How Old Is My Cat in Human Years?

CatChannel veterinary expert, Arnold Plotnick, DVM, provides a chart for estimating a cat's age as it compares to a person's age.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM

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Man with Cat -- How Old Is My Cat in Human Years?
Cats age fastest when they're young. This slows down the older they are.

Q: Do cats age the same way as dogs? For example, our cat, Bob, is 2 years old. Does that mean that he is 14 years old in cat years? 

A: The notion that dogs and cats age seven years for every one year is a myth that's stuck around for years. If you think about it, some cats can live to be 18 or 19 years old. If they aged seven years for every one year, an 18-year-old cat would be equivalent to a 126-year-old person, clearly not very likely. In my practice, we have at least 10 cats who are over 20 years old, but there are certainly no 140-year-old people. The seven to one rule is just not true.

Cats age faster when they're younger, but this slows down as they get older. At 6 months of age, a female cat already can reproduce. At 1 year of age, cat bones fully stop growing. This occurs in people at approximately 24 years of age, give or take a few years. So, a 1-year-old cat is roughly equivalent to a 24-year-old person. From that point on, cats age approximately four years for every one year. While this is certainly not an exact science, the table below should offer a reasonable guideline as to how cats age compared to humans.

Cat Age     Human Age

6 months     15 years
1 year           24 years
2 years         28 years
3 years         32 years
4 years         36 years
5 years         40 years
6 years         44 years
7 years         48 years
8 years         52 years  
9 years         56 years
10 years       60 years
11 years       64 years
12 years       68 years
13 years       72 years
14 years       76 years
15 years       80 years
16 years       84 years
17 years       88 years
18 years       92 years
19 years       96 years
20 years       100 years

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Reader Comments

Audrey    Grants Pass, OR

4/16/2014 10:39:40 AM

What about those cats older than 20. I have 2 that are 21 and almost 23. Do you continue adding 4 human years to each cat year. That would make them 104 and 108. They are way too active for that. I got my oldest when vet said she was about 2 years old. She was pregnant with her first litter and someone dumped her. The 21 year old was a tiny kitten about 4 weeks old. The older adopted him and nursed him with her brood. She became Momma. Both still run and play and catch lizards to bring in for me to try to catch. They are both very healthy and not showing signs of slowing down.

karen    International

3/20/2014 6:34:05 PM

wow...that means my cat passed away at 20years old was human years 100years olo......

Bill    Hanover Twp., PA

3/20/2014 5:01:34 PM

If I'm not sure the age of my cat,how would I get to know?

Pat    Camarillo, CA

3/20/2014 2:45:38 PM

I have had this theory/formula written down from many years ago so I already knew my 15 year old Burmese Jack Frost is approximately my age (I'll turn 80 this year) We are aging well together!

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