When choosing a pet, one of the common questions that people ask is how long the animal is likely to live. Each species has a different lifespan, and the potential length of a pet’s life is a deciding factor for many people. Cats are one of the most popular pet options, and how long cats live depends on many factors. Here is an overview of the typical lifespan of a cat, the factors that impact their lifespan, and how an owner can increase the chances of their cat living a long and happy life.
How Long Do Wild Cats Live?
The lifespan of wild and domestic cats differs significantly. According to Wikipedia, wild cats may live for anything between two and 16 years, depending on its breed, the environment in which it lives, and many other factors.
How Long Do Domestic Cats Live?
Domestic cats typically have a longer lifespan than wild cats. Blue Cross says that domestic cats can live for up to 20 years and that they have six life stages. Up to the age of six months, a cat is classed as a kitten. It is then a junior cat until it is two years old. Between the ages of three and six, a cat is in its prime, and it a mature cat between the ages of seven and ten. At 11, a cat becomes senior, and those that live for more than 15 years are geriatric. On average, a mixed breed domestic cat will live for 14.5 years. Generally, purebred cats have a shorter average lifespan, as the average lifespan of purebreds is 12.5 years.
Why Do Domestic Cats Live Longer?
There are several reasons why domestic cats live longer than wild cats. One reason is that wild cats face more risks in their natural environment. Becoming prey to other animals and fighting with other cats can lead to injury or death. Similarly, they have greater risks of suffering from illnesses and other infections that may lead to death, as they do not have access to vaccinations or other healthcare.
What Are Some of the Factors That Impact Cats’ Lifespans?
Although domestic cats live longer than wild cats and face fewer risks in their environment, there are many factors that impact domestic cats’ lifespan. Some of these include:
- Genetics: A cat’s genetics can impact its lifespan, as it is possible that an inherited medical condition may shorten its life. If you buy a kitten from a breeder, then ask them about the health of the parent cats and the average lifespan for that breed.
- Breed: There are variations in the lifespans of different cat breeds, and this is evidenced by studies, says RVC. For example, Bengal cats have one of the shortest average lifespans of 7.3 years. On the other hand, Birman cats have an average lifespan of 16.1 years. The lifespan of mixed breed cats can depend on the breeds that have contributed to a cat’s genetic makeup.
- Environment: The environment in which a cat lives can also significantly impact the longevity of its life. Cats that live in rural areas have lots of opportunities for outdoor exercise, which is good for their health, and they also have a reduced risk of being involved in a road traffic accident. Urban cats living indoors are at an increased risk of becoming obese due to lack of exercise, while urban cats that roam the neighborhood are more at risk of road traffic accidents.
- Healthcare: Cats that have regular access to healthcare are more likely to live a long and healthy life than those who do not have access to healthcare. Cats need vaccinations, regular checkups, and appointments if they become unwell.
- Obesity: Studies show that obesity can significantly reduce the lifespan of a cat. The cause of obesity is usually a bad diet and a lack of exercise. Obese cats have an increased risk of serious health conditions, many of which are potentially fatal. Your vet can advise you about your cat’s healthy weight range based on its age, breed, and gender.
How Can You Increase the Chance of Your Cat Living a Long and Happy Life?
Some factors that impact a cat’s lifespan are out of your control. However, there are some steps you can take to improve your cat’s chance of living a long and happy life. The first step is to make sure they have access to good healthcare. Keep up to date with vaccinations, take your cat for regular checkups, and book an appointment with the vet if your cat becomes unwell or you notice your cat experiencing any unusual symptoms. Another step you can take is to make sure your cat avoids becoming obese. The two ways of doing so are making sure your cat eats a healthy, balanced diet and making sure they are getting enough exercise. If you are unsure of your cat’s dietary needs and healthy weight range, seek your vet’s advice. If your cat is an indoor cat, make sure they have toys that will prompt physical exercise.
The Final Verdict: How Long Can Cats Live?
The lifespan of cats varies depending on factors, including their breed, genetics, general health, access to healthcare, and if they are obese or within a healthy weight range. However, the average lifespan for mixed breed cats is 14.5 years, while the average for purebred cats is 12.5 years. In some cases, cats can live for up to 20 years. Some factors that impact a cat’s lifespan are out of your control, but there are steps you can take to increase your cat’s chances of living a full life. These include making sure they can access healthcare, feeding them a healthy diet, and making sure they get exercise.