Examining Your Cat’s Teeth
Can You Care For The Kittens Yourself
If your local animal shelter has a Wait Until 8® program or something similar, it can help. In a Wait Until 8 program, shelters empower good Samaritans who find kittens to care for those kittens at home. The shelter provides tools and instructions, like kitten care kits, to ensure a kittens caregiver has everything they need.
Call or visit and ask your local shelter if they have this program in place. If not, we encourage you to ask your shelter leaders to adopt the program.Learn more at alleycat.org/WaitUntil8.
Teeth Staining Plaque And Tartar
Cats typically begin to develop staining of their teeth by 2 to 3 years of age. Even cats with very healthy, clean teeth will have a stain line down the middle of their canines by 3 years of age. The more staining to other teeth, the older the cat.
As cats age, they develop plaque and tartar usually starting with the large upper premolars in the very back of their mouth. By around 2 to 3 years of age, you will notice some tartar that increases over time. Older cats tend to have more tartar unless they have their teeth cleaned by a veterinarian. Gingivitis is not a useful proxy for age because some cats have severe gingivitis from a very young age.
Your veterinarian can also evaluate something called pulp/tooth ratio on dental X-rays to estimate your cats age. It is a measure of the width of the pulp cavity relative to the width of the canine tooth . This ratio decreases with age.
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Muscle Tone Another Cat Aging Factor
Muscle tone is another indication of how old your cat is. Kittens are typically quite lean and have not yet accumulated much muscle mass. Healthy adult cats typically have good muscle tone. They shouldnât have protruding bones, and their spine should be straight.
As cats enter their senior years itâs not uncommon for them to begin losing muscle. You may notice your senior catâs shoulder blades or hip bones begin to protrude more than they did previously. Often, senior cats arenât as active as they once were and thus they spend more time sleeping and less time exercising. Naturally, this leads to a loss in muscle definition.
While some muscle loss is normal, excessive muscle loss could be an indication of a serious health issue. Cats with poor nutrition or health problems such as kidney disease could struggle to maintain body weight and muscle tone. If you notice a sudden, significant decline in muscle mass in your aging cat, speak to your veterinarian.
How Can You Tell The Age Of A Kitten
Mychelle had her own dog and cat behavior consulting business for about ten years, where she taught group and individual obedience and worked in clients’ homes to help resolve behavior issues.
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Bringing home a kitten doesn’t always mean you’ll know the kitten’s birth date. Sometimes kittens that are adopted from shelters, found as strays, or received through means other than a breeder may have no known exact age.
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Cat Years Calculator Principles
It’s a common misconception that one year in the life of a cat is equivalent to seven human years. In reality, the cat years calculation is a bit more complicated. Kittens grow fast while they’re still young, but the older they are, the slower the aging process becomes. It means that after one year, your cat is as old as a seven-year-old human child, but for older cats, each year is equivalent to only four human years.
Naturally, not all cats age alike. A cat that lives outdoors will generally have a shorter life than an indoor cat. Additionally, while typical felines live about 10-15 years, certain breeds age slower or faster. Still, this cat age calculator should give you a good idea of the seniority of your cat.
Would you like to find out even more about cats? Try one of our handy tools!
Observe Activity And Grooming Habits
Your cats activity level and grooming habits may also provide some clues about their age. Most younger cats and kittens are highly playful and active, but their activity level tapers off as they get older.
Younger cats tend to be meticulous groomers, but as cats age, arthritis and general lack of mobility can make it more difficult for them to groom themselves as thoroughly.
Your vet can help you weigh all the above factors and then make an educated guess about your cats age. Unless you know your cats birth date, theres no way to calculate their precise age, but with your vets input, you can estimate how old your cat might be.
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What Are The Signs Of A Senior Cat
With this in mind, there are some physical indicators that can help you get a sense of your own cats age, particularly as your adult cat reaches the senior life stage.
