For pet owners, knowing how old their beloved friends are is definitely essential. Cat owners are, of course, no different.
Why is that, you ask? Surely you would wanna know if you are dealing with a teen full of hormone or a mature cat ready to be a parent, am I right?
Just kidding. As cats age, they experience specific changes. By picking up on these subtle hints, you can take better care of your furry partners so that you will enjoy a longer, fuller, and happier relationship together.
And to help you with that, we have put together the five most common ways to tell a cat’s age. Let’s get to it.
According to Dr. Michael Nappier, assistant professor of community practice at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, you can tell a cat’s age by weighing them.
As said by Dr. Nappier, a good rule of thumb is that kittens gain a pound for each month they live. Hence, a 3-month-old kitten tends to weigh 3 pounds, a 4-month is 4 pounds, and so forth. This method has been proven to be effective until the cat reaches 6 months old, given that it is in good health.
Like humans, kittens have their baby teeth, also known as deciduous teeth, and adult cats have permanent teeth. Here we will break it down type by type.
Infant cats start growing teeth at around 2 to 4 weeks. From then on, their baby teeth make an excellent indicator. Once they have a full mouth of teeth, they should be about 8 weeks old.
After 4 months, deciduous teeth start falling out, which would be replaced by permanent teeth. Again, the same measure can be taken until the cat reaches 7 months old. From this point, it is no longer possible to tell their age by their teeth’ growth.
However, there is another way. You can base your judge on the amount of staining, known as tartar, on their teeth. A small volume of tartar spreading alongside the cheek teeth (or post-canines) may indicate a 1 or 2-year-old cat. As it grows older, the tartar increases as well.
Obviously, this is not as good of an indicator, so take it with a grain of salt if you may.
Male cats become sexually matured at around 5 months. You can tell when they are going through puberty by several signs, including spraying urine to mark their territories.
Female cats would be in heat for the first time between 5 and 12 months. When it happens, you can see and hear it from her very clearly (and loudly).
Coat of Fur and Grooming Habits
As cats age, their delicate and soft fur thickens and coarsens. Some would even change colors, darker or lighter, and occasionally develop gray hair patches as humans do. This can give the vet a rough determination of the cat’s age.
Some cats also stop grooming or just don’t do it as often. This is due to arthritis and weight gain, making it hard and painful to reach certain parts of their bodies.
And lastly, the windows of their souls. When cats are at least 10 years old, their eyes start becoming more cloudy. Checking their eyes’ cloudiness is something vets must do because it is such a reliable system with established standards. However, owners without the appropriate tools and knowledge should not try it at home.