Do Cats Age Like Dogs? 

People have always wanted to estimate their pets’ ages in human years. The adage for calculating a dog’s life is one year equates to seven human years. That theory has long been dismissed. Cat lovers do the same type of calculations for their feline friends but aren’t sure what numbers to plug into the equation.

Our boy Coco 7
Our boy Coco 7

Do cats age like dogs? In some ways, yes, cats age like dogs. Both grow and age quickly during their first two years of life. Anyone who has ever had either knows that the kitten or puppy stage only lasts a matter of a few months. Both tend to reach their full height and length by 1 year old, although their muscles and their minds are still developing. 

The article below tells you how to figure out your cat’s age in human years and what can help them live longer. 

Doing the Calculation

The comparison between how dogs and cats age ends with the rapid growth cycle. Dogs age between a 5:1 ratio to a 7:1 ratio, depending on their size. Larger dogs age faster. 

Cats age in a 4:1 ratio, which is why they usually live longer than dogs. 

Kittens and puppies grow and age rapidly and are the equivalent of a 15-year-old human at 1 year old. They are 24 in human years at 2 years old. However, their aging process for cats slows down after that and they age around four human years for every year of their life while dogs age five.

That means a 10-year-old cat is 56 years old in human years. A 10-year-old small dog is 64. A medium-sized dog is 72 and a large breed dog is 80. 

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Factors in Aging

Factors in a pet’s environment contribute to aging. A cat that has a nicer, healthier life overall will live longer. 

Outdoor cats don’t live as long as indoor cats. Part of the reasoning is that predators and risks are part of living outdoors but there are other elements too. Outdoor cats kill things, which can cause disease. They face the weather, which can contribute to sickness. 

The overall stress of survival can cause an outdoor cat to age faster. 

Other factors contributing to the longevity of a cat are diet, veterinary care, and overall quality of life. Cats who eat quality pet food, get their regular shots, whose owners pay attention and play with them are going to live longer than those who are neglected. 

Also, it has been determined that cats that are spayed or neutered usually live longer than those that aren’t. Part of that is unspayed or unneutered animals tend to try to mate, fight and are more aggressive in their territory, which makes them susceptible to diseases from other cats. 

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Judging a Cat’s Age

Anyone adopting a stray cat will be curious to know the cat’s age. After all, knowing how old the cat is will determine what type of veterinary care, food, and toys they will need and enjoy. There are practical ways to determine how old an adult cat is if you know what to look for when examining the cat. 

Teeth

Stained teeth indicate an older cat. A cat with white teeth is probably 1-year-old or younger. A little yellowing indicates the cat is likely between 1 and 2 years old. Tarter found on the teeth puts the cat at between 3 and 5 years old. 

Tarter isn’t always a good indicator because some diets leave more tarter even on a younger cat and the cat may have had previous dental care. 

Senior cats may have missing teeth, although sicker cats or those that have been through dental surgeries can also have missing teeth. 

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Eyes

Bright, clear eyes with no discharge indicate it’s a young cat while older cats have jagged irises or cloudiness. 

Muscle Tone

Good, strong muscles indicate the cats are younger while older cats have less muscle mass and are bonier. Their skin tends to sag and their shoulder bones show up more.

Fur

An older cat will have coarser and thicker fur. Seniors will have gray or white in their coats.

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FAQs

Do some cat breeds live longer than others?

One breed doesn’t have any specific advantages over other breeds when it comes to longevity. However, some breeds have more health issues than others and that can make for a shorter life span. 

The shortest life span is in domestic cats that live outside. They only live two to five years on average.

How long can a cat live?

Most domesticated cats can live between 12 to 18 years if they are well maintained. Some cats have lived as long as 20 years.  The oldest cat with documentation of age was Cream Puff, who lived 38 years and three days.

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When will I start to notice my cat aging?

It varies from cat to cat, but some start showing some physical aging at 7 years old. Others remain frisky at 10. Generally, cats are considered “seniors” at 11 years old.

How will life change with an aging cat?

Older cats sleep longer and are less active than they were when they were younger They spend less time outdoors and hunt less. They get pickier about their food and may eat less. Depending on their teeth, they may prefer wet food over dry. 

Senior cats are more vocal, play less, and need to be groomed more as they do less of it themselves. They realize their vulnerability and so depend on you more for security, safety, and everyday needs.

What do cats die from the most?

Heart disease called feline cardiomyopathy and feline heartworm disease are two of the most common fatal ailments in typically healthy cats. Older cats often suffer from renal, or kidney failure.

Which lives longer, female or male cats?

The average life span in a cat is 15 years for both. Females usually live longer than males. Some of that depends on how many litters she has as more litters age a cat. Neutered cats will live longer than those left intact for both males and females. Purebreeds don’t live as long as crossbreeds.