How to tell the age of a cat

Knowing the age of a cat is essential to know what care and type of feeding the kitten needs. If it has not been with you since it was born, either because you have met them on the street or you have adopted them, it is not easy to know how old a cat is.

How to tell the age of a cat

Knowing how many days, weeks, months or years a kitten has can be complex but not impossible.

There are several ways to find out how old a cat is and that you can do without problem. Depending on whether it is a newborn or a puppy, if it is a young feline, or if it is already an adult, you should look at different physical and behavioral signs.

How to tell the age of a cat puppy

We are going to start with newborn cats or puppies since at this age is when you can determine their age with more accuracy. To do this, you must look at certain aspects that are very easy to detect .

Some are physical like ears, eyes, teeth, and the way you walk. Others are behavioural such as the urge to explore, lick or respond to external stimuli. This way you will know how many days or how many months a cat is . Let’s see them:

1-day-old cat

When a newborn kitten is only 1 day old, her ears are folded and glued to her head. They also have their eyes completely closed, so they cannot see.

Naturally, they are not even able to walk and can hardly stand on their little legs. You should also know that cats are born without teeth. Therefore, if you detect these symptoms, you already know how old the cat is .

3-day-old cat

A cat that is 3 days old still has its eyes closed. His ears begin to detach and are not so bent. They begin to move a little more but without walking. They only eat and sleep.

A newborn usually weighs about 70 grams on average and they usually gain about 15 grams of weight each day.

7-day-old cat

From the seventh day the kitten puppy’s eyes begin to open a little, but not completely. Their ears are almost spread apart and pointed, but they are still unable to hear anything or respond to sound stimuli. They start to move and crawl a bit (like when a baby crawls).

Cat 10-13 days old

From the tenth day the feline puppy can have its eyes fully open, although its pupils do not dilate, you will see a very fine black line inside.

That is, if a kitten still has its eyes closed, it will be less than 10 days old. Also their mobility, although reduced, is increasing.

2 week old cat

Finally the kittens start to walk but in an uncoordinated and unstable way. From the second week on, the kitten’s first teeth can start to come out, specifically, the first to come out are the incisors, which will grow until they are fully visible.

But it is not surprising that some start dating after the third week. To look at her teeth, you will have to lift its lips very delicately and gently.

3 week old cat

From the third week on, the animal begins to explore its environment with curiosity. It walks better and is able to learn to find its litter box to relieve themselves(pee and poop).

They may also begin to dig and remove the sand to cover their droppings. They react to sound stimuli since their ears are fully open and their ears are raised. Canines can also start to come out in your teeth.

4 week old cat

Towards the fourth week or month of life, cats already begin to play with each other, making fictitious fights and pouncing on each other. Although a bit clumsy, they already perform jumps and races and even the bravest begin to climb .

This helps them learn how to coordinate their movements to try to escape, defend, or chase. In the same way, they can begin to take and tolerate certain semi-solid foods that complement their diet.

5 week old cat

Around the fifth week of life, personal hygiene or self-washing begins, that is, they begin to lick their bodies. They also use signals and commands to warn each other in case of danger. In the same way, at this age, they have practically all their senses developed.

6 week old cat

This is the moment, at six weeks, that is, a month and a half, to gradually wean the mother. In this way you will be able to be with them a few times but you can already start eating dry food to take it to your new home.

It must be remembered that at this age kittens already need a special diet to cover their needs. In the same way, their little eyes begin to change color, going from blue or light to the color that they will have for the rest of their life. In its first month and a half of life, in its teeth, in the lower jaw the premolars will come out.

8 week old cat

At two months of age, a healthy kitten should weigh approximately 900 to 1000 grams (1 kilo). Naturally, this depends on the type of breed. In this weather they are precious as they look like an adult cat but in miniature.

Cats reach their adult size in about a year. Although some breeds do not complete their growth until four, such as the Maine Coon.

At 8 weeks of life, the kitten will have all its milk teeth to full. Canines, incisors and molars, or what is the same, 26 teeth.

We remind you that in case of doubt or if you are not completely sure, it is always advisable to visit the vet. He will help you determine the age of your feline pet and the care it requires.

From this point on, knowing the exact age of a cat becomes a bit more complicated, but not impossible. You have at your fingertips some systems to find out. We will see it in more detail in the following sections.

How to tell the age of an adult cat

The first thing you should know is that, by definition, an adult cat is considered one that is already sexually prepared to be able to reproduce. This includes young, not so young, and old cats.

female cat can have her first heat between 7 and 12 months of age. In contrast, male cats can be sexually mature between 9 and 12 months. Of course, this is the general rule, but there may be minor exceptions.

