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How Long Do Cats Live? The Lifespan of Felines

Updated on August 6, 2020
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I'm an eclectic gal with many diverse interests. They include relationships, film, trivia, and an assortment of other things.

Different Types of Cats Have Different Lifespans

The lifespan of the average house cat depends on several factors: breed, diet and lifestyle. Also, feline lifespan depends on whether the cat is an indoor or an outdoor cat. Although nobody can say definitively how long any particular cat may live, here are some general guidelines. Hopefully, these guidelines help you determine how long your particular cat may live its life.

Note: I've been an owner of cats my entire life. I have had a couple cats live more than 20 years. And those were outdoor cats for much of their lives. However, its always better if you can keep your cats indoors. I've also had a number of outdoor cats die prematurely. Cars killed more than a few of them. Some just disappeared. Remember, it's better for the cat if you keep them inside. They'll live longer.


Indoor Cats (12-14 Years)

Owners should keep their cats indoors for a better chance at a longer life. Additionally, cats will have a better chance at avoiding diseases. This leads to fewer vet bills. And anyone who has taken their cat to the vet a few times knows how expensive that can be. Indoor cats usually get plenty of exercise, so that should not be a concern. The reason that indoor cats live so much longer than outdoor cats has to do with several things. Firstly, exposure to disease. Secondly, other animals. And finally, the general risk of being outdoors.


Outdoor Cats (3-4 Years)

It's not uncommon for cat owners to argue for the importance of letting their cats roam outdoors. After all, the domestic house cat is related to much larger wild cats. Wild cats are hunters and they hunt outside, not inside. However, cats are perfectly content inside. It is a rare cat who demands you let them outside. And I've owned them. In fact, that one cat decides to pee indoors unless I let her out, but that's unusual. Usually, if you keep your cat inside, it will be happy and won't need to go out.

If you decide to let your cat outside, just know that you lower its life expectancy. Also, you expose it to many other elements that will raise your cost of ownership. Consistent vet visits are absolutely necessary with an outdoor cat. The lower life expectancy of outdoor cats is due to this exposure. Sadly, in my day, cars ended the lives of several of my cats. Undoubtedly, such accidents lead to the sharp decline in life expectancy.

Feral Cats (2-3 Years)

Feral or stray cats have the shortest life expectancy of the common house cat. They are subject to much exposure and are often sick. On average, a feral cat who finds its way to a shelter it unlikely to leave. Shelters must euthanize feral cats due to that disease. These cats carry all sorts of nasty bugs. They are likely to transmit those bugs to other, healthier cats. Vets have no reason to care for them, particularly when most shelters overpopulation burdens most shelters..

The short life expectancy of the feral cat should be a warning to cat owners. Obviously, those who let their cats outside put them at greater risk.

Different Breeds

Many cats can live longer than 14 years. I had a cat who made it to 22 years and several who aged to about 18 years.

Like dogs, different cat breeds have different lifespans. The very nature of breeding can affect lifespan.

Among breeds that have shorter than normal lifespans are the Sphynx, Manx, Singapura, and Munchkin.


The conclusion of this article should be obvious.

If you care about your cat and how long it lives, please try to keep your cat inside. Inside cats are healthier, just as happy as outdoor cats, and clearly live longer.

The longer a cat lives, the more time it will have to make you happy too!

I've had many, many cats in my life. The cats I've kept indoors have also probably created thousands of fewer dollars in vet bills.

Please keep your cats indoors.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Sychophantastic


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