August 6, 2010
Age determination in cats kittens


When owners bring their new kitten to the clinic, one of the first questions they ask is: “Can you tell me how old is my kitten?” The answer is in the mouth of these babies.{{more}}

Kittens like puppies are born without teeth. Only the surface of the gum can be seen. This allows them to nurse without hurting their mother. When they get to 25 – 30 days old, their temporary teeth start to erupt. Kittens have a total of 26 temporary teeth by the time they attain 45 days of age.

As time passes, these teeth are replaced by permanent teeth.

Most breeds show permanent teeth at 6 months of age and the number of permanent teeth is 30. So, if a kitten has his permanent canines and the first molars, we can estimate his age to be 5 months.

Adult cats:

If you adopt an adult cat, or if the cat adopts you and you are interested in knowing how old he / she is, the following will give you an idea as to the age.

Aging an adult cat is not an exact science, even among veterinarians. But there are some physical clues that will help you determine your new cat’s age.

  • The teeth: By the time a kitten is 6 months of age, all of the baby teeth would have been replaced with adult teeth. After this, the accumulation of tartar and wear of the teeth helps to narrow down the age range.
  • By 2 years old, the molars typically have some mild tartar.
  • By 5 years of age the tartar is more pronounced on the molars and affects the canines as well. This method is not very reliable, since the type of diet and whether or not the teeth are brushed or scaled can affect tarter buildup.
  • By middle to older age, the incisors begin to wear down and as the cat ages even more, teeth may begin to fall out. By age 12, more incisors are missing.
  • The eyes: The presence of Lenticular Sclerosis can help to determine your cat’s age. In older cats, the lens of the eye begins to develop signs of aging. Thin lines begin to show up on the lens of the eye at around age 6. The lines do not affect vision and are not the same as cataracts, though they can be confused with cataracts.
  • Grey hair: The graying process on the face varies from cat to cat. As with people, premature graying can occur. For this reason, this is not a very reliable method of aging your cat.
  • Aging an adult cat is difficult and the best you can hope for is an approximation which may be off by 2-4 years. Thankfully, the age of your cat does not affect his / her ability to provide you with a loving companion and friend.

For further information, contact:

Dr. Collin Boyle
Unique Animal Care Co. Ltd.
Tel: 456 4981