An older woman cuddling an older senior black cat.
An older woman cuddling an older senior black cat. Photography © GrapeImages | E+ / Getty Images Plus.

How to Calculate Cat Years to Human Years

One cat year does not equal seven human years. Read on for tips on determining your cat’s age and check out a helpful cat years to human years chart.

A popular misconception is that cats age seven years (in human years) for each calendar year. In fact, feline aging is much more rapid during the first two years of life. A cat reaches the approximate human age of 15 during his first year, then 24 at age 2. Each year thereafter, a cat ages approximately four cat years for every calendar year. Thus, a cat who is 5 in cat years would be approximately 36 in human years.

Note: It should be remembered that a cat who lives outdoors ages far more quickly, perhaps even twice as fast, than an indoor cat. Scroll to the bottom of this article to find out more about cat to human years for outdoor cats.

Indicators of a Cat’s Age

If you’ve taken in a stray cat or adopted a cat whose age is unknown, there are some ways to determine her age in cat years. Here are some things vets check to get a general sense of how old a cat is:

  1. A Cat’s Teeth: Teeth are a great indicator of a cat’s age in cat years. Older cats tend to have more staining than younger cats, assuming the previous owner was negligent in brushing the cat’s teeth. And a kitten’s teeth first come in between two to four weeks; their more permanent set appears at around four months of age. So if you open a cat’s mouth and find permanent, white teeth, the feline is likely to be around a year old. Some yellowing might place the cat between 1 and 2, and tartar build-up on all the teeth indicates that the cat could be between 3 and 5. Missing teeth may mean you have a senior cat on your hands.
  2. A Cat’s Muscle Tone: Younger cats are more likely to have some muscle definition from their higher activity level. Older cats are usually a bit bonier and may have some extra skin hanging or protruding shoulder blades.
  3. A Cat’s Coat: The condition of a cat’s coat is another great indicator of a kitty’s age in cat years. Kittens and younger cats usually have soft, fine coats, whereas older cats tends to have thicker, coarser fur. A senior cat may display grays or patches of white.
  4. A Cat’s Eyes: Bright, clear eyes without tearing or eye discharge are common in younger cats. A cat with some cloudiness in their eyes is likely to be 12 years old or so. While inspecting the lens, also examine the iris of the eye. Young cats have smooth irises, while the iris of an old cat can sometimes appear somewhat jagged.

A Cat’s Life Span

Felines are generally quite long-lived, though mileage varies depending on owner maintenance and genetic predisposition. In a handful of documented cases, cats have exceeded 30 years in age. Typically, indoor cats may live 12 to 18 years, with many surviving into their 20s.

Outdoor Cats Life Expectancy — How Long Do Outdoor Cats Live, in Cat Years?

Outdoor cats can have a significantly shorter life span then indoor-only cats, often living only two to five years. Pet parents in urban and suburban areas are strongly encouraged to keep their cats indoors.

Tell us: How old is your cat in cat years? How old is your cat in human years?

Top Photo: © GrapeImages | E+ / Getty Images Plus.

This piece was originally published in 2017. 

Read Next: The Golden Years – When Your Cat is 15

182 thoughts on “How to Calculate Cat Years to Human Years”

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  7. They come into our lives often at times when we are not looking for one, They offer pure love, no hate, no greed just love & trust

    Someone once said it’s better to love and lost than to never have love

    To me words of wisdom for the world would be a darker place with out the love of those not like us. but know how to love and who to trust and know there safe at all times for mommy monster protects us and we can do no wrong In her eyes

    Bless all who open their doors & Smile when you find them sleeping like a baby

  8. I got my black silver mackerel tabby when my neighbor abandoned him at 6 years old.
    last March he turned 19 years old 93 in people years in Sep he will be 95 in people yrs.

  9. My calico kitten was six weeks old in November when she found me. I was going through a bout of depression and had been asking the Lord for help. When I went in the back yard she was there and would not leave for two days. Finally I took her in, named her Tumbleweed as she looked like a tumbleweed, took her to the vet. She is a feisty cat but also very adorable and has been a good medicine for me as she keeps me laughing.

  10. My cats are all ferals. Patches had 3 kittens when I brought them in from living outside. When I took her to the vet to have her spayed, I asked how old is she? At the time, her kids were 7 months. The vet said “7 months”!!!!!! I was like “Oh, GEE WIZ!!! Then she would have had to have been BORN pregnant!!!!!” Then they said about 2 or 3 years. I had known her for more than a year and had been working on getting her to trust me. I later added a 5th cat, another very young feral. They all love living here, even Patches, although Patches DID have to learn a new, difficult concept…how to play!!!

