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How Old Is This Cat? - Aging an Adult Cat

By: PetPlace Staff

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You adopt an adult cat from the local shelter or a stray steals your heart. Either way, you have a new family member. But how old is she? Aging an adult cat is not an exact science, even among veterinarians. But there are some physical clues that will help you determine your new cat's age.

  • The teeth. As with people, kittens lose their baby teeth and develop adult teeth at a predetermined point in life. By the time the kitten is 6 months of age, all the baby teeth have been replaced with adult teeth. After this, the accumulation of tartar and wear of the teeth help narrow down the age range.

    By 2 years of age, the molars typically have some mild tartar. By 5 years, the tartar is more pronounced on the molars and affects the canines as well. This method is not very reliable since the type of diet and whether or not the teeth are brushed can affect tartar buildup.

    By middle to older age, the incisors begin to wear down, and as he ages even more, teeth may begin to fall out. By age 12, some incisors may be missing.

  • The eyes. The presence of lenticular sclerosis can help determine your cat's age. In older cats, the lens of the eye begins to develop signs of aging. Thin lines begin to show up on the lens of the eye at around age 6. The lines do not affect vision and are not the same as cataracts, though they can be confused with cataracts.

  • Gray hair. The graying process on the face varies from cat to cat. As with people, premature graying can occur. For this reason, this is not a reliable method of aging your cat.

    Aging an adult cat is difficult and the best you can ask for is an approximation, which may be off by 2 to 4 years. Thankfully, the age of your cat does not affect her ability to provide you with a loving companion and friend.

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