No age is set as the definitive marker of maturity and growth for cats; rather, there are age ranges in which most achieve certain milestones.
Calculating the actual age of your cat may be challenging, and one approach is to compare their first year to its equivalent human years.
One of the easiest ways to tell how old your cat is is by considering their weight. Achieve a healthy weight is key for both physical and psychological well-being in cats, helping avoid health conditions like diabetes and arthritis as they age comfortably into old age. It will also support more comfortable lifestyle for them during this part of their lifespan.
A kitten may weigh as little as 2 pounds at birth; however, as they mature they will typically reach adult weight over time. Therefore, vets recommend conducting regular weigh-ins with your veterinarian as your kitten develops.
Kittens generally gain 1 pound every month, and by 8 weeks of age their paws should have completely developed as well as adult teeth in place.
As pets age, their paws become smaller and their fur begins to thin out, so vets advise providing enough fresh food and water throughout their lives.
Domestic cats typically weigh 10-20 pounds depending on their breed and frame; however, there can be exceptions.
Female cats typically weigh less than their male counterparts and some breeds can even weigh as little as 5 pounds. To determine their ideal weight, examine their ribs and spine; any signs that they appear saggy could indicate they could be overweight.
Ear size may also indicate breathing issues. If a dog’s ears are unusually large, that could indicate trouble breathing.
Excess weight can lead to many health problems in cats, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Achieving a healthier weight will keep them happier and reduce the risk of disease.
If your cat appears too large for its body type, speaking to your vet about ideal weight can provide useful guidance on a diet plan tailored specifically to their specific requirements.
Estimating a cat’s weight can be tricky, but it’s best to try doing it regularly as their weight can change with diet and activity levels.
Your cat relies on its teeth for eating, hunting and self-defence. Their four types of teeth -incisors, canines, premolars and molars- each perform unique duties to keep it alive and well.
At 2 to 4 weeks old, baby teeth begin to emerge and usually displace to adult teeth by 3 to 6 months of age. These deciduous baby teeth, commonly known as deciduous dentition.
Kittens are born with 26 milk teeth that gradually transform into 30 permanent “adult” or permanent teeth by six months old, including 12 incisors to grip food and 4 canine teeth for shredding it into smaller pieces.
These teeth play a key role in cat grooming; they’re used for licking, spitting and chewing.
As your cat becomes an adult, their teeth will have grown much larger and harder than when they were still milk teeth – an evolutionary advancement which helps them catch and consume larger-sized prey more effectively.
Your cat’s jaw will expand slightly as she adjusts to adult teeth – this process, known as tooth eruption, may be painful for your feline!
Once new teeth erupt, your cat’s gums may swell and become inflamed – this could be very painful depending on their location and size!
However, this is part of the tooth eruption process and should not cause alarm. If your cat’s gums or mucous membranes become inflamed it is essential that he or she visits a veterinarian for dental cleaning services as soon as possible.
Vets can evaluate signs of gingivitis – a form of gum disease which affects some cats from birth – and wear and tear on teeth (tartar). This method may assist in estimating an approximate age.
When it comes to cat teeth eruption, this should generally be an easy transition without major issues. But sometimes the adult teeth don’t displace milk teeth properly or old milk teeth become displaced, leading to crowding or build-up of food and tartar between adult teeth that should have come in as expected. Persistent teeth should be addressed right away to avoid becoming major health concerns later.
Eyes of cats provide an insight into their souls. Cats have extraordinary sensitivity to pain and can communicate this information through changes in pupil size, eyelid position and other facial features.
Cats’ eyes have an extremely large proportion to their heads, giving them poor visual acuity when viewing objects close by; typically only 12 inches or further away can they see objects with clarity.
Cat eyes come in all different shades; black, brown, green, blue, gold copper yellow and red are just some examples. Their hue is determined by how much melanin (pigment) exists within each cell in its cells.
Blue eyes are a popular feature among certain breeds of cats as it helps them see better in low light conditions due to reflecting more light than other colors such as orange or yellow.
Other eye colors commonly seen among cats include brown, copper, orange, amber and hazel. While more prevalent among breeds like Sphynxes, Bengals and Abyssinians cats; it can still be observed among other breeds as well.
Eyes of cats can provide an accurate reflection of their age and overall health status. If their eyes have cloudy or jagged iris pigmentation, that could be an early telltale sign of cataracts (similar to human ones).
An effective indicator of an adult cat’s age is their activity level; kittens and younger cats will tend to be much more playful than older cats, which could indicate arthritis limiting mobility in some ways. If your feline has become less energetic over time, that could also be an indicator that their age has come into play.
If your cat’s eyes appear bloodshot or have discharge, this can be a telltale sign that something more serious may be going on; such as an eye disorder or infection such as conjunctivitis.
Whenever you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, it’s essential that they get to a veterinarian immediately so they can treat it quickly. Your vet will be able to quickly ascertain the source of the issue and suggest treatments accordingly.
When assessing how old your cat is, the best way to tell is to examine their teeth, coat and muscle tone. These indicators of life stages provide a good indicator as to when their last trip was and the approximate time since.
Healthy cats typically possess well-toned upper bodies and hips. Depending on their age, you may notice their shoulder blades protruding or that they have shed some weight.
While these changes are natural, there may also be medical conditions that affect a feline friend. An example is metabolic muscle disease which may be genetic.
As is evident from this list, most conditions in cats are treatable and sometimes reversible with proper nutrition and lifestyle modifications. Your cat can enjoy an increased quality of life if given proper attention.
Medical field can generally be divided into those caused by specific medical conditions (like diabetes) and those related to age or other health factors ( like cancer). If you notice significant changes in your cat’s musculoskeletal health, it would be wise to consult a veterinarian who are specialists at identifying symptoms and finding solutions.