  11. My 20 year old Chance left this world cradled in my arms the 3rd week of July. I had just returned from a vacation with my sons family. She waited for me. She looked up into my face and I smiled at her, and she was gone. She was my cat. I missed her terribly. I put my hand down to pet her and she wasn’t there. After 4 weeks I got my BFF and we went to the animal shelter. I adopted Molly who was 4 weeks old. She is laying beside the computer now. I am glad I read this article. It was very informative. Thank you.

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  13. My kitty turned 20 years old in human years a few weeks ago. I didn’t do the math for cat years but he would exceed 100 years in cat years.

  14. We got our cat Bruiser was he was 6 weeks old. He is now 15 years old so that makes him 76 in cat years. He is a big boy @ 22 lbs an is a real mushball . He developed arthritis several years ago. We give him glucosamine daily and he gets an adequan shot once every 3 weeks. He loves to hang on the couch with us and loves to be touched. He purrs and purrs. He is getting up there in age and I can’t imagine life without him!

    1. I just wanted to comment on your message. I can relate to you saying that you can’t imagine life without your cat.
      I say that about my Smokey almost everyday . He is my world and has helped me get through so many things in life . He is going on 10 years old he is a large cat in length and very affectionate . I hope you have many more years with your cat as I have hope for Smokey to live many more years as well .

  15. My cat was 19 years old , Persian female , her name was Beauty . She died today in the afternoon , when I came back from work , I notated something wrong with my parent , when I asked them what happened , they told me that Beauty died hours ago and they could not bury her unit I come back , I was in shook could not believe them , my cat that I had her since high school , she was a part of my family and all my family members loved her specially my nephews .

    1. Animals often aren’t JUST pets. They really DO become part of the family. It is never easy to lose a family member. A study recently revealed that losing a pet is just as difficult as losing a family member. THEY AREN’T PETS!!!!!!!!!! Of course it is just as difficult…THEY ARE FAMILY!!!!!!! My condolences to you and your family on your loss. :(

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  18. I have two cats, Serena and Venus, and they just turned one. I thought they were so young until I saw this website. They are so cute, in my opinion, and they love to play.

  19. My cat Princess lived to be 22 yrs + 3 months into her 23rd year of life. I can’t even calculate that in cats yrs, just know it’s very old. She was only an indoor cat when w/me, but my neighbor bought her from the pet store around the corner as a little 8 week old kitten. They let her in & outside running on the roads & even winter temps here in NY below freezing, that poor little kitten, I used 2 pick her up & take her inside to her home, would give her 2 them & say keep her indoors. Thankfully, they gave her to me when she was almost 1 yr old, b/c they moved. She later developed slow growing kidney disease & she had a mild stroke at about age 20, but recovered very well from it. She just stopped eating one day & I knew it was time to let her go. She was just tired my vet said. She was comfortable, not in any pain, was able to get up & down from my bed using a small end table that had 2 levels like stairs almost & she would use that very well. But, how I knew she was ready to go, she had no interest in water, food or anything. So, I let my Princess go @ 22 yrs + 3 mths., into her 23rd yr of life. She had a happy life & was loved very much. I was blessed w/her long life. I had other cats too that lived long. Ages. 22 yrs. 21, yrs, 19.5 yrs, etc. I take excellent care if them. My present cat just turned 8 yrs on July 4, 2019, Kay, she is still very active. Loves to play, still jumps far & high, no slowing down for her. I just switched her to the raw frozen dried food & she loves it. I noticed her soft fur became softer even, couldn’t imagine that, she sheds less & scratches her fur less. I also give her Solid Gold indoor dry food to substitute an all frozen raw dried food, cuz it’s too expensive to feed her all the time. She gets the raw everyday, but is given the kibble the rest of the day. She’s happy & healthy. I began giving her Greenies to keep her teeth white. She doesn’t have any tarter on her teeth, cuz, I believe the use of dry kibble keeps teeth whiter than canned food. But, now I’m going to attempt brushing her teeth, I know she won’t like, but I’m going 2 do it, or try to. I bought many objects now to clean her teeth, a rubber fish U put cat nip in, the rubber fish has nubs on it that cleans teeth as the cat bites the fish. Niffy idea! I also bought those cleaning dental pads to wipe her teeth clean, figured that might allow her to get used to things in her mouth. My finger rubbing her teeth w/a soft dental pad, then graduate to the dental glove w/a more corse forefinger to but tooth paste on & rub as much as I can, then hopefully, eventually grow into a small cat’s toothbrush w/salmon flavored toothpaste on it, for a successful daily dental care to hopefully keep infections down, organs healthier & her life longer. I read up about those drops U put in water to prevent tartar, from medical advice the veterinary view was not to do it. Overtime, those drops can cause organ damage & disease. I was very skeptical about that, so I researched it, & found my gut feeling was correct. Nothing really works better than good brushing everyday. Those chews, Greenies, & other bite things R helpful, but in addition to brushing. I have discovered this is the best way to go for excellent dental care for your pets. ????????

