Cats are a lot like humans in many ways. They love to take care of their babies, they need food and shelter, and they enjoy sitting around the house most of the day.
The one thing that we don’t really know about cats is how old they are when we look at them in human years.
While you might be tempted to think your cat only has another five long years to live, the truth is that the number of years a cat lives in human years is affected by several factors, and the math to figure it out is not as simple as it seems.
Unlike dogs who have an easy formula to figure out how many dog years equals human years (7), cats age differently than humans do so it’s hard to tell what their approximate age is based on looking at them.
Here’s how cat years work
Cats age by a process called ‘compression,’ which means that they grow up faster than we do and live for about three times as long.
This is because cats sleep more, have slower metabolism rates, use less energy when hunting prey or running from predators, and are generally very laid back animals who don’t move around much unless it’s necessary to get food or defend themselves against something scary (like another animal).
All of this adds up to the fact that one year in human years equals seven cat years – making kittens only six months old actually be twenty-six in human terms!
But how does it make them seem older?
There are Generally 6 Stages in a Cat’s Life
The first stage of a cat’s life is the birth stage, this stage starts with pregnancy. Cats have a gestation period of about 65-70 days, but they have a shorter pregnancy than humans do.
In fact, kittens can be born as early as 56 days into a pregnancy. Cats can have anywhere from 4-6 kittens, but on average, they have 3.
Kittens are like babies in the way that they’re completely dependent on their mother and need to be with them at all times.
They can’t hunt for food or defend themselves if they come across something scary. Kittens will also stay small forever – but as soon as a cat reaches maturity, it starts aging quickly by compressing time.
As kittens get older, they start getting more independent from their mothers and slowly learn how to do things like hunt prey and defend themselves against predators without mom’s help.
The development process is kind of slow though because cats sleep so much of the day! This means that when your kitten becomes an adult (around two years old), he’ll have aged about six human years instead of twenty.
3. Adolescence/young adulthood (12 months – 24 months or longer, depending on breed)
Your cat is growing up! It may not seem like it, but your little kitty is going through a lot of changes.
If you have a kitten, you may not be able to tell what is happening to her body, but if you have a cat that is a year or older, you might see some of those changes starting to happen.
4. Adult life (24+ month)
While kittens cannot be considered adults until the age of 12 months, most cats are considered adults when they are 24 months old.
A male cat is considered an adult by the age of 15 months and a female cat is considered an adult when she is 18 months old.
5. Old age (>12 years )
Old cats are often referred to as “the elder statesmen of the cat world.” The average lifespan for a pet cat is 15 years.
6. And finally death.
However, there have been some reports of cats living up into their 30s! But in general, if you live with your kitty for at least 20 good years as this author has… well that’s pretty darn amazing. And also really sad when it all comes crashing down one day…. 🙁
I would say that the average cat has an age of 12 years old. This is how long we can expect them to live and be healthy, happy cats. However, some may not make it past this time period due to illness or injury.