How Long Do Our Cats Live?
3 December, 2013

Cats are wonderful pets for so many reasons.  They are fun, adorable, very self sufficient AND live a long time for a domestic pet.   It’s hard to really pinpoint the exact age timeline of our cats; however, indoor cats generally live from 12-18 years of age. Many may live to be in their early 20s. The oldest cat that has been documented is believed to have lived to be an amazing 28 years old!

Cats grow up quickly

Cats mature quickly during their early years, reaching the equivalent of 24 human years by time they turn two, then aging about eight to five times in human years each subsequent year (the number decreases as the cat gets older). So your 12-year-old feline would be about 65 years old and making it time for retirement (when they aren’t too busy napping for 18 hours a day).


There isn’t an exact science that can tell us how long our cats will live but below are some contributing factors:

An indoor cat will live much longer

An indoor cat’s world is a safe home with healthy, timely meals and protection from the changeable weather.  Your indoor feline’s only experience with a predator is probably a zealous owner who wants to groom his or her coat or trim those long claws. Life with a clean litter box, a comfy place to nap and attention from one or more humans who offer affection and care is a very stress-free existence!

If your cat has grown up indoors, he or she doesn’t usually want to go outside especially if you have been mindful in keeping your feline’s interest indoors.  For instance, you want to make sure your cat gets exercise, scheduled play time and toys that keep your kitty stimulated.  And, of course, routine vaccinations and vet checkups, plus a spaying or neutering enables an indoor cat to easily thrive into her teens or beyond.

An outdoor cat tends to have a shorter life span

An outdoor cat, whether a lifelong feral or one who’s been dumped by a former owner can experience daily stress in his or her life.  The outdoor cat’s survival instincts keep her or him alert as she eludes dogs, unkind humans and traffic every day. Outdoor cat’s hunts birds or rodents for dinner, or forages in trash cans and can face elements from weather untreated diseases, from worms to rabies to distemper.  There is also the chance that an outdoor cat can be hurt by a coyote or even a human or car if running across the street.   Therefore, outdoor cats tend to live from 5- 10 years; however, if you have an outdoor/indoor cat, that ratio improves drastically.

What lengthens a cat’s life?

A healthy diet and physical activity, along with regular vet exams, can help a cat stay fit and healthy. Spaying or neutering boosts your cat’s health prognosis while avoiding additions to the feline overpopulation. Neutered males are less prone to prostate problems or testicular cancer; spayed females are less likely to get breast cancer, ovarian cysts or uterine infections. Cats who have been spayed or neutered are calmer, but also burn fewer calories. Therefore, their diets should be monitored.

Your cat will live longer if you keep him or her active

Just as with humans, cats living a healthy lifestyle improve their chances of living a longer life.  Felines that get regular exercise (by tossing a mouse around, playing with toys) and maintain a healthy diet (and keep his or her weight in check) will live a longer life.  Dental care, to avoid common oral issues that affect many cats, is a key to overall health. Annual vet exams, especially as cats’ age, will find any bodily changes or potential health problems. Older cats may also need a few dietary changes to accommodate their aging systems and your vet may suggest supplements or vitamins. And, most importantly, a calm and loving home will keep your cat happy and healthy!

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