Second Chance: How Old is Your Kitty Really?

Second Chance: How Old is Your Kitty Really?

Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties for 25 years. Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other services. View our shelter pets and services online:


Remember the stories from the 70’s when the U.S. tried to get with the rest of the developed world and adopt a universal measurement system (aka the metric system) and found it “was too much work” and gave up trying? Well today’s Pet Column topic is like that, but different. Today I write about the popular misconception that cats age seven human years for each calendar year. However, the results of this bad measuring is sloppiness at best and cats dying at worst.

Let’s address this last point first. The reality is that if you humans don’t learn the real way to calculate feline maturation then homeless middle-to-senior-aged cats like me will be even more challenged getting adopted. And in many places across the country that leads to the “E” word: Euthanasia. So please pay attention. It makes the difference between me being an adoptable energetic middle-aged cat and an old coot.

Feline aging is much more rapid during the first two years of life. A cat reaches the approximate human age of 15 during his first year, then 24 at age 2. However, each year thereafter, a cat ages approximately four cat years for every calendar year. Simple. Thus, a cat who is 5 in cat years would be approximately 36 in human years.

This system works much better for an 11-year-young cat like myself then the “multiply by 7” system. It means that I am really only 60 in human years rather than 77. And you know how they say 60 is the new 40? Well there you go – I still have my best years ahead of me. The point is, age is in the eye of the beholder and just because I am 60 does not mean I don’t have lots of love to give and life to live.

You know who else is 60 this year besides me? The lovely and dazzling actress Emma Thompson. And then there is basketball legend Magic Johnson, tennis legend Jon McEnroe, brilliant astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and many famous musicians from Randy Travis, Sheena Easton, Flavor Flav, to Robert Smith of The Cure (of course my fave Cure song is “Love Cats”), and, my very favorite, Morrissey of The Smiths. Yes, Morrissey is still alive, kicking, and touring, purportedly with lots of cats.

It is important to note that feline longevity varies depending on maintenance and genetic predisposition. In a handful of documented cases, cats have exceeded 30 years in age. Typically, indoor cats (who tend to live twice as long as the outdoor cat) regularly live into their late teens and even into their 20s.

About me.

My name is Handsome Gadget. I arrived recently at Second Chance with my two house brothers and sister who I have spent my life with. Our people had to move out of state and leave us behind. Ugh, I am good-tempered, but not liking this change in life. Fortunately I am super bonded to my brother Sam and feel better when he is around. So we really hope to be adopted together where we can live a quiet life listening to our favorite 80’s music, or whatever makes us go purr.

“Last night I dreamt/That somebody loved me”…Morrissey

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