ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How Long Do Cats Live? The Lifespan of Felines

Updated on August 6, 2020
Sychophantastic profile image

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


Submit a Comment
  • profile image


    8 years ago

    My cat is 15 years old and has no sign of dying anytime soon!

  • hildred profile image


    9 years ago from Oregon, USA

    My family is lucky that they've never had an outdoor cat(that reached maturity, as one of our old females used to abandon her kittens all the time) that didn't live past 10, minus one (mine, of course!) But it also has to do with the fact we live out in the countryside away from roads. Most of our outdoor cats eventually died from being hit =( The one that died at five contracted FIV from a feral cat.

    Only one of our four cats (two are mine) now insists on being outside. And at over 10 years old herself I'm fairly sure she'll never change. The others would love to be indoor cats if my mother would let them. Sadly, my mother is incredibly prejudiced agaisnt having cats in the house for whatever reason. When I have my own place to keep my cats, they'll have to be content with a fenced in balcony or the sunshine through the window, dangit.

  • Carol Petretti profile image

    Carol Petretti 

    9 years ago from California

    We adopted two feral kittens that arrived in our yard and 1 other kitty that showed up. One of the kittens choose to come in the house, the other does it kicking and screaming. After 9 years, the now fully adult cats when outside,stay near the house,come when called, are never let out at night, and are always in when we are not home. The third kitty has choosen to be an indoor only cat. I think all cats, if allowed outside, can be taught to stay within a safe area. Most of our cats, have lived 17 to 25 years. The few we lost at younger ages left us do to various cancers.

  • FloraBreenRobison profile image


    9 years ago

    My cat is already old but I have no idea how old. She was abused before she was rescued. She has to be at least 13, and is likely more. Later this month I will have been with her for three years, with lots of vet bills and a lot of love.

  • The Dirt Farmer profile image

    Jill Spencer 

    9 years ago from United States

    Awesome, Lucky Cats. My cat Gus, who was a stray, is 22--and still going strong. Hope he makes it to 25 (at least). Enjoyed the hub, Sychophantastic.

  • Lucky Cats profile image


    9 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

    Very good advice! Cats can live long and happy lives if cared for properly and protected from predators, disease, and injury/accident. Excellent "how to" when bringing in a kitty to the family.

    My rescue cat, Lucky, lived to be 25 years old; she was my friend, family and faithful companion through some pretty interesting a well as fun times...everything I've done since her death as been in honor of her....the name Lucky Cats is in deference and love for my little Lucky. UP Useful and Interesting!

  • Sehnonimo profile image


    9 years ago from San Bruno, CA

    Nice article. It's really pisses me off when people think you're being cruel to your cat by keeping them indoors! What they don't understand is that outdoor cats usually have their lives cut short! No, no, much better to leave the cat indoors and make sure you give him things to do! Toys, towers, food puzzles, and attention! Thanks for setting the record straight!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)