Why Don’t Cats Turn Gray with Age, But Dogs Do?

Greying gray cat

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The truth is that the muzzle of a cat does sometimes turn gray in old age (I have seen it first hand) and a study concluded that dog muzzles turn gray due to stress and anxiety (and I presume in old age although there is an overlap here).

The point is that the question in the title is incorrect. The study that I have referred to concerns dogs. That’s because dogs are far more often chosen for studies of this sort because they are easier to handle.

However, cat owners will notice that their elderly cat might have turned gray around the muzzle although it seems to me that the graying is less extensive than in dogs.

The question that I have is how much of the graying is due to stress and how much due to old age. You could argue that old age and increased stress might go together.

The fact that stress causes hairs to go gray in dogs and possibly in cats tells us that ‘pets’ are not that dissimilar to us in many respects. There is not much more to say really.

Click on this link to read about stress and dogs (or pets generally).

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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5 Responses

  1. Sarah Hartwell says:

    Cats age more gracefully than dogs. They slow down and spend even more time asleep. Maybe this graceful slowing reduces the stress on their metabolism and it has the energy to keep maintaining the fur. Dogs still seem to want walkies well into old age, but old cats are part way towards perfecting suspended animation!

  2. Albert Schepis says:

    Thank you, yes he was very handsome, and his personality has been unequaled since. He was my first true love, as far as cats go. It’s hard to talk about how he made every moment around him bright and happy. He opened my eyes to how cats can really be if you let them.

  3. Albert Schepis says:

    One has to look closer, more carefully and for a longer period of time at any cat to see changes to them with age. As with most things in life, it’s a matter of degree, but my black cat Pete showed a change in pigment in his whiskers and also his ears and chest tuft.

    • Frances A Danna says:

      Pete is a very handsome cat. His shiny coat looks so exotic. I love black kitties. With white whiskers he looks even more amazing. ???

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