All veterinarians and pet experts agree that the best way to know the age of a cat is by analyzing its teeth.  It is undoubtedly the most accurate and reliable system to calculate where you are in your life. Let’s see this and other methods:

Knowing the age of a cat by teeth

Cat with 2 or 3 months: how you have read in the previous section, from 2 months of age, young cats have 26 milk or temporary teeth. They should be 12 in the lower jaw and 14 in the upper jaw.

Cat with 6 months: these “baby” teeth will fall out and be replaced by the permanent ones between 3 and a half months and 4 months of age. The incisors first and so on. Under normal conditions, the cat will have its final teeth at 6 months. They will be white and very shiny.

Cat from 1 to 2 years: the teeth of cats at this age begin to have a little tartar, especially on the back teeth. They are also already with a slightly duller tone and with a certain yellowish color.

Cat from 3 to 5 years old : the teeth already have more tartar adhered, especially on the molars and at their base, where the tooth comes out of the gum. In the same way, a certain general wear begins to be noticeable.

Cat from 5 to 10 years old: at this point in the life stage of a cat, their teeth show obvious wear and tear and may even present some dental disease. It is also not uncommon to observe some pigmentation in the gums.

Cat over 10 years old : a cat over 10 years of age will always show marked wear on its teeth. The tartar will be present in all or almost all the pieces and it may even be missing some that have fallen.

Despite being the most recommended method to calculate the age of a cat, it is not infallible, since there are cats that can suffer early wear of their teeth or suffer from oral diseases.

Other felines can also have a genetic load (it depends on the breed), which makes them more prone to accumulate more tartar. Likewise, if a cat has lived outdoors it will have worse teeth than one that has always been in a comfortable home. As always, your vet will be by your side to help you .

Knowing the age of a cat by hair

A cat, throughout its life, has variations in its coat. That is, it undergoes a series of hair changes that can help us discover its approximate age.

When a kitten is new born, it has short and quite thick hair, even like a kind of fluff. Over time, as it grows, the coat becomes finer and much softer.

Normally, from the age of 9 or 10, when a cat starts to get a little old, its hair again appears denser and thicker. In the same way, the color of their fur begins to present grayish or dark tones in certain parts.

Knowing the age of a cat by muscle tone

It is easier than it seems to be. Young cats have good muscle tone as they are much more active. If you play them by pressing a little, you notice that the muscles are hard and tight.

In contrast, older cats have a feeling that they are more bony and flaccid in general and more noticeable on the shoulder blades and in the back of the neck.

In addition, you must take into account if a cat is domestic or stray. If a cat lives in the street, it can age faster than that of a domestic mammal, even twice as much.

Know the age of a cat by its behavior

From a biological point of view, a cat can be considered to be an adult or to begin its decline after 8 years of age. Once this age is exceeded and in the following years, as a general rule, cats lower their activity level significantly.

This means that they will sleep more and more and tire faster. Although they still like to play, run or explore, they will do it less and less frequently. Something similar to what happens to dogs. You must pay attention to their habits.

The signs with which you begin to recognize that your cat is already beginning to be old is by the hours of sleep and rest they do. Their joints also start to stiffen and sometimes their eyesight and hearing deteriorate.

This is when you should give your cat much more comfort and make things easier for them. For example, it is easier for a cat to get to its favourite place in the window if you put up a ladder so it can get closer.

Elderly cats need more heat, be sure to provide your older cat with a warm place. Similarly, an elderly cat has a different metabolism, so it will also need a special diet.

Knowing the age of a cat by its eyes

Another method of estimating the age of a cat is by  looking at its eyes.  In small, young cats, the iris of the eye is smooth. As they grow and over the years the iris becomes more irregular .

On the other hand, if you observe that inside the eyes of a cat there is a kind of veil or semitransparent fabric, which are blurred or you detect that it does not see well, it is possible that it has cataracts.

This is a sign that the cat may be more than 10 years old, since from this age it is common for them to develop this ailment.

Cat’s age equivalent to Human age

There is a popular belief that one year of life for a cat is equal to 7 years for a human. But this is totally wrong . The body and metabolism of felines behave very differently from man.

The first 2 years of a cat’s life are essential for its development and growth.

The first year of a kitten is equivalent to the first 15 years of the human being, and the second year to 24 human years.

At this time, the cat’s diet and the possible diseases that it may suffer will mark the years that it will live in the future. In the same way, the risks that you face and the care received influence your longevity.

Once the kitten has reached 2 years of age, the animal can be considered as an adult. From this point on, each cat year is equal to 4 years of human age.

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