- Teeth: Yellow stains and tartar build-up, missing teeth
- Coat: Graying fur, as well as thicker, coarser fur in comparison to young cats
- Eyes: Cloudiness, tearing, and discharge
- Activity level: Less activity, weight or muscle loss , arthritis is also more common
- Behavioral changes: More meowing, more wandering around, increased level of anxiety, confusion or disorientation
If youre unsure how old your cat is, you can always turn to your veterinarian for more information. Your vet will be able to use physical and behavioral markers to help make the best estimate of your cats age.
The Benefits Of Keeping A Kitten With Her Litter
There are many benefits to leaving a kitten with her mother and littermates until 8-12 weeks. As cat advocate Hannah Shaw, The Kitten Lady, explains, the benefits include improved immune health, good manners, and resilience.
1. Lifelong health
Cats that were taken away from their mothers too early can be prone to illness. This can result from missing out on maternal antibodies and nutrition that come from mother cats milk. Dr. Morgan writes, Maternal immunity is passed from the mother to the newborns through colostrum, which is the first milk on which they feed. The colostrum contains a lot of antibodies If the kitten misses out on the colostrum during the first 24 hours, they will not be able to absorb the antibodies later and will be left unprotected from disease.
2. Playing nice
Kittens learn a lot about manners from their mothers and their littermates. Gentle play is good manners, and its a very important skill for a well-mannered cat to have. A kittens mother and siblings let them know when they are playing too rough. Most cat lovers have met cats that dont have this skill, and we have the bite marks to prove it!
3. Making friends
Life skills like grooming and litter box use arent innate behaviors in catsthey have to be learned from a kittens mother. Ive lived with a gorgeous long-hair cat with poor grooming skills. It aint pretty, and it is smelly!
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How Long Does The Average Cat Live
A cat’s lifespan varies with lifestyle and genetics. With optimal health and good genes, a well-nourished and well-exercised indoor-only cat will typically live longer than indoor-outdoor cats. According to a college of veterinary medicine, the average lifespan for indoor only cats is 10-15 years. With that said, indoor-outdoor cats usually live longer than strays and ferals. While this is simply the average, there are always exceptions to every rule.
If You Arent Sure How Old Your Cat Is There Are A Few Easy Ways To Find Out
You might not know your cats age, especially if you adopted your feline friend from a shelter. However, this information is extremely beneficial as it enables you to provide them with the care they need as they progress through life. For instance, your vet will be on the lookout for certain conditions that typically emerge at particular ages, and youll also know when its time to switch your cat from kitten food to adult cat food.
If youre wondering how old your cat is, the following tips can help you determine their approximate age.
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A Guide To Feline Aging
Jillian Dara is a fact checker for The Spruce Pets, reviewing articles about pet care and pet products for factual accuracy and consistency. She has more than five years of experience in lifestyle editing and media and has been published in a variety of prestigious outlets.
It’s a known fact cats develop and age rapidly. While we may wish our kittens and adult cats could live as long as we do, cats develop differently than humans. For example, by 1 year of age, kittens are as mature as a 15-year-old human child, while a four year old cat is in the prime of their life as the equivalent of a 32-year-old in human.
While the rapid maturity of cats may be shocking, even relatively long-lived cats do not live as long as we would like them to. On the plus side, the relative age of cats can depends on factors including genetics, diet, lifestyle, and veterinary care. Although cat owners cannot control much when it comes to heredity, we can make positive choices for our pets when it comes to the other factors.
Cat Age Chart: How Old Is Your Cat In Human Years
Youve probably heard the saying that one year of a cats life is equal to seven human years.
What you may not have heard is that this is a myth that many of us have come to believe about cats and dogs for that matter.
Why is that?
Generally, its thought that the one year to seven years calculation for both cat years and dog years was created to simply demonstrate that our pets age much faster than we do.
When it comes to cats, however, our feline friends actually age much faster than you might expect. How do you accurately calculate your cats age to human years?
Lets dig in
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How To Calculate Cat Age In Human Years
Itâs commonly stated that one human year is the equivalent of 7 cat years. This is an effort to demonstrate that cats age more quickly than humans. However, they do not age proportionately.
Cats reach maturity at a much faster rate than humans in the beginning of their lives. Once they reach adulthood, their aging slows down.
