Why is it important to know how old a found kitten or a found adult cat is? Identifying cat’s age may seem a useless waste of time. However, being aware of the age of the foundling, the owner will be able to choose the right diet and the degree of physical activities, as well as to foresee possible problems with health. In fact the conditions of cat housing and its lifestyle directly depend on pet’s age.
You can identify the age of the cat by its appearance and by the degree of activity, but such method is very approximate. Kittens of one month old usually weigh about 1 lb., in two month old kittens the bodyweight reaches 2 lbs, at the age of six month – about 6 lbs, and the weight of a 2 year old cat may be 10 lbs and even more. The coat of young kittens is soft like fuzz, and it becomes a bit coarser when the kitten grows up. Gray hairs appear in the coat at the age of 5-7 years, but sometimes they may become visible much earlier. Young animals are very active and curious, while senior ones move with caution, there is some regularity and solidity in their moves. Male cats usually become fully mature by the age of 2 years: their baby-features disappear, the bodyshape becomes more rounded, and the scrotum is completely developed. Female cats enter the puberty at the age of 7 months; at this age they may already have estrus and express their interest to the opposite sex.
Dental system condition
As it is extremely difficult to identify the age of a cat only by its appearance, some felinologists have developed a method of age identification based on the teeth condition analysis. However it is important to keep in mind, that dental condition is influenced by the general lifestyle of a cat, and its heredity; that is why this method may have drawbacks.
- At the age of 3-5 weeks – milk teeth are visible;
- 6 months – milk teeth are replaced with permanent ones;
- A year and a half – central incisors of the bottom jaw abrasion can be noticed;
- 2-3 years – central and intermediate bottom-jaw incisors abrasion can be noticed;
- 3-4 years – central top-jaw incisors abrasion starts;
- 4-5 years – the central top-jaw incisors abrasion becomes apparent and intermediate incisors abrasion starts;
- 5-6 years – canine abrasion starts;
- 6-7 years – attrition on canines is clearly visible, extreme top-jaw incisors abrasion starts;
- 7 years and more – incisors (especially low-jaw) abrasion is apparent, canines attritions become obviously visible;
- More than 10 years old – almost total incisors abrasion is obviously, lack of several teeth can be noticed, some of the teeth are loosened;
- More than 12 years old – all or almost all incisors are fallen out.
Hardware and laboratory examination
Veterinarians know other methods of identifying cat’s age most precisely. Sometimes it is enough to pass biochemistry blood tests to reveal age changes in the organism functions. In other cases hardware methods of identification are quite effective. For example, the age can be identified by the degree of cranial bones accretion, or by the cartilaginous tissue ossification and due to some other technics (ultrasound, Roentgen, and computer tomography). However, such expensive tests are not always so meaningful to spend a lot of money on them. In most cases the vet can identify the cat’s age quite precisely judging by its dental system. Although the data will be approximate, it is enough for the owner to create necessary conditions for a comfortable life of their pet.