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How Long Do Cats Live?


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How long do cats live? It’s an important question whether you’re looking to become a first-time pet owner, want to adopt a cat, or are just toying with the idea of a feline friend. You may also be interested in what your cat’s age is in human years.

A cat with an expected <10-year lifespan requires a vastly different commitment to a cat likely to live for 20 years, especially when you consider your own unique circumstances. From an emotional standpoint, new kitten parents may wonder how many years of kisses, cuddles, and laughs they can expect to share with a cat.

That’s totally understandable. Our cats are more than friends, they’re family.

Read on to find out about cat lifespan facts and figures, as well as about the oldest cat in history.

Tired old gray tabby cat with green eyes. Find out about cat age in human years

How long do cats live, in general?

The average lifespan of a cat is around 15 years. However, this varies greatly depending on a number of natural and environmental factors. The oldest known cat lived to the astounding age of 38! But more on that later.

When it comes to cat age in human years, a year in a cat’s life is equivalent to much more in human years. So a one year old cat is already like a human teen. By the time they hit the terrible twos, they’re actually all grown up and in their twenties.

A cat’s age to human years are calculated on a sliding scale. By this we mean just one year when they’re young counts for more ‘human time’ than one year when they’re in their teens. This chart shows roughly how old your cat is in people years.

A chart for you to easily calculate your feline's age in human years

Factors affecting how long cats live

Of course, every cat is different. Just like humans, there are lots of factors that influence your lifespan – from genetics through to diet and exercise. Here are just four of those factors that can have an impact on your kitty’s expected lifespan.

1. Breed

Like dogs, each cat breed has its own average lifespan and different health needs or predispositions.

For instance, the Burmese cat breed is well known for living a long life and are often still being healthy late into its teens or early twenties. On the other hand, Maine Coon and Abyssinian cats tend to have shorter average life spans.

Take a look online for more specific information on the average lifespan of your cat’s breed. Keep in mind that mixed breed cats with no pedigreed origin often live longer than purebred cats.

And seeing as lifespan can’t be the only factor in your cat decisions, find out more about the friendliest cat breeds and different cat breeds’ personalities.

ginger and white cat lying under covers in bed for long sleep. Find out about cat age in human years

2. Health

To prolong your cat’s lifespan, you need to provide it with things like:

  • nutritious food
  • clean water
  • safe spaces for playing and exercising
  • regular worm, flea and tick treatments
  • quality medical care for check-ups, routine care, and prompt treatment of illnesses

In fact, regular check-ups aren’t just good for pets, but for vet mental health too. This kitten and cat health checklist will fill you in on what health boxes to tick.

Consider pet proofing your home to ensure it’s a safe and happy environment for them. You also want to make sure it’s stimulating. A biggie with cats is claw sharpening. If you don’t have wooded trees in your garden, or your cat is indoor-only, be sure to get yourself a free-standing scratching post early on. Reach our list of pet essentials for a good rundown on what your cat will need to stay physically and mentally stimulated.

Studies also show that if you spay and neuter your cat, they’re likely to live longer. Remember your itty bitty kitty will be a teen in no time so think about this sooner rather than too-later!

3. Diet

Just like in humans, a good diet won’t guarantee a long life, but will up your chances of living a long and healthy life.

Whether you choose to feed your cat dry food or wet food, make sure it’s a brand with a strong focus on nutrition. Then ensure you’re feeding them the right quantity for their age and weight. Check against the average cat weight to make sure they’re not under or overweight. Our piece on National Pet Obesity Day has plenty of tips on keeping cats healthy too. 

Speaking of food, ever wondered Is it Okay for Cats to Eat Peanut Butter?

Close-up of an old cat. Find out about cat age in human years

4. Lifestyle factors

The way your cat lives and is taken care of can make a big difference to their lifespan. And we don’t just mean in terms of diet or access to medical care, although those are very important.

In the battle of indoor cats vs outdoor cats, indoor ones are generally known to live longer than outdoors. Why? They’re less likely to be injured in a fight, get hit by a car, or become lost. Plus, keeping our felines indoors more helps protect wildlife too.

Just remember that although you have an indoor cat this doesn’t mean they don’t need time outside. It’s vital for their physical and mental health to be outdoors regularly. Consider training your cat to walk on a leash so you can take them yonder for fresh air and exercise. You could also bundle them into a pet carrier for walkies and/or let them out to roam in an enclosed space like a catio.

Oldest cat in the world

The oldest cat in known history was Creme Puff. This tabby cat mix lived to the ripe old age of 38 years and lived both indoors and outdoors, with a screened outdoor enclosure.

Creme Puff lived with her owner Jake Perry and his many other cats, though none of her furry siblings aged quite as gracefully. Before she passed away in 2005 her diet consisted simply of dry cat food, though throughout the years she’d had quite the assortment of interesting food and drink.