Most of our cats spend some of their time outside. Many are outdoors nearly all of the time, and others are completely feral. And then there are our indoor cats. These are all important factors considered when calculating the average lifespan of a cat.
Outdoor cats are more prone to accidents and injury with the greatest risk being hit by a car. Other dangers include attacks by other cats, contracting diseases, and ingestion of poisons or toxic materials. Without these hazards, indoor cats tend to live longer than outdoor cats. So, what is a cat life expectancy? Read on…
Life Span Influences
A typical domestic cat lifespan of 12-15 years is governed by a range of factors and these include:
- Whether your cat lives indoors or out: and if protection is provided from any obvious hazards
- The breed of your cat: see the data below
- Hereditary conditions: diversity in the genetic makeup are key to a long life
- Your cat’s diet: feeding your cat a well-balanced diet according to age is essential
- Physical condition: making sure your cat gets lots of exercise as obesity reduces lifespan
- Vet care: getting regular check-ups at least once a year with preventative treatment for worms and diseases
- Spaying and neutering: removing the risk of developing diseases that can affect the reproductive system in older age
How Long Do Cats Live?
Your cat’s pedigree can help determine the risk factors. The health of the parents of your cat can determine your cat’s lifespan. This may be reduced by inherited heart disease due to breeding or genetics.
Purebred cats often have a shorter lifespan than mixed breed cats due to selective breeding. Look at some popular breeds and life expectancy below:
- Abyssinian – 9 to 15 years often with eye and knee problems in later life
- Bengal – 7 years is the average lifespan due to many hereditary health issues with a susceptibility to infectious diseases
- British Shorthair – 14 years and older with a high risk of polycystic kidney disease in older cats
- Burmese – 16 to 18 years with possible genetic health problems and prone to gingivitis
- Maine Coon – 11 years as hip dysplasia and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can shorten lifespan
- Persian – 14 years and older despite hereditary conditions including kidney disease and bladder problems
- Russian Blue – 15 to 20 years with a healthy appetite which can quickly lead to obesity
- Siamese – 15 years and older but can be prone to certain health problems
- Tabby – around 14 years for a crossbred domestic cat
Find Answers for Frequently Asked Questions
How old is my cat in cat years?
At the end of the first year, your cat is about 10 to 15 years old. By two this will have increased to 25 years. Every year from then on will be about four years in human terms. So, your 15-year-old cat will be 76 and your 16-year old cat 80.
How many cat years are in one human year?
It’s thought that the first two years of a cat’s life are the same as the first 25 in a human. After that, every extra year is about four cat years.
How long do outdoor cats live?
Because there are so many challenges for an outdoor cat life expectancy ranges from three to ten years. Increased exposure to parasites, illness, fights, and location all limit the average lifespan. But once a cat reaches one they can live into their teens.
How long do indoor cats live?
If they’re fed and watered regularly, and get sufficient playtime and exercise to prevent them from becoming overweight, an indoor cat can happily live from 14 to 20 years, with the average lifespan being 16.
Guinness Book Of World Records
The longest living cat was Crème Puff who was born in Texas in 1967. She died after 38 years and three days in 2005. The oldest living cat today is reported to be Scooter who is just 30 years old and also living in Texas. This is obviously a changeable position!
The average age of a cat is getting longer. This is due to the ease of getting veterinary care, the benefits of understanding diseases in cats and how to treat them, alongside vaccinations that control infectious diseases. Keeping cats indoors has also contributed to raising the average lifespan.
The Visible Ageing Process
Your cat will go through many changes due to age. These may be physical or behavioural. Look at a range of signs of ageing here…
- Grooming is less effective and you can help your cat by combing hard to reach places
- Claws become brittle and may need to be clipped more regularly
- Eyes may have age-related lens issues or more severe diseases related to high blood pressure
- Hearing gets worse as cats age
- Gum diseases such as gingivitis may be prevalent with decayed teeth requiring extraction
- Skin becomes thinner and fragile and is prone to infection
- The sense of smell may decrease which can cause disinterest in food
- Arthritis is common in older cats and can cause difficulty in using the litter tray and climbing stairs
- Dementia can cause excessive meowing and disorientation
The Invisible Signs of Ageing
Careful observation of your cat alongside regular exams at the vets will help detect other illnesses such as:
- Your cat’s immune system not functioning as effectively
- Kidney failure – a common disease in older cats as kidneys go through a number of age-related changes
- Hyperthyroidism which will often result in overactivity caused by an overactive thyroid gland
- Hypertension that can damage vital organs including the heart, kidneys, and brain
- Diabetes causing weight loss, excessive thirst, and urination
- Cancer of the skin, bone, lung and liver are all on the list, with lymphoma being the most common
Home Visit Vets
There may come a time when you have to make the heart-breaking decision to let your cat go. Putting a cat to sleep in your own home can be a gentle and kind way to say goodbye. Get help and advice from a fully qualified and experienced end-of-life practitioner. And all the support you need during this sad time.