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Cat Years: What Are They & How Long Do Cats Live?

kitten very young in cat years
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You may know your cat’s age in human years, but measuring your cat’s age in “cat years” is another story.

There is a common misconception that every human year equals seven cat years. This is not how you accurately measure out cat years, which isn’t an exact number.

There are many things to consider when calculating cat years. Cats age more quickly at certain stages in life and more slowly in others.

The point of figuring out your cat’s age in cat years isn’t to come up with an exact comparison to human years. It’s just an estimate that can help you understand your kitty’s health and needs as they age.

Here’s what you should know about cat years and how long cats tend to live.

Calculating Cat Years In The First Two Human Years

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Cats age most rapidly between birth and the age of two human years.

During their first year, cats age to the human equivalent of 15. So, a one-year-old kitten is a actually a broody 15-year-old teenager in cat years.

By age two, it is generally agreed that–in cat years–your cat is now roughly equal to the human age of 25.

Calculating Cat Years After Two Human Years

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There’s not an exact conversion when it comes to cat years and human years. However, it is estimated that after the age of two, every human year equals roughly four cat years.

This means that your five-year-old cat is about 37 years old in cat years.

Why It’s Important To Think In Terms Of Cat Years

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While knowing your cat’s age in cat years is fun, it’s also helpful when considering your cat’s health.

Because a year time frame in a cat’s life is so significant, it’s important to schedule regular veterinary check-ups for your kitty.

When your cat grows into a senior cat-izen, it’s especially important to note that illnesses and conditions like arthritis or abnormal organ function can seemingly “come out of the blue.”  

In reality, your cat simply ages much faster than you, and keeping a regular vet schedule will help prevent these illnesses from cutting years out of your cat’s life.

How Long Do Cats Live?

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The lifespan of a cat depends on a variety of factors.

In the wild, domestic cats average a lifespan between four to five years. Dangers like cars, predators, being captured and euthanized by animal control, and lack of food and shelter often lead to a shorter lifespan for feral cats.

For cats not living in the wild who don’t have any serious health afflictions, the average lifespan is between 12 and 15 years.

Of course, regular vet visits, a healthy diet, and an active lifestyle for your kitty will help them live as long and as happily as they can.

What Cat Has Lived The Longest?

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Creme Puff, a cat who was born in 1967 and died in 2005, is said to be the oldest cat in recorded history.

She lived to an age of 38 years and 3 days old in human years, which puts her at 169 years old in cat years!

Creme Puff and her other feline family members–many who also lived into their 30s–were fed raw, natural food diets–no processed canned or kibble. That may have helped them all live so long. However, you should talk to your veterinarian before changing your cat’s diet.

Does your cat act their age in cat years? Or does it seem like they act more their age in human years? Let us know in the comments below!


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