Itâs difficult to draw a direct comparison between a catâs age and its human equivalent, but the general consensus is that a cat ages the equivalent of 15 human years in the first year of their life.
From 2 years on, experts believe cats age at a rate of approximately 4 human years per cat year.
Some Kittens May Reach Their Full Size In 12 Months
How quickly your kitten reaches his full size depends on how big he is going to get. The bigger his breed, the longer it will take him to be fully grown. Kittens typically stop growing by the age of 12 months.1 However, larger breeds like Maine Coons can take up to two years to reach their full size. Growth typically slows significantly after 12 months, with a fast growth spurt occurring in the first eight weeks.2
It’s worth noting that most cats will reach sexual maturity before they are fully grown. This is similar to a teenager going through puberty, which happens when a kitten is six to nine months of age.3 Around this time, you might consider spaying or neutering your cat. A male cat can father kittens before he’s fully grown, and a female cat can get pregnant before she’s fully grown as well.
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How To Convert Cat’s Age To Human Years
You can understand your cat’s development more easily if you have a general idea of his age in human years.
Variables such as genetics, diet, environment, and access to routine preventative medical care can alter your cat’s comparative human age. Although you might not have any control over the cat’s heredity, you do have options for controlling the other factors which control your cat’s aging process.
Nine Weeks To Six Months
Teeth: Once your kitten is between three and four months old, adult teeth will start to push out the baby teeth. By the time hes six to seven months old, all of his adult teeth should be in place.
Weight: Until hes five months old, most kittens gain one pound every month. Therefore, a four-pound kitten is probably four months old. Until they are 12 months old, kittens eat solid food designed for their growing needs.
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Why Is My Cat Losing Her Teeth
This occurs when plaque builds up along the gum line, separating the teeth from the gums and causing the teeth to loosen and fall out. Cats six years and older are particularly at risk. If your cats tooth loss is accompanied by stinky breath, it could be a sign of infectionsuch as an abscessed tooth.
One Year: No Longer A Kitten
By the time your kitten reaches their first birthday, a kitten is no longer considered a kitten but is now a full-grown cat. Although they may still engage in kittenish behavior and may still have some additional growing to do, your newly adult cat is ready to transition to a high-quality adult cat food formula. Follow the recommended feeding guidelines on your kitty’s new cat food to determine how much to feed.
Although a cat is considered an adult by one year of age, developmentally speaking, kitten adolescence typically lasts until a cat reaches eighteen months or so. During this time, a cat might still exhibit the energetic playfulness of a kitten, as well as typical “teenager” behavior, which may include testing boundaries and acts of rebellion like scratching the furniture or marking territory. According to the kitten growth chart at Raising Happy Kittens, your kitty may become less affectionate during this time. But not to worry. Usually, cats start to mature and settle down after the eighteen-month mark, and by their second birthday your cat will have fully grown into their adult personality.
Watching a kitten grow from a tiny newborn to a full-grown cat is a wondrous thing. Knowing what to expect as your kitten grows will empower you to help them grow into a healthy and happy companion.
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How Old Is My Cat
PetMD says determining the age of a kitten is highly dependent on its weight and teeth. Until a kitten reaches six months, the kitten gains about a pound of weight every month. Kittens will also have all of their adult teeth by seven months. If your kitten is younger than six or seven months, it is possible to identify its approximate age. However, an unhealthy kitten may stray from these rules of thumb, according to PetMD.
The amount of tartar on your cats teeth can also be a signal of age, with less tartar accompanying a younger cat, PetMD notes. This is not foolproof, though, as some cats will have worse or better teeth than others.
The cloudiness of your cats eyes can be used to identify their age around 6 or 7, but it will only be noticeable to a veterinarian, PetMD says. Once a cat is 10 years old, an average owner may notice cloudiness. This is natural and not an issue with your pets health.
If your cats grooming process has lost thoroughness, this is also a sign of your pets growing age, according to PetMD.
To gain a truly accurate idea of your cats age, PetMD recommends owners take their feline friend to the vet for a health assessment. This can reveal any health issues while also giving you a better idea of how old your cat is.
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