How old is my cat? How can I tell? What cat owners need to know. – USA TODAY

Some house pets can live several decades. Pet turtles, for instance, have a lifespan of 30 to 40 years, and tortoises can live over 50 years. In contrast, hamsters generally have a lifespan of 18 to 36 months, PetMD says. Dogs can live, on average, from eight to 14 years, depending on breed.

In general, any pet’s lifespan can differ, depending on its health and how well you take care of it.None of this is useful, though, if you don’t know just how old or young your furry friend is to begin with.

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How old is my cat?

PetMD says determining the age of a kitten is highly dependent on its weight and teeth. Until a kitten reaches six months, the kitten gains about a pound of weight every month. Kittens will also have all of their adult teeth by seven months. If your kitten is younger than six or seven months, it is possible to identify its approximate age. However, an unhealthy kitten may stray from these rules of thumb, according to PetMD.

The amount of tartar on your cat’s teeth can also be a signal of age, with less tartar accompanying a younger cat, PetMD notes. This is not foolproof, though, as some cats will have worse or better teeth than others.

The cloudiness of your cat’s eyes can be used to identify their age around “6 or 7,” but it will only be noticeable to a veterinarian, PetMD says. Once a cat is 10 years old, an average owner may notice cloudiness. This is natural and not an issue with your pet’s health.

If your cat’s grooming process has lost thoroughness, this is also a sign of your pet’s growing age, according to PetMD.

To gain a truly accurate idea of your cat’s age, PetMD recommends owners take their feline friend to the vet for a “health assessment.” This can reveal any health issues while also giving you a better idea of how old your cat is.

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How long do cats live?

Outdoor cats that spend a substantial amount of time unsupervised can be expected to live up to seven years. Indoor-only cats that are well taken care of generally live up to 14 years, PetMD says.

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How can I keep my cat healthy?

To keep your cat healthy, make sure your cat is well-fed with enough toys to stimulate them. PetMD explains the importance of keeping your cat’s litter box clean and your cat well-groomed.

PetMD says to keep your cat up-to-date with their shots and take them to the vet for regular checkups and medical concerns