HomeCat AnatomyDo You REALLY Know How Old Your Cat Is?


Do You REALLY Know How Old Your Cat Is? — 7 Comments

  1. These are all really good points. It takes a good vet you can trust and a careful eye to even get close when you’re dealing with taking in adult cats from shelters or the streets.

    Another thing to consider is the tendency toward health and vigor for pure black cats (well, who may have small bits of white here and there). I rescued my Spooky from my trash cans in 1998. At the time, the vet aged him at between 4-6, which means he’s between 18-20 now. He only started showing advanced age traits in the last 2-3 years: sleeping more; losing some weight — but he’s a BIG BOY and always has been so it’s hard to see that he’s not as beefy as he used to be since he’s bigger than most cats, and he’s no longer on free feed; getting white hairs and white whiskers; walking a little more slowly; jumping less, though he can still jump up 3 feet onto our bed when he wants.

    And I may have posted before about my Sisko, who died earlier this year at nearly 15. Until hyperthyroidism made him skeletal (despite the meds), you would not have known at all he was a senior cat. He was still very agile and active and lithe and still played all the time, etc…

  2. Excellent observations for determining a cats approximate age.I remember being cheated buying my first pet in 1976, a spitz bitch from “Crawford Market”, Mumbai’s most famous pet maket.The pet shop owner told me that she was a year old and i renamed her “Blondie” her previous pet shop name being “Pyari(Loving in Hindi language)” paying a princely sum of Rs 350(1976), all my years collected savings of “Pocket money”.Blondie later developed “Cataract”in both eyes and went blind although she managed her way in our flat just by scent.She lived with us upto 1984, succumbing to cancer and old-age.In hind-sight i presume she must have definitely been a few years old when i purchased her in 1975.Although this article is not about a cat, i just want to bring to notice that its difficult to tell the exact age of cats or dogs since i owned both and at present living with two Traditional Persian cats .

    • I agree Rudolph, it is difficult just on appearance. This leaves the door open for misrepresenting age by shelters and sellers. Cats and dogs have less obvious signs of aging than people it seems to me. One reason is we can’t see the skin and the aging of skin is probably the most obvious sign of advancing years in people. Behavior is important to.

  3. Thanks for the pigment marks in the iris comment. My cat Spot was at least 14 when he died and still had the clearest amber eyes you’ve ever seen. I can understand cataracts making the eye cloudy but that’s not a steadfast sign a cat is old. Now I’ll be looking for pigments. Sealy also has the prominent shoulder blades. Hopefully these will fill out as he gains more weight.

    • Hi ELisa, I think the brown spot(s) of pigment in the iris is like a liver spot (large freckle) on hands. I am probably wrong on that but it looks like that. And it is an individual cat thing. Some cats have a genetic predisposition to them I suppose.

  4. It can be tricky assessing the age of a cat beyond the age when they are obviously young cats.

    I tend to go on condition of teeth, belly (pot belly!), grey hairs sprout out around the face and shoulders, pigment marks in the iris (dark marks in the iris). These are the major appearance factors that, for me, help to determine age.

    I wonder if rescue centers tend to under age their cats to encourage adoptions. If they did it would make sense.

    They know that kittens tend to get adopted so the general trend is towards young cats.

    People prefer young cats. Ironically older cats are better companions. They are more relaxed and less adventurous so present less of a management problem to the ‘owner’.

    How the rescue center aged Tom at 2 when he was a geriatric is beyond me unless it was a cynical bit of misrepresentation to get him adopted.

    Mind you he does not look 15 years of age. He looks in good condition and middle aged.

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