    1. Princess sounds like she was a beautiful kitty. I loved reading about her and her long and splendid life! I just lost my baby Mercedes – a breathtakingly beautiful calico who loved to trill – she was estimated to be 9-12, I adopted her a few years ago.. when I got her fixed the vet said she was quite in good health besides a heart murmur. About a year and a half later she had difficulty breathing and that suddenly turned in to Congestive heart failure and we tried everything to treat it, and she wouldn’t eat and then she stopped drinking water. My kitty was a fighter but we had to give her peace, it was the hardest day of my life.

  20. I’ve had cats most of my life.. all enjoyed being able to run across the lawn and up trees.. amazing to watch them have so much fun. This was in England. They lived to 21, 19, 18, 17 ,, no vet visits. I live in Aus now and have 2 Bengals who are indoor cats. I must say I feel sorry for them , they should be having loads of fun outdoors. I guess it’s different here in Aus.

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  22. I have two male indoor only cats that are both 19 human years. They don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

  23. My cats that I adopted when they were eight, both Mike and Emma lived to eighteen years old. They were indoor cats and this was the longest I ever had pet cats. Of course, this is the first time I have had indoor only cats. It really does make a difference!

  24. Louise McDowell

    Our cat is 14. She comes inside whenever she wants. She doesn’t use a litter box, we have one but the only time she uses it is if she just can’t get outside or we won’t let her. Especially in the winter when it’s going to be cold at night. Do cats that live inside and outside ( combination) have the same life expectancy as cats that live outside all the time?

    1. Hi Louise,

      Thanks for reaching out! Regarding cats being indoor vs. outdoor, we do address this in the article, but here is another article that might provide further insight:

  25. My Cymeric Aspen is 21 as of May 2019. She was a rescue cat when I saved her in 2001. She had a chip is how I know her age.

    She is the loudest purring cat I have ever heard.

  26. Yes I have a 6 year old and a 8 month old pixie Bob’s and they are wonderful cats.My son got me a beautiful male pix I Bob for my birthday his the oldest of the two an he loves to talk an play. For my 8 month old pixie bob she more prissy . They both are wonderful cats . M y cats don’t like strangers. I have been blessed with these two. My male is the father to my girl an they are so much alot. You would have thought he gave birth to her.

  27. My first batch of indoor always cats have lived to
    two of them 15.5 years one had cancer the other late stage dementia
    one is nearly sixteen but now has hyperthyroidism. Its been a new experience having them live this long. All were very healthy til fourteen or fifteen.

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  29. I just had to have my beautiful Calico of 14 yrs 7 months put to sleep. She was not doing well due to unregulated Diabetes and most likely Pancreatitis. She fought hard for 7 long months but I figured she needed to be free rather than keep sticking her with needles or adding more meds (that she would not take anyway). I will miss her dearly. So almost 15 so close to 76 or more.

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  31. My current cats are: 16 yrs, 8 yrs, 5 yrs, 4 yrs and 3 months old from oldest to youngest. The oldest cat I’ve had lived to be 23 though. They’ve all been wonderful friends that I’ve been blessed to have in my life. People know that if they find kittens that need a home, they can call my family and we’ll give them a loving home. I hope to never have a period in life where I don’t have a cat. (I also have 2 dogs! Both 8 years old :)

  32. Holy crap, our oldest cat Ginger is over 120years old!! He’s diabetic and on painkillers, but he could still win any beauty contest in my eyes. Wow, what an interesting article, thank you!

  33. Our guy was born on our property in August 2002. He is feral, even though we have tried mightily to coax him in. He was 1 of 4 kittens. We kept him because he was so timid and we feared for him. His wonderful mother was feral as well and she taught him, painfully, that we were not to be trusted. Oh, it was okay if she was petted, and crooned over , but he had to keep his distance! She died 3 years ago. She might have been 15. Since he needed help staying warm we took the straw out of their sleep box and put in a heated pad with wool and fleece blankets. outside the door which had heavy plastic strips we put straw for cooler sleeping. He eats well, both wet and dry food, he likes courses. and drinks warm water in cold weather. Still plays, comes when called, and hears well. Our son installed a cat cam and watching him yesterday I called him and instantly his head popped up and he came to the deck. The cat cam is so comforting as we can keep an eye on him. Love the website, there are so many cat lovers!

