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Trying to guess my cat's age by playing behavior

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi, everyone;

Simba moved in with us at the end of August last summer. He was a stray that had been severely starved. When we took him to the vet for shots, bloodwork, checkup, etc, the vet said it is really difficult to guess an adult cat's age. Simba had quite a bit of tartar on his teeth, but the vet said often young cats have lots and older cats can have virtually none. All we knew for sure is he was full-grown physically.

I didn't think he was really old - he just didn't look it or act it. But I didn't think he was really young, either - mainly because he was so sedate. So I was guessing his age at somewhere around 3-5 years old.

One of the reasons I didn't think he acted like a young cat is that he would never play - but someone pointed out on this thread that since he was starving, he might have 'shut down' that kind of behavior to save desperately needed calories. Well, after about a month and a half, he finally started a little fairly mellow playing, and it's gradually been getting more frequent.

Last night I was playing with him, and it hit me that his favorite game has become me running down the hall and stairs dragging his feathers-on-a-stick toy, then running back and dragging it up on the bed. He chases it full-speed like crazy, then rolls and attacks it. If I stop early, he will keep running and skid to a stop at the usual place, then turn and tear off after me. It made me think that he might be younger than I thought. Running back and forth full-speed a whole bunch of times seems like pretty young behavior to me - what do you think?
post #2 of 6
Hi, Suzy!
I have 3 cats who were already adults when they came to me. I don't know either exactly how old they are. When it comes to play, they seem to be the same age! It is the frequency that makes them different with the oldest playing less often.
They all started sedate like your Simba...But when they got used to their new home, and their health improved,that's when the playing became part of their daily routine.
post #3 of 6
My 6 month olds and my 8 year old runs around like that. The only difference between the 2 in play is that the kittens do it for a longer period of time. I don't think you can tell their age by the amount of play in them.
post #4 of 6
I'm not sure if the playing is a telltail sign of a young or old cat. I could be wrong here. Younger cats seem to play more than older cats, but even older cats play as a rule.

Both my cats are over 10 years and they play - Kuce plays much longer than Sphinx but then again she is younger than he is. They generally go by the teeth and gums and maybe the x-rays for the heart and kidneys (size and feel).

Again I could be wrong. I'm relatively new at cat ownership.
post #5 of 6
Yeah I agree that this probly wont help tell their age. Zoey is a year and a half and she plays a lot. ChiChi at my parents house is 15 and she still plays...
post #6 of 6
Hi,I adopted a stray 8 months ago. She's fairly docile ("laid back" as we say). She was severely under weight and it took about 2 months for her to start really playing. She also likes the cat teasers with feathers and would jump up to catch it and chase it around. Recently she toned down her playing but now that we have a kitten she is more active, playing "Hide 'N Pounce with him and running around. We were told she was between 4-5 years. I think the older cats just rest more but play more when given the opportunity.
Good luck with your baby.
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