How Old is “Senior”: Life Stages of Cats and Human Equivalents

two cats bathing on rug
Cookie, 15, and Jelly Bean, four months, back to back bathing.

Above, geriatric and kitten—Cookie at age 15 was technically geriatric, and Jelly Bean at four months still a kitten. They all liked Sister Cookie, and respected her.

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 beyond? 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 and one “mature” cat, after years of “senior” and “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 she’s headed for “senior”. she’s also officially “older” than me though she can run up the stairs faster than me any day. Kelly and Cookie, and Peaches before them, were totally over the “geriatric” tag as is Emeraude! But even without their attitude about the titles of the stages, it’s a good indicator of where they are and what they need.

And if you’re wondering about adopting an older kitty, this may help you understand where they are in their lifespan.

This information was contained in the Feline Advisory Bureau 2008 Annual Review,

pencil sketch of kitten

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

Ready for Play, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

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

Read a wonderful article on Cat Man Do, the blog of Dr. Arnold Plotnick of Manhattan Cat Specialists, Cat Age to Human Age Comparison.

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

Browse some rescued cats and kittens!

cats for adoption

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

one tortoiseshell and five black cats
Cookie and her minions.

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© 2013 | | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski


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From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, The Creative Cat offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats. From catchy and creative headlines to factual articles and fictional stories, The Creative Cat provides constant entertainment and important information to people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

6 thoughts on “How Old is “Senior”: Life Stages of Cats and Human Equivalents

  • December 8, 2013 at 11:53 am

    love “Cookie and her minions’!!

    • December 8, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      That’s one of my favorite photos, Maureen!

  • November 15, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    ya noe…we getted asked de same questionz when we went ta de SS office ta get R social seCATitee chekz….we wuz like..take R werd for it, we bee seniors…wears R benny fits !!! heerz two a grate week oh end everee one 🙂

  • November 15, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Nice breakdown of each stage. Great write-up, thank you.


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