Facts about the animal kingdom

How to Tell a Cat's Age

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: June 11, 2018
How to Tell a Cat's Age

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It is very common that those who adopt a cat from a shelter or directly from the street do not know the exact age of the new member of the family. Although it is not excessively relevant to know, it is important to know approximately, to be able to cater their necessary care or diet.

Whether a kitten, an adult or an older cat, discover in this AnimalWised article how to tell a cat's age.

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  1. How to know the age of a kitten
  2. How to know the age of an adult cat
  3. How to know an old cat's age

How to know the age of a kitten

A cat is considered a kitten from birth until one year of life. Young cats are especially fragile and vulnerable and should not be exposed to the outside until their feline vaccination schedule is updated, mainly to avoid the spread of disease.

At this stage they will start the socialization process and will need very specific care to survive. These include feeding, maintaining their temperature, or sphincter management. At the end of this stage is when we should start teaching our cat to use the scratching post and the sandbox.

  • Between 1 and 10 days of life: The cat cannot do anything by them-self. They are not able to fully lift or open their eyes and only depends on their mother or caregiver. At this moment they are very fragile and usually show a very thick and short coat. We must provide the necessary care to get them going.
  • Between 10 days and 1 month of age: From this moment, the little cat is able to open their eyes and begins to show interest in the environment, progressively. Although they are not able to coordinate their movements well, little by little they will try to improve their balance. It is the moment in which socialization begins.
  • From 1 month: The cat begins to develop and show typical behaviors of an adult. Such as, hunting, active games, corporal hygiene, etc., They will continue showing little coordination in their movements.
  • A month and a half: This is a very revealing moment as the eyes of the kitten acquire their definitive color, losing the characteristic blue of childhood.
  • Between 2 and 3 months: The cat usually weighs approximately 800 grams and 1 kg of weight. They are practically developed and actively experimenting with the environment in which they live.
  • Between 3 and 6 months: From the age of three months the cat begins to show definitive teeth, that is, much brighter and whiter.
  • Between 6 months and 1 year of age: At this stage the cat still shows typical kitten behaviors, but their body begins to reach their adult size.
How to Tell a Cat's Age - How to know the age of a kitten

How to know the age of an adult cat

Adult cats are those that are between 1 and 7 years of age. At this stage the cat has already overcome the process of socialization and begins their sexual maturity, which can lead to urine marking in male cats and the first heat of a feline.

This is the perfect time to consider sterilization, something that we should consult with our veterinarian of confidence. The adult cat, although they can remain playful, begins to have a more stable behavior.

  • From the first year of age: Through the observation of their teeth we can see the slight dimming of their teeth as well as the appearance of tartar. It's the perfect time to start caring for their teeth.
  • Between 2 and 3 years: At this stage it is usual to observe tartar in a cat's teeth. However, it may be difficult, especially if you have never performed dental hygiene on them before.
  • Between 4 and 7 years: Their teeth begin to wear out and the accumulation of tartar is very evident, in addition, their gums develop pigment.

If you have introduced an adult cat to your home and they have not been socialized, check out our article on how to socialize an adult cat.

How to Tell a Cat's Age - How to know the age of an adult cat

How to know an old cat's age

Older cats often show a much more relaxed lifestyle. It is estimated that they reach this stage about seven or eight years of age. However some cats, even exceeding this age can seem very young and be active - it will depend on each cat. Although elderly cats spend more hours sleeping and resting, they usually start to suffer from age-related illnesses such as loss of vision, kidney problems, muscle pain ...

It is very important to be clear about the care for an elderly cat, as they will need a specific diet, a comfortable place to sleep and they will experience pain in their limbs.

  • Between 7 and 10 years: The cat begins to become lazy and the pigmentation of their nose and gums continues. Although they may look like a normal and healthy cat, diseases will begin to develop.
  • Between 10 and 15 years: At this stage the accumulation of tartar in the cat's teeth is very evident. Regardless of the dental hygiene or care we have been able to offer them, their teeth deteriorate as time passes. They begin to lose weight and muscle tone and you can see the trail that sleep has left over time.
  • Between 15 and 20 years: At this stage the aging of the cat is totally evident since in addition to all the health problems they may suffer they will have some gray hair. It is common for them to become thin and their general appearance will be quite unkept, they will also have exaggerated nail growth.
How to Tell a Cat's Age - How to know an old cat's age

If you want to read similar articles to How to Tell a Cat's Age, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.


  • Don't forget to compare you thoughts with those of a vet, who will be best equipped to tell the age of your cat.
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How to Tell a Cat's Age