golden retriever dog being headbutted by a chunky british shorthair cat

Are Cat Years The Same As Dog Years?

Are cat years the same as dog years? Not quite – breed and size of cat and dog play a big factor and the initial speed of reaching maturity is different in cats and dogs. Read on to see how cat and dog years correlate…

Have you ever heard the rule that one dog year equals seven human years?

Sure, time is relative, but how does that work? Most people will agree that a 1-year old dog is usually more emotionally and physically mature in its life cycle compared to a seven-year-old child.

What’s more, does this same rule of thumb apply to cat years versus dog years, are cat years the same as dog years?

The Issue with the 7-Year Rule

In reality, the seven-year rule is just a guideline, giving pet owners a gauge to determine where their pet is in the life cycle. Since we understand our mortality, we can apply this to our pets’ lifecycle as well.

Since cats and dogs live for average lifespans of anywhere from nine to 15 years old, it’s challenging to pin it down to just a simple seven-year rule.

Cats and dogs are different animals, and they have different physical attributes. For instance, dogs come in many different sizes, from St. Bernard to the teacup Pomeranian.

Cats have more consistency in their size, and that also plays a role. Since large dogs typically have shorter life spans than smaller dogs, you can start to see how applying the seven-year rule can get confusing.

It’s a better idea for pet owners to calculate cat and dog years independently of each other. Fortunately, some clever people figured out how to do just that.

How Do I Calculate Cat Years?

Each cat is different, but the guideline says that the first two years of your cat’s life are equivalent to the first 24-years of human life. In other words, your cat develops into a young adult within the first 24-months after birth.

After the second year, pet owners can count each following year of cat life as equivalent to four human years. So, if you have a six-year-old cat, they’re technically the same age as a 40-year-old human.

Most indoor cats live to around 16 to 18 years, but outdoor cats might only make it to about 15-years old on average. So, that’s 80 to 88-years in human years for average lifespans for cats, close to the global average age of death in humans.

ginger tabby cat lying on the floor with against a dog

How Do I Calculate Dog Years?

Like cats, dogs mature faster in the earlier years of life. However, the breed plays more of a role with dogs.

For instance, a 7-year-old St. Bernard is a senior dog, while a chihuahua only enters its senior years when it’s around ten to twelve years old.

What are the Signs of Aging in Cats and Dogs?

Like human medicine, veterinary science also experienced a huge jump in progress over the last 20-years. As a result, our pets live longer thanks to research into food formulations and better overall healthcare available to pets and pet owners.

However, regardless of how well you keep your animal, time will eventually catch up with them. Watch out for these signs of aging in your furry friend.

Weight Changes and Visual Body Changes

If you’re around your pet every day, it’s challenging to notice the subtle changes to your pet’s physiology. The aging process is slow, and you’ll see it most in your pets face, their hips and their shoulders.

Keeping your pet fit and feeding them the right amount of high-quality, nutritious food will help them enjoy their senior years.

Changes in Behavior

Aging causes changes in pet behavior. They might get less inclined to get up to bark at someone at the gate due to arthritis in the hips. Cats might not respond to your calls, or they could develop a short fuse with you during playtime.

These issues are common with the aging process. Make sure you take your pet to the vet to get your animals an annual checkup. Your vet will tell you the condition of your pet and what you can do to improve their quality of life.

Sensorial Decline

Both dogs and cats have excellent senses of smell and sight. Many people think of their dogs as visual animals, but they are actually smell-based sensory creatures. As dogs and cats age, they may start to lose their sensory perception.

They might start bumping into objects or fail to recognize people they know from a distance. Your pets might also stop responding to your calls, or they might fail to hear that person calling at the gate due to hearing loss in the animal.

In Closing – Are Cat Years the Same As Dog Years?

Since cats live slightly longer than dogs, it’s not accurate to use the seven-year rule like we would with dogs.

The seven-year rule already has its flaws between breeds, and it’s not an accurate tool of measurement to determine where the animal is in its lifecycle.

So, are cat years the same as dog years? No, we don’t think they are, do you?