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How to Tell the Age of a Cat: 4 Methods That Work
Cats are mysterious animals. They seem to disappear during odd times of the day, whether that means going outside or hiding underneath a bed. They are a joy to cuddle with, and they can be left at home all day while everyone is at work or school without you worrying about them getting bored or lonely. Cats are typically active from the time that they are kittens until they reach their senior years, so it can be hard to tell their age if you do not know exactly when they were born. However, there are a few methods that you can use to determine the approximate age of your cat if you are unsure. Keep reading to learn more.
4 Ways to Tell the Age of Cats:
1. Measure the Weight of Kittens
The general rule of thumb is that kittens gain about a pound of weight every month of their life until they reach about 6 months of age. So, if a kitten is 3 months old, it should weigh about 3 pounds. If it is a month old, it should weigh only about a pound. A kitten that is 5 months old should weigh about 5 pounds and so on. But there are a few caveats to gauging age in this fashion.
For instance, a kitten that is in poor health likely will not weigh as much as they should. Therefore, a sick kitten that is 3 months old may only weigh 1 or 2 pounds. On the other hand, a kitten that eats too much and becomes overweight may weigh more than they should. So, a cat that is 3 months old might weigh 4 or even 5 pounds. Therefore, this is not a foolproof way to determine a cat’s age. You must be discerning when using weight for guidance when determining your cat’s age.
2. Check the Teeth Out
Kittens begin to grow their first set of teeth when they are about 2 weeks old. These are called deciduous teeth because they will be replaced with adult teeth. They are small, sharp teeth that never look fully mature. A kitten typically has all their deciduous teeth by the time that they are 8 weeks old.
Afterward, the deciduous teeth start falling out and permanent teeth grow in. All permanent teeth are usually grown in by the age of 7 or 8 months. After this age, it can be virtually impossible to tell a cat’s age by checking out their teeth until the cat becomes a senior. In old age, a cat’s teeth tend to wear down. They become visibly smooth and the sharp edges fade away. They also tend to show signs of tartar buildup, which gives teeth a yellow hue.
So, look for deciduous teeth and/or worn teeth to determine a cat’s age. If you cannot be sure what kind of teeth the cat has, do not rely on the teeth to offer signs of age. You can always use another method to help you determine the approximate age of your feline family member.
3. Look Into the Eyes
When a cat is young, their eyes are clear and bright. As they get older, their eyes tend to get foggy and blurry looking, especially if they develop cataracts, which is extremely common in cats. So, the general condition of the eyes can be an indication of the age of the cat. Of course, there are always exceptions, so there are no guarantees that this one will provide you with an accurate idea of your cat’s age.
4. Take Note of Grooming Habits
Cats are notorious groomers. In their prime, they take every opportunity to clean themselves. You can catch a cat licking themselves, scratching, and rolling their back on the ground throughout the day to keep themselves in tip-top shape. However, as cats become older, they may not tend to their grooming as much as they did in their prime. Dental issues, health conditions such as arthritis, and a simple lack of interest can all contribute to an older cat’s lack of grooming.
If your cat starts to show a lack of interest in grooming themselves, have them checked out by your veterinarian. If everything checks out but they still do not show the same interest in grooming as they did before, chances are that they are simply getting older, more relaxed, lazier, and less caring in their old age. Your veterinarian can also help you determine the approximate age of your cat during the checkup.
Our Final Thoughts
In the end, it does not matter how old your cat is as long as they are happy, healthy, and enjoying their life with you and those in your household. The most important time to know the age of your cat is when they are kittens because they need extra nutrition and care until they reach adulthood. Also, seniors may need extra care and special food to thrive until the end of their lives. If you are ever in doubt, work with your veterinarian to figure out your cat’s age and determine their physical, mental, nutritional, emotional, and nutritional needs.
Featured Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay
Rachael has been a freelance writer since 2000, in which time she has had an opportunity to research and write about many different topics while working to master the art of fusing high-quality content with effective content marketing strategies. She is an artist at heart and loves to read, paint, and make jewelry in her spare time. As a vegan, Rachael is obsessed with helping animals in need both in her community and anywhere in the world where she feels she can make a difference. Animals also happen to be her favorite topic to write about! She lives off the grid in Hawaii with her husband, her garden, and her rescue animals including 5 dogs, a cat, a goat, and dozens of chickens.