your cat’s age.


5. Eyes

As a rule, cat eyes become cloudier with age.

It is widely known that when a cat is about 6-7 years old, its eye lenses become denser, similar to what happens to human eyes at around 40 years of age.

At 10 years, the cloudiness of a cat’s eyes will often become very noticeable. But to accurately estimate age by the cloudiness of the eyes, you’ll probably need to see a vet.


6. Grooming Habits

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Teenage cats tend to groom more and be more meticulous. The same thing cannot be said about older cats.

It’s not just lack of interest that could cause these issues. If a cat has some dental issues or has gained weight, that could also cause it to lose interest in grooming itself.


Conclusion

When trying to figure out the age of a cat, there are many indicators you can look at.

If you have adopted or rescued a young kitten from a shelter, it will be much easier to estimate its age while it’s young. Young kittens and cats that are in their teenage years have a lot more physical and behavioural traits that separate them from their older counterparts.

Before cats reach 6 months of age, they slowly obtain teeth, fur, nails, and even whiskers. But it will be difficult for the average cat owner to estimate age based on these characteristics without the help of a qualified veterinarian.

The bottom line is if you have a cat and don’t know it’s age, you should consult your vet to get a best estimate. For more information on how cats grow, see this page.

Thanks for reading this article. Do you know how old your cat is? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.

2 Comments

  1. Mary Sanson August 15, 2019
    • Kevin August 16, 2019

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