Wednesday, February 28, 2024
catsfeline healthhealth and safetysenior cats

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.

Right now my entire household is “Mature” though Mimi is close to being “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, and for the first time in years we have a “Kitten” and a “Junior”! 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 American Association of Feline Practitioners 2010 AAFP/AAHA Feline Life Stage Guidelines.

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

Life Stages of Cats and Human Equivalents
Life Stages of Cats and Human Equivalents

Download a guide to Feline Life Stages and Human Equivalents

I’ve designed a guide sheet with the information above in PDF format.

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

The pencil sketches are available as Feline Sketches note cards on my website.

one tortoiseshell and five black cats
Cookie and her minions.

This information was first published in Great Rescues Day Book
day book with cat portraits
Great Rescues Day Book

In addition to featuring the portraits and stories of rescued cats and their families in Great Rescues Day Book, I also wanted to provide basic care and welfare information that was easy to find and reference. The “Resources” section includes basic wellness covering food, water, litterboxes and toys, plus specific information on kittens and seniors including spay and neuter and eldercare, household toxins, life stages and human equivalents, strays and ferals and pet loss.

Great Rescues Day Book an undated monthly journal to record the dates of birthdays, anniversaries and events featuring sixteen of my commissioned portraits of rescued cats along with their rescue stories. Click here or on the image of the book at left, or either of the links above to read more.

Also, read about Great Rescues families, those who appear in each of the two volumes so far. I’ll be featuring one story each month corresponding with the portrait that appears in the book for that month. That means there are four extra, and I’ll slip those in when the story itself feels appropriate.

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.

© 2014 | | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!




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

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

    • Maxwell, Faraday & Allie, thank you–feel free to print out and send along or share! I had it planned out with photos in each category, but if people are to print it out that would take too much ink so I went back to the original pencil sketches–somehow they tell more.

  • We have one kitty in her prime( Julie)
    One senior( Georgia)
    Two geriatric( Treasure and JJ)
    Love that last pic 🙂
    Purrs Georgia and Julie,
    Treasure and JJ

    • Georgia and Julie, that’s a nice spread! Each time I update this I have a different array! But I’ve never had my whole household in one category.


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