The average lifespan of a cat (well, an indoor cat) is around 12 to 15 years, but many cats now can live to be 20. These numbers seem to be trending upward. (Although we have to admit that we haven’t seen this confirmed by researchers anywhere – the evidence appears to be anecdotal).
Factors Influencing the Lifespan of a Cat
Today’s cats appear to be living longer, healthier lives. This is aided by advancements in veterinary medicine and growing awareness about the importance of preventive care.
From lifestyle choices to genetics, every aspect has an influence on how long our fur-buddies can thrive. The following are some of the most significant contributors:
Indoor Versus Outdoor Cats
Like humans, cats’ lifestyles profoundly affect their longevity. It’s no secret that indoor cats tend to live longer than their outdoor counterparts. They are shielded from various risks like diseases, accidents, predators, and harsh weather
The protected environment ensures they enjoy a higher average lifespan, usually about 15-20 years. In stark contrast, outdoor cats face myriad threats that can often cut their lifespan to just 2-5 years.
Preventive care, like routine check-ups, vaccinations, and flea and tick preventatives, plays a key role in cat longevity. Regular veterinary examinations can help detect potential health problems early, improving the odds of successful treatment.
Early diagnosis and treatment can be life-saving, especially for chronic conditions like kidney disease, common in cats.
Diet and Weight Management
Another significant factor influencing cat lifespan is diet and weight management. Proper nutrition is crucial for the overall well-being of cats. A balanced diet containing all necessary nutrients contributes to longevity.
On the other hand, obesity is a severe issue that can lead to various health problems like diabetes, arthritis, and heart diseases, reducing a cat’s lifespan.
This is starting to sound a lot like people…or any other living thing, really. Don’t play in the road, eat healthy, get exercise, see a doctor when you’re sick…
Genetics and Breeds
Genetics and specific breed characteristics can influence how long a cat lives.
Some breeds are prone to specific health conditions that can affect their lifespan, while others are generally known for their longevity. For instance, Siamese and Maine Coon cats often live well into their teens, with many reaching their early 20s.
The Lifespan of the Oldest Cat
Now, all of this talk of health might have you thinking that it’s the only way to live a healthy life. But let’s think about humans for a moment. Ever read an interview with someone over 100 who insists the secret is bacon or cigarettes or something? Some of this is just random.
The oldest cat on record, Creme Puff, was well-cared for though. She was an astonishing 38 years and 3 days at her death. Her owner also owned the previous oldest living cat! The secret? Some things you really aren’t supposed to give a cat – like caffeine. The diet fed to these cats was largely commercial cat food with some eggs, turkey bacon, broccoli, coffee with creme, and an eye dropper of ref wine every two days!
Don’t try that at home, but maybe do take the owner’s advice to play with your cat as much as possible if you want them to live a long and active life.