How Cats Age:
Comparing Cat Years To Human Years
Dr. Joyce Ashamalla
Dr. Joyce Ashamalla is the managing partner at Hinsdale Animal Hospital with Kremer Veterinary Service, as well as a partner at CARE Animal Emergency Hospital. She received her BS in Animal Sciences from the University of Illinois- Champaign Urbana, where she also completed her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2007. She is AO certified, USDA-APHIS accredited, and is a member of the CVMA, ISVMA, AVMA.
We’ve all heard the old adage that cats have 9 lives. Even William Shakespeare refers to the classic myth in his famous play Romeo & Juliet. While we all know that cats only have one life (like the rest of us), there is often a lot of speculation about how fast cats age and how it compares to the rate that humans grow old. In this blog, we will look at the aging process of cats and the comparison between cat years to human years.
Average Lifespan of a Cat
Generally speaking, the average lifespan of a cat is about 15-19 years, with a variance of about 2 years either way. The average lifespan of an indoor cat is usually longer than those who spend a lot of time outdoors. The average lifespan of an outdoor cat is normally shorter as these animals are exposed to fights, diseases/infections as well as the potential of getting hit by cars etc. All of these factors contribute to the probability that the average lifespan of an outdoor cat will be shorter than the average lifespan of an indoor cat.
How to Calculate Cat Age In Human Years
Experts suggest that when comparing cat years to human years, a one-year-old cat is the equivalent age of an adolescent or young teenager (10-15). However, the aging process accelerates from there, so by age 2, a cat will have the chronological age of a young adult person, around the age of 25. After this point, the cat age in human years rapidly progresses. For every year that a cat lives after the age of 2, it’s the equivalent of 4-5 human years. So for example if a cat lives to be 16 years old, the cat age in human years would be about the age of 80. Vets and other professionals point out that there is no exact science regarding the comparison between cat age in human years. However, when evaluating cognitive function, potential for disease and major organ condition, it seems that this unscientific method holds true.
Helping Cats Live Happy, Healthy Lives
While longevity is not promised to any animal, there are some definite ways that you can give your cat the chance to live long into future.
• Stay Indoors – As pet owners, we cannot supervise our cats when they are outdoors, but we can offer protection by keeping them indoors with the goal of giving them a longer life.
• Regular Vet Visits – Making sure the cat has regular checkups, vaccinations, teeth cleanings etc. will go a long way toward keeping kitty healthy for a long time.
• Quality Food – Feeding an animal food that is rich in protein, nutrients and vitamins will greatly help in keeping muscles, organs and bones strong and healthy.
• Mental Stimulation – Keeping a cat mentally active by giving her lots of attention and some favorite toys to play with will all help keep her cognitive functioning as sharp as possible.
There’s no way to officially link the aging process when it comes to comparing cat years to human years. The good news is that the average lifespan of a cat can be as long as 15-19 years. While it’s true that the average lifespan of an indoor cat is longer since they are protected from outdoor dangers, diseases, and parasites, most cats can live quite a long time. Cats are special animals and they mean a lot to their owners. Whether your kitty is an indoor or outdoor cat, be sure to keep up with her vet visits. In addition, a lifetime diet of quality food and plenty of love/affection will be extremely beneficial toward keeping your beloved cat around for a long time to come!
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