Sign Up for Cat Talk
Get the latest health and behavior news and
advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.

News April 26, 2019

Translating Cat Years to Human Years

The time-worn cat age formula no longer holds true. Here's how you can determine the life stage of your kitten or cat.

Newsflash for cat lovers: You can forget that popular belief that you can determine your cat’s age in human years by simply multiplying his age by seven. A cat celebrating his first birthday is actually the equivalent of a person who is 15 years old, a 10-year-old cat is the equivalent of 56, and a 17-year-old cat is the equivalent of 84, according to the new Feline Life Stages Guidelines developed jointly by the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the American Animal Hospital Association.

Kittenhood ends at seven months old, marking the transition to the “junior” years, according to the guidelines.

A cat’s “prime” years begin on the third birthday (the equivalent of 28 human years). These prime years end with the onset of the “mature” stage at age seven (the equivalent of 44 human years). Senior cat years begin at age 11 (60 human years), a stage when veterinarians begin to focus more on diseases associated with aging. The geriatric cat stage begins at 15, or 76 human years.

kitten held in arms

iStock / Getty Images Plus/ demaerre

Why “Cat Years” Are So Helpful

This new cat age calculator was developed to outline life stage wellness programs in order to aid the veterinary community in delivering the most comprehensive care for cats. The specific goals are to provide recommendations for optimal health care throughout the different life cycles of a cat, and to facilitate improved veterinary visits between client and veterinarian.

Comments (3)

MY OLDEST KITTY LIVED TO THE RIPE OLD AGE OF 20 1/2! MOST OF MY 15 KITTIES I HAVE LEFT ARE BETWEEN 4 YRS AND 15 YR. ALWAYS THOUGHT THE FIRST 4 YEARS WERE COUNTED AS 4 YEARS PER YEAR, THEN 7 AFTER THAT. GROWING UP IN THE 60'S I ALWAYS HEARD 7 YRS PER ONE CAT YEAR?

Posted by: debicat69 | April 29, 2019 7:09 PM    Report this comment

The guidelines were published in 2010 so they aren't exactly new or even recent. That said, I don't think they are widely known. But calling this "news" is click bait-ish.

Posted by: The guidelines are from 2010 so it's not exactly new. That said, I don't think the information is widely known. | April 29, 2019 3:04 PM    Report this comment

This was an interesting article. I have had cats that lived to 1 month shy of 20 years. Would it be possible to post a chart listing a cat's human years equivalent for each year of the cat's life? Thanks!

Posted by: MrsM | April 29, 2019 2:59 PM    Report this comment

New to Tufts Catnip? Register for Free!

Already Registered?
Log In