Estimating Age Pets

Teeth and, Later, Eyes are the Best Indicators of Age


How can I tell how old my cat is, he is a rescue cat and the center had no idea themselves.


Dr. Nichol:

This is an important question not only because many health issues are linked to age; cats are very fussy about getting their birthday cakes on the proper day.


Many parts of the body show signs of age (I personally have no idea about this), but in most cats and dogs the teeth and eyes are the most reliable indicators. We can be particularly accurate in our estimates under age six months because baby teeth are replaced on a reliable schedule. Through the early and middle adult years we can judge tooth wear and tartar buildup to estimate age-but it becomes more of an educated guess. Around the age of eight in dogs and about ten in cats we start to see drying of the lenses in the eyes that gives them a grayish cast. By the time some of these senior citizens retire from the shuffle board court the lenses are often approaching white in color and, sadly, many pets are missing teeth. (Please look carefully at my picture. Notice my lenses and teeth.)


With the health of pets relying heavily on proper care at different ages, the best judge of all this is your veterinarian. On the other hand, if your cat remembers Calvin Coolidge, well, he’s no spring chicken.