    1. Elaine M Hutzelman

      I have read that cats can’t control their body temperature well, and it isn’t recommended to put a heating pad in their bed or wherever they sleep. Straw is preferred as it works well with moisture. If you want to make an outdoor house for feral cats, there is an inexpensive way to do it- just Google it and it shows you all the steps and what you need. Sounds as though he isn’t totally feral if he comes when called. You just may be surprised one day when he decides to come in and be an indoor cat!

    2. Hi. We had 2 feral cats many years ago. I put food under bush for them, and moved it nearer to door every day. Eventually got them to eat inside door, and then kitchen. I would lay on hall floor to b at their height, and put my hand out to them. It took about 6 months, but did come in. After all my effort, they would sit on my husbands lap! Lol. One went off after 18months. The other stayed for 7 years, but think he got killrd on road. Then, surprise, the other cat came back! We only had him for 6 months before he died on road. 10 years ago, a brother and sister cat moved in with us from next door.(they had a cruel boy) we lost the male 3 months ago, and female has to have special diet because she has kidney probs. They both very loving. He loved his garden and is now buried under apple tree.

    1. Amen, you are blessed. Hope you have lots more time with your best friends. My 21 year old tuxedo male is showing his age but still going strong,..losing it mentally & physically a tad but if a human was over 100 years old, it seems to be the same. The way I calculate a cats age is this… If your cat can outlive your marriage then it wins!

  34. My one cat is 17 and the other is 18. They are both very healthy, lively cats. People are shocked when I tell them their ages. The 17 year old still loves to play and climb trees.

  35. My girls are 2 and 11. My 11 year old (Willa) would mother the 2 year old (Lena) when she was 6 months which included cat discipline and hunting mice. I adopted my 11 yr old when she was 7. The shelter said she is not good with other cats but they were wrong. She still hisses at the 2 year old when she looks at her but will clean her after and they play all the time. I think when she does hiss she just tells her to be polite. If she growls, it means she does not feel like playing because it’s her nap time. But sometimes, Lena can be persistent..then she is like “fine, let’s play” lol. :)

    1. My male cat who is 8 sort of fathered my female cat who is now 1 but when she was a kitten brought her home, i sort of did it differently where i just opened the carrier door and let her come out on her own, instead of putting her in a room on her own, my male cat came in went over to the carrier looked inside the kitten hissed at him, he walked away and the kitten followed him, but now hes getting on he doesnt really bother shes really bouncy

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  37. My cat is 17 years old. She is getting quite frail. But she still eats and drinks. She will even play some sometimes. She is all black with a smidgen of white on her chest. Her name is Licorice. She comes when she is called. I am doing my best to keep her well. I want her to be with me always. I love Licorice so much. ????

  38. I think that by “outdoor” cat they mean ferile cats where, in addition to uncertain nutrition and illness and injury from fights, there is the major hazard of cars. A cat that spends most of her/her time outdoors but is looked after and can come indoors to warmth and food when needed is not an “outdoor” cat.

    1. A cat that is allowed to range outdoors faces the same hazards as a feral cat does. The only difference is they know where they can always get food and they have access to veterinary care.

  39. My cat is 92 in cat years and is is pretty good health for his age (early-stage chronic kidney failure – kept under control with diet and sub-cu fluids a 2 times a week). But, unfortunately, over the past year or two, he has gone neatly completely deaf. It took us a long time to diagnose it – we thought that he was just getting aloof and bored in his old age

  40. My one male cat died at the ripe old age of 100, or 176, depending on how you add it up. He lived inside our home, but was let outside a lot. Probably take the average between the two.

    Also, here’s the rest of the ages, by human, indoor cat, and outdoor cat.

    14 72 120
    15 76 128
    16 80 136
    17 84 144
    18 88 152
    19 92 160
    20 96 168
    21 100 176
    22 104 184
    23 108 192
    24 112 200
    25 116 208
    26 120 216
    27 124 224
    28 118 232
    29 122 240
    30 126 248

    1. My Hoppitty (indoor calico) died a week ago but she lived in human years, 28 years and 94 days. I gave her loving every time I came into the room, petting and brushing everyday as much as she wanted.

      As for brushing I couldn’t tell you how many times I got bit.

      Hoppitty was fed 4 times a day, wet cat food along with Shade is (about 19 according to my vet) now. Shade started off feral when I was peparing a screen she slipped into the room. After 2 months she started to come around and now she is a lover.

      The main thing is, vet checkups and spay or nuetring help your cats more often then not to live a long life.

      1. Kendall McNally

        My cat Lex will be 1 in cat years and 15 in human years on June 29th 2019! Am I saying that right? Well any way you guys get the jist of it lol and he is my emotional support/service cat!

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