We frequently refer to the age of our pets in human years, particularly when it comes to our cherished canine and feline companions. It is a straightforward heuristic that can assist us in determining the potential lifespan of our cat. This rule of thumb is typically stated as “seven cat years equals one human year,” as this is the most common way to express it.
Is this a correct statement? According to the rule, this would imply that a cat that is 2 years old is similar in age to a human who is 14 years old.
If this is the case, then a cat that is 12 years old is the same as a person who is 168 years old! Given that it is not uncommon for domestic cats to live past the age of 12 years, our cats are suddenly appearing to be quite long-lived.
How Long Can Cats Live?
It may be hard to believe, but there have been domestic cats who have survived for as long as 20 to 22 years. In point of fact, when I worked as a veterinary technician, it was not unusual to see cats who were 20 years old or older. Even after the age of twenty, cats continue to live. There is at least one cat that is 34 years old that has been reported. Check your work. In terms of its longevity, this cat was considered to be “biblical.”
It is commonly believed that a cat from the United Kingdom named Puss was the oldest cat ever recorded; however, I am unable to confirm this information as it relates to the record for the oldest domestic cat. In 1939, when he was 36 years old, Puss passed away.
To get to the bottom of this, we need to have a firm grasp on the distinction between a house cat and a “feral” cat, sometimes known as an outdoor cat. About two years is the average amount of time a wild cat may expect to live after being born. The mathematics appears to make perfect sense all of a sudden. Cats that live outside are perfectly capable of looking after themselves, but they do so in the face of a number of threats. Maladies and accidental injuries. Even poisoning.
The conditions in which the cat is kept will, of course, have an impact on the length of its expected life span. A knowledgeable old country cat will probably outlive his cousins who dwell in the unlucky city, especially if he associates himself with humans, even in a peripheral way. This is especially true if he associates himself with humans. Even cats who don’t fully trust humans are typically smart enough to understand the advantages of remaining in close proximity to a home inhabited by people.
The question that comes to mind is, how much food is available for the cat to consume? What kind of quality is the food that’s being eaten? Cats that live outside do not have a reliable source of food, so their lifespan is significantly impacted by the availability and quality of food in their natural environment. This can result in a shortened lifespan or even death from starvation.
What kinds of dangers does the cat confront in the environment in which it lives? Are there any dangerous animals? Cars? Where do we stand with the weather? It is obvious that there are too many factors that influence the feline lifespan to be able to readily come up with a mathematical formula that is comparable to the human lifespan.
Consider also the fact that senior cats do not always continue to exhibit the same behavior patterns as younger cats. You may have had a pet cat in his later years that spent his time lazing around and enjoying his retirement. You may also have known other cats of the same age that continued to be active and nimble throughout their lives. Even to the point of exhibiting “kitten-like” behavior occasionally. Cats are individuals.
Can Cat Age Be Measured in Human Terms?
Now, according to scientific research, how long does it take a cat to live? And last, is it even conceivable to translate the typical lifespan of a cat into human years? To some extent, yes. The 7-year rule, however, is a myth, which should be evident at this point; yet, the situation at hand is considerably more difficult.
How Do You Measure Cat Years?
Estimates may vary, but it’s generally accepted that cats achieve adulthood between the ages of 18 and 24 months.
The average age at which a human reaches adulthood is somewhere between 20 and 22 years. I suppose that most of us would agree that it takes boys longer, which brings the overall average down.
According to this logic, a cat who is one year old has approximately the same amount of time passed in human years as another cat that is 16 years old. However, before you decide to use a 16:1 ratio, you should know that this strategy is only effective for the first year. The following year is equivalent to approximately six years in human years. As a result, we arrive to the age of 22 human years.
After that, things start to get simpler. After the second year, each cat year can be extended by an additional four human years. Take, for instance:
- A three-year old cat equals to a 26-year old human
- A four-year-old cat equals to a 30-year old human.
- A five-year old cat equals to a 34-year old human.
- A seven-year old cat equals a 42-year old human.
- An eight-year old cat equals to a 46-year old human.
- A ten-year old cat equals to a 54-year old human.
- A 12-year old cat equals to a 62-year old human.
- A 14-year old cat equals to a 70-year old human.
- An 18-year old cat equals to a 90-year old human.
- A 20-year old cat equals to a 94-year old human.
It is possible that this does not make sense to you at all. This is due to the fact that we can also compare the process of aging in humans to the process of aging in cats. To put it more simply, cats do not age in the same way that people do.
Again, the formula that is provided differs, at the very least, by a few years depending on the source. If you ask certain veterinarians, you might hear that one cat year is equivalent to 15 human years. If this is the case, a cat that is two years old is about equivalent to a person who is 24 years old. Following this year, we will add two years, and then following that, we will add four years to each successive year. Given this information, a cat that is 20 years old is about similar to a person who is 96 years old. As you can see, there is not a significant difference between someone who is 94 years old and someone who is 96 years old because there is not a lot that can be said about the difference between the two ages.