Life Stages of Cats and Human Equivalents

four black cats on the rocker

Everybody on the Rocker, the Curious Quartet as young Juniors.

So just how old is a senior cat, and when do cats go from being kittens to being adults? And are there stages in between? And do we count five years for every year to equal the human equivalent, or seven?

While we can generalize over the course of a cat’s life using “7” to multiply to reach a human equivalent, the result is way off the mark at the beginning and end of life. Consider that they can have babies as young as four months old in some circumstances, yet if we multiplied “7” by, say “.5”, we’d get “3.5”. To reach a real human equivalent for the ability to reproduce we’d have to figure it out another way.

The Feline Advisory Bureau developed the life stages as a poster as part of its WellCat Programme, and it’s a great reference for where your cat is in her life. Hmmm, right now I have four “prime” cats, one “mature” cat, and two “geriatric” cats. I’m sure the Fantastic Four adore being termed “prime”, but I’m not so sure Mimi likes being called “mature” (humans aren’t fond of that term in reference to life stages either), and Kelly and Cookie are totally over the “geriatric” tag! But even without their attitude about the titles of the stages, it’s a good indicator of where they are and what they need.

This information was contained in the Feline Advisory Bureau 2008 Annual Review, www.fabcats.org.

pencil sketch of kitten

Ready for Play, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

Kitten, birth to 6 months
0 – 1 month = 0 – 1 year
2 – 3 months = 2 – 4 years
4 months = 6 – 8 years
6 months = 10 years

pencil sketch of cat

The Bug, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

Junior, 7 months to 2 years
7 months = 12 years
12 months = 15 years
18 months = 21 years
2 years = 24 years

pencil sketch of cat in bag

In the Bag, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

Prime, 3 years to 6 years
3 = 28
4 = 32
5 = 36
6 = 40

pencil sketch of cat with flowers

Conversation With a Daisy, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

Mature, 7 years to 10 years
7 = 44
8 = 48
9 = 52
10 = 56

pencil sketch of sleeping cat

Don't Wake Me Up, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

Senior, 11 years to 14 years
11 = 60
12 = 64
13 = 68
14 = 72

pencil sketch of sleeping cat

Stripes, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski; this is a sketch of Stanley, who actually lived to be about 25.

Geriatric, 15 years+
15 = 76
16 = 80
17 = 84
18 = 88
19 = 92
20 = 96
21 = 100
22 = 104
23 = 108
24 = 112
25 = 116

This information and more is also included in my Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book. The pencil sketches are available as Feline Sketches note cards on my website.

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All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Basic Feline Wellness

pencil sketch of cat in bag

In the Bag, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

I remember someone telling me when I was a child that cats were the perfect pet because they didn’t require any care, you really didn’t even have to feed them.

Unfortunately for cats some people still feel this way, but those numbers are dwindling fast as standards for care are recommended and new methods of care and treatment become available. Our cats may not like seeing the doctor and may expertly hide their symptoms in an effort to seem well even though their living conditions no longer require this evolutionary response to illness, but this is one time when we humans should go against our cats’ will and provide both basic wellness and acute care.

October is National Pet Wellness Month sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and Pfizer Animal Health, so it’s time to schedule our cats’ appointments and learn how to help them live as healthy and long a life as possible. I’ll be writing articles on care for cats, and my guest writer Karen Sable has prepared a thorough two-part article on helping your pet stay well and getting to know your pet  from nose to tail so that you can better tell if something is wrong, which will include a downloadable checklist for your nose-to-tail inspection.

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