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How to Calculate Cat Years to Human Years: Cat Age Chart

cat years to human years

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if cats could live as long as we humans and be able to be with us longer? Sadly, cats’ lifespan is much shorter than the human lifespan. But do you know how to calculate cat years to human years?

We all know how old our cat is, when she was born, and how long she has lived with us. Still, that doesn’t mean that their one year of age is equivalent to our year. Knowing our felines’ real age can help us understand their behavior better. As we all know, kittens love to play and act just like kids, and this period lasts for about a year. When cats live for one year, they have actually reached the human age of seven.

cat years to human years
Image by 777jew from Pixabay

For that reason, it is a popular belief that one cat year is equivalent to seven human years. Is that really true? – Well, yes and no.

Table of Contents

Cats Grow Faster in the First Year and Then Slower

Due to this misconception, many people calculate cat years to human years in the seven-year equivalent. Simply put, many believe that if a cat is six years old, she would be 42 years old in human years. This is not quite right. So, when the cat reaches the age of one, she grows the same as a seven-year-old. According to some studies, though, cats in the first two years of their lives are actually grown and have the equivalent human age of 24.

After the second year, each cat year is approximately equivalent to four human years. This is a result of the following calculation – in the first year, the cat has an age of 15; in the second year, the cat has grown 9 more years; after that, each year equals four human years.

cat to human years
Image by Jens Enemark from Pixabay

Cat Age Chart: How to Calculate Cat Years to Human Years

What is the age of your cat? How can you compare it to the human age?

You can use this cat age calculator or do the math yourself. For example, if your cat is 5 years old, it means that she is over 24 years old. After their second year, the equivalent of a human year is four. Therefore, if your cat is five years old, you would need to add four for each year. So, 24 plus three times four, which is 36.

If you aren’t sure how old your cat is, if you’ve adopted it later or taken a stray cat, it’s not hard to determine its approximate age. Some indicators are the cat’s teeth, eyes, and coat. Yellow stains on all their teeth indicate they are at least three years old. If they are missing teeth, they are for sure senior cats, meaning they are over 10 years old.

Looking at a cat’s eyes and seeing some cloudiness also means the cat is older. Soft fur is a sign of a young kitten.

Cat Years to Human Years: A Detailed Guide

Early Years

The first year is the most transformative, equating to a human reaching the point of adulthood at 15 years. This period is known for rapid physical development and behavioral changes as kittens learn essential skills for survival and social interaction.

By the end of the second year, your cat is similar to a 24-year-old human. This stage is important for developing personality traits. Cats at this stage are fully grown, and their care needs start to stabilize, moving away from the unpredictable energy of kittenhood into the more predictable patterns of adulthood.

cat to human age

Adult Years

  • Ages 3 to 6 are the prime of a cat’s life. Each year during this phase can be likened to four human years. It’s a period of stable health, high energy, and mature behavior. Cats in this age group are active, curious, and engaged with their environment and human companions.
  • At this stage, it’s vital to maintain a routine that includes regular playtime, a balanced diet, and preventive veterinary care to address any potential health issues before they become serious.

Senior Years

  • The senior phase begins as cats cross into their seventh year. Here, the aging process is more evident, with possible signs including decreased activity, weight changes, and the beginning of age-related health issues like joint pain or dental problems.
  • Senior cats may require adjustments in their diet to accommodate a slower metabolism. They might benefit from more comfortable resting areas to ease any discomfort from arthritis or other age-related conditions.

Transitioning to the Golden Years

  • As cats advance beyond age 10, they enter what can be considered their golden years. This stage requires closer attention to their health and well-being, with considerations for softer foods, more frequent veterinary visits, and modifications to their living environment to accommodate reduced mobility.
  • Emotional support and comfort become increasingly important as older cats may seek more affection and quiet companionship from their human counterparts.

Factors Influencing Cat Aging

Understanding the factors influencing cat aging is important for any cat owner who wishes to ensure their furry companion leads a long, healthy life. 


Genetics plays a key role in determining cats’ lifespan and aging process. Like humans, cats inherit traits from their parents that can influence their susceptibility to certain diseases and overall longevity. Some breeds, for example, are known for their strong health and longer lifespans, while others may be prone to genetic conditions that could affect their longevity. For instance, Siamese and Manx cats are often cited for their longer-than-average lifespans. In contrast, breeds like the Maine Coon have genetic predispositions to heart conditions that could influence their aging process.

cat age to human age


The saying “you are what you eat” also holds true for cats. Proper nutrition is important for a cat’s health and significantly impacts their aging process. A balanced diet, rich in essential nutrients and appropriate for their life stage, can help prevent obesity, diabetes, and other health issues affecting a cat’s lifespan.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Lifestyle

The decision to keep a cat indoors or allow them outdoors significantly affects their exposure to various risks and, thus, their aging process.

  • Indoor Cats: Generally, indoor cats live longer because they are less exposed to dangers such as traffic, predators, diseases from other animals, and environmental hazards. However, indoor cats can be prone to obesity and related health issues due to lower activity levels unless their owners actively engage them in play and exercise.
  • Outdoor Cats: Outdoor or indoor/outdoor cats often enjoy higher levels of physical activity and mental stimulation, which can contribute positively to their health. However, their increased risk exposure can lead to injuries or shorten their lifespan.


How can I tell the age of a cat?

Determining a cat’s age can be tricky, especially in adopted or rescued cats. However, specific indicators can provide clues, such as teeth condition (younger cats have whiter teeth), eye clarity (older cats may have cloudier eyes), coat quality (older cats may have coarser or thinner fur), and activity level (younger cats are typically more playful and agile).

What are the signs of aging in cats?

Signs of aging in cats include reduced activity levels, decreased agility, more time spent sleeping, changes in weight (loss or gain), dental issues, graying fur, especially around the muzzle, and less frequent grooming, leading to a less shiny coat.

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