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How Long Do Cats Live?

Updated Dec 13, 2022

Updated Dec 13, 2022

Home > Pet Insurance > How Long Do Cats Live?

How long a cat lives will depend on the cat’s health, environment, lifestyle, and much more. The average cat’s life expectancy is between 10 and 15 years. 

The last thing a cat parent wants to think about is their cat’s life expectancy and how long or short it may be. However, knowledge is power and knowing your cat’s average life span and how to extend it will give you peace of mind.

How Long Do Cats Live On Average?

Indoor cats live, on average, 15 to 20 years. In contrast, outdoor cats have an average life span of two to five years, which is significantly less due to the many more dangers outdoor cats face. 

Outdoor cats are at a higher risk of: 

  • Eating poisonous or toxic ingredients such as rat bait or antifreeze.
  • Being stolen or harmed by individuals with bad intentions.
  • Contracting deadly infectious diseases from other outdoor animals.
  • Being attacked by other cats, dogs, or predators.
  • Contracting parasites, like ticks and fleas, which can transmit deadly diseases to the cat.
  • Being hit by a car.

All these factors increase a cat’s risk of being seriously injured or killed prematurely, making keeping your kitty safe indoors a significant benefit to its well-being and life span. 

Other Contributing Factors to a Cat’s Life Expectancy

balinese cat with toys
Image Source: Canva

Another contributing factor to your cat’s life span is what cat breed they are. A cat’s breed can affect its predicted life span by years. For example, the oldest cat ever known to live is Scooter, a Siamese cat that lived for 31 years.

Cat breeds with longer than average life spans

  • Balinese (15 to 20 years)
  • Burmese (20 years) 
  • Russian blue (Up to 20 years)
  • Persian (Up to 20 years)
  • Manx (15 to 18 years)
  • Ragdoll (15+ years)
  • American shorthair (15 to 20 years)

Can a Cat Live Up to 20 Years?

According to the Blue Cross, cats can live up to 20 years. However, this depends on the cat’s health, behavior, breed, environment, and much more. 

How to Extend Your Cat’s Life Span

So, what can you do to increase the average life expectancy of your cat? Preventative measures and your cat’s environment are two of the biggest factors in determining if your cat will have a shorter or longer life. 

Here are our top tips for extending your feline friend’s life span: 

  • Keep your cat indoors. On average, house cats live 10 years longer than if they live outdoors. As a result, this is the most critical pet health decision you can make to help your cat live longer. 
  • Feed your cat a balanced diet. A balanced diet with healthy cat food that suits your cat’s current life stage supports better short- and long-term health. 
  • Take your cat to regular checkups. Regular vet checkups, vaccinations, and exams are essential steps in preventing diseases and finding health problems early on. Veterinary medicine continues to advance rapidly, so more treatments are available to extend your cat’s life, even if illness or infection is found. Checkups are especially important for purebred cats, which may be more predisposed to genetic conditions. 
  • Have your cat spayed or neutered as early as possible. Spayed cats live 39% longer, while neutered male cats live 62% longer than untreated cats. Speak with your vet about having your cat spayed or neutered if they aren’t already. If you have a kitten, consult with your veterinarian about when it would be appropriate for it to be neutered or spayed. 
  • Help your cat stay at a healthy weight. Obesity impacts your cat’s life span, ability to exercise, and quality of life. Keeping your cat at the right weight by monitoring its food and treat intake is vital to maximizing its health and helping it live the best life possible. Plenty of exercise can also improve your cat’s health at any age and help it stay trimmed. 
  • Provide your cat with plenty of mental stimulation. Exercise for the body is vital for our and our cat’s health. However, the importance of mental stimulation and keeping our cat’s mind sharp and entertained is often underestimated. Provide your cat with plenty of one-on-one playtimes with you, puzzle toys, games, and more so that it’s entertained, stimulated, and having fun, even when you’re not around. 

If you already have a geriatric cat, speak with your veterinarian about additional veterinary care, appointments, and screenings it may need to monitor its health even more closely. 

Final Thoughts

two cats playing at home
Image Source: Canva

We all want our beloved cats to live happy, healthy, and long lives. Some genetic components, such as genetic predisposition and breed, determine a cat’s age and life expectancy. However, most of a cat’s life span depends on the quality of its veterinary care, preventative measures, healthy lifestyle habits, and living indoors to reduce its risk of serious injuries or premature death. 

Regular pet care can be expensive, which is why pet insurance is an excellent option for many pet parents wanting to provide their cats with the best care.

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