How old is your cat? The unfortunate truth is it isn’t obvious. If you don’t have solid information on when your cat was brought into the world, there isn’t much you can go on! There are some indicators to give you a rough idea of how old your cat might be, but it is not an exact science. It’s much easier to gauge whether a cat is old or not, but it’s a lot harder to guess the actual age they are down to the year.
Stages of a Cat’s Life
- Kitten: From birth – 6 months
- Adolescent: From 7 months – 2 years
- Mature: From 3 years – 10 years
- Senior: 10+ years
We won’t worry about determining a kitten from an adolescent or mature cat. It is obvious when a cat is a kitten and when it is not. Adolescent cats are often lean and strong looking. Mature cats might be a little softer and less muscly. This is often the life phase where they will slowly start to gain weight and retain it. Senior cats generally get a bit thinner, they move slower, sleep more, and their fur may become a bit oily. Make sure to be kind and gentle with your senior cats as they slow down.
Sometimes older cats have less vibrant eye colouring. Senior cats are the ones who most often experience changes in their eye vibrancy, but not all of them do. Younger cats tend to have brighter and more intense eye colours. Some aging cats may experience some cloudiness in their eyes as well.
As cats age, much like humans and dogs, they usually get some grey hairs on their face; snouts can go grey, the fur around their neck and head can go grey. Additionally, the fur around their eyes may grey. While the changes may become more pronounced over time, it provides a dignified look to your cat!
If you are looking at a younger cat, check their teeth. Young cats often have whiter teeth, and, in some cases, more of them. A cat who has been around for longer may have some missing or broken teeth. It won’t help pinpoint an exact age, but it can help play a role in narrowing it down some.
Mobility and Activity
Any experienced cat owner knows just how much energy kittens have. Kittens are new to the world, full of energy and curiosity. They are in a constant state of eating or running and climbing. This level of energy often carries into their adolescence and for some, even into maturity. Cats around 6 to 10+ years of age tend to slow down. Most senior cats move slowly, sleep often, and will absolutely not be climbing up the side of a couch or leaping onto a bookcase.
Talk to a Vet
At the end of the day, we are not the medical expert that a veterinarian is. If you really want to determine your cat’s age, or at least an approximation, taking it to the vet is a good place to start. They might not be able to give you an exact answer, but they will have the widest breadth of experience working with cats at all different points in their lifecycle. They also know what sorts of changes cats experience as they age.