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Cat Years to Human Years – How Old is Your Cat?

A lazy cat looking at you

We are used to measure our pet years in human years when talking about the age of dogs or cats, maybe because there is an old rule of thumb saying “one human year equals seven cat years”.

We use the same rule when talking about dog years.

Could be this rule of thumb accurate enough when is used to measure the age of our cat in human years?

Well, if one human year equals seven cat years (according to this rule), a one-year-old kitten is equivalent with a 7-year-old human, a two-year-old cat is equivalent with a 14-year-old human, and a twenty-year-old cat equals an 140-year-old human.

In real life, this rule of thumb isn’t very accurate.

Let’s see why.

Domestic cats usually live to the age of twelve, and beyond (some of them lived two decades and there are a few famous cats that lived even more than three decades).

How Long Can Cats Live?

It seems that cats reaching the age of two decades and beyond, is not an unusual thing.

The Guinness Book of World Records says that the oldest cat that lived on the planet was named ‘Creme Puff’.

Creme Puff lived in Austin, Texas, was born in 1967, and died in 2005 (at the age of 38 years and three days).

Another cat that lived a very long life was Baby, a cat from Minnesota that reached the age of 37 years before passing away.

How To Help Your Cat Live A Long and Happy Life?

Of course that all the cats that lived over three decades, were house cats, and not feral or outdoor cats.

The life expectancy of a feral cat or a cat that lives outdoors is much shorter (only about two years) compared to the life expectancy of a house cat that lives inside a building and is surrounded by loving people that take care of her.

I’m sure that outdoor cats are able to take good care of themselves, but even so, their life expectancy is shorter because when living outside, they can face many hazards such as: diseases, accidents, unhealthy food, and even poisoned food or prey, etc.

The environment in which the cat lives can affect the life expectancy of both house and outdoor cats.

An old country cat that lives in a healthy environment (less cars, less pollution and less accidents), will certainly outlive its unfortunate cousins living in the city, especially if it knows how to avoid dangers, and loves to spend time mainly with people who look after her.

There are also cats that don’t trust humans very much, but they are intelligent enough to see and use the benefits provided by living closer to human settlements.

Food Supply

A cat living indoors has the chance to live over three decades, because can have access to a constant supply of quality food.

A feral cat or a cat living outdoors will not benefit from a steady supply of food, which means that it will depend pretty much on the food available in the environment.
This food can have a lower quality, and is not available all the time (feral and outdoor cats can even starve to death).


Besides diseases, accidents or poisoned food, the life expectancy of a cat can be reduced by the presence of predators in its environment, extreme weather conditions, etc.

To protect your cat from all these hazards, you need to keep it inside the house as much as you can, outdoor activities will require your presence or another member of the family to keep it away from cars, predators, poisoned food, etc.

If it gets sick, call your vet right away. Medical help available when required, will keep your cat healthy and with an impressive life expectancy.


Exactly like people, cats do not behave the same way as they grow older.

When growing older, some cats will start becoming lazy, and they will spent most of the time lying around and relaxing.

A sedentary life will not help them live a long and happy life, because exactly like humans, cats that are lazy will become fat and with reduced physical capabilities.

A body that is out of shape is weaker and will be more exposed to all kinds of diseases.

However, cats that are very active and remain agile even when growing older, will preserve their body better, and will have a longer life expectancy.

There are cats that act like kittens even when they grow older, and this is very good for them because an intense physical activity will keep their body very agile and very strong.

Such a cat is in very good shape, is much happier, and has a greater life expectancy.

Cats with short legs have the same life expectancy like normal cats.

How To Measure The Age Of A Cat In Human Years?

It is even possible to relate the average cat lifespan to human years?

Cats do not age exactly like humans, and this is the reason why we can’t use the 7-year formula to tell how old is a cat in human years.

To measure the age of a cat in human years, we have to use a much more complicated system.

It seems that cats reach adulthood between 18 and 24 months of age, while humans reach adulthood between the age of 20 and 22 years.

To equate cat years to human years, we consider that a cat who is one-year old is around 16 years of age in human years.

The 16/1 ratio can be used only for the first year, because for the next year we will add only 6 years to the equivalent in human years.

This means that a two-year old cat is around 22 years of age in human years.

To measure the age of an older cat in human years, we will add four human years for each year of the cat that is over two years old.

Using this measurement system, we can say that a three year-old cat is like a 26-year old person, a four-year-old cat equals the age of a 30-year old human, a 10-year-old cat is like a 54-year old person, a 16-year-old cat is like a 78-year old person, and a 20-year-old cat is like a 94-year old human.

The following chart will help you to find your cat age in human years very quickly.

Using this chart instead of a calculator, will save you time and energy because you don’t need to manually select the age of your cat from a list and after that to click the ‘search’ button.

Cat age to human years chart

Cat’s Age converted to Human Years.


Cat’s have a different aging process compared to humans, and this is the reason why they can live a pretty long life compared to dogs or other animals.

Don’t forget that cats are felines, which means that they are very agile animals, and being very effective hunters starting from a pretty young age, they have the chance to conserve their agile body for a very long period of time.

If you want to have a cat that lives more than three decades, you have to feed her with healthy and quality food, provide medical help when needed, and keep her or him in a very good shape by playing with them every day.

Article written by:

Darius Savin is a lifelong animal lover and protector and the chief editor of Checkmember. He writes and edits articles and is also the creator of the distribution maps for all the creatures featured here.