Out of all the furry friends you can have, cats seem to have the longest lifespan.
They average about 10-15 years when they’re kept indoors. But some cats live much longer than that. It’s not unheard of for cats to make it well into their 20s.
Mixed breed cats in general have less health problems than their purebred counterparts.
But that doesn’t mean some breeds don’t outlive them. No matter the cat type, felines who live outdoors have the shortest lifespan, by far.
There are many factors that go into your cat’s lifespan. Feeding them the right diet and making sure they get enough exercise will help expand the number of years they’re around.
Keeping up on veterinarian visits and watching out for diseases will also help them live the best life possible.
Below I have outlined everything you should know about cat lifespans, including how you can lengthen them.
Common cat breeds
Though the average lifespan of a cat is 10-15 years, that changes for certain breeds of cats. Some purebred cats have multiple health ailments, but others don’t, and tend to live lengthy lives.
Siamese are one of those breeds. They have a lifespan of 12 to 20 years. Burmese can be included as well, living 16 to 18 years.
Adventurous cat owners might be inclined to get a Savannah Cat, who lives 12 to 20 years.
Ragdolls come in at 15+ years, and Balinese are at 12 to 20 years. These are just averages, of course, so your purebred cat can live more or less years than this.
Some of the shortest living purebreds include:
1. Abyssinian (9-14 years)
2. American Wirehair (7-12 years)
3. Bengal (10-14 years)
4. Burmilla (7-12 years)
5. California Spangled (10-12 years)
6. Cornish Rex (10-14 years)
7. Cymric (8-14 years)
8. Devon Rex (9-14 years)
Sadly, outdoor cats likely won’t live long. They average about 2-4 years. This is due to them being exposed to various diseases, predators, and traffic.
Many outdoor cats are killed by cars or coyotes. Male cats are known to fight other male cats, and can often get Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), which is the cat version of HIV.
They can also get Feline Leukemia Virus, and countless other bacteria and viruses. For the safety of your cat, it is always recommended to raise them completely indoors.
You can take them outside on a leash if you wish to, as long as you don’t expose them to other cats or animals.
Factors that increase cat lifespan
As carnivores, cats need to eat a diet primarily consisting of meat. The majority of cat food currently on the market abides by this rule, listing a meat source as their first ingredient.
But not all cat foods are on the same level in terms of quality. Many foods have an abundance of filler ingredients that cats have trouble digesting.
Some ingredients even prevent the proper absorption of protein. We’ve written about human foods that are safe for cats, but these should be fed infrequently, if at all.
Because cats would not be consuming vegetables in the wild, they lack the enzymes needed to break them down.
Similarly, they wouldn’t be eating carbohydrates or lactose in large amounts if they were in their natural habitat, so these ingredients aren’t necessary in their diets.
Cats need at least 5.5 g/kg of protein every day, meaning an eight pound cat would need to eat at least 20 grams of protein each day, at a minimum.
There are also several amino acids that are vital to a cat’s health, including taurine, methionine and cystine.
Feeding your cat a vegetarian diet will no doubt lead to health problems and a shorter lifespan.
Not providing them the correct protein and vitamin amounts can be fatal. To ensure the longest life possible, feed your cat high quality food with the nutrients it needs.
Just as humans need to go to the doctors to prevent and treat medical conditions, cats need to make regular visits to the vet.
In the first few years of a cat’s life, it’s vital to take them in at least once a year. At these appointments, you will have your cat’s blood drawn and checked for signs of disease.
The vet will also examine your cat’s body and weight. It’s easier to treat conditions that are caught early, so taking them in annually is very beneficial.
When your cat reaches its senior years, you might want to take them in at least twice a year. And if your cat has a known, chronic medical ailment, it is best to take them in at least three times per year.
By taking them in regularly, you’ll also be able to stay updated on their vaccines.
Making sure your cat stays active will not only prevent them from becoming overweight, but will also help with their sleep quality and overall health.
Cats who exercise regularly exhibit less anxiety-driven behaviors. While cats can become lazy, you can encourage them to play by engaging them with toys, catnip, or laser pointers.
Once you introduce regular play into your cat’s life, they will not only live longer lives, they’ll also be happier.
Keeping your cat’s coat free of knots can help maintain their skin health and prevent digestive issues. While brushing them, you can also examine them for lumps and other bodily changes.
Brushing your cat’s teeth is also an important part of a healthy life. Plaque build up leads to an abundance of oral bacteria, which is then absorbed into the bloodstream.
This can lead to many problems that affect multiple organs in the body, including the heart. If your cat doesn’t tolerate teeth cleaning, you may have to take them into the vet to get it done.
Cats live considerably long lives, especially when compared to dogs.
Maintaining their health by taking them into regular vet visits, feeding them high quality food, and grooming them will undoubtedly lead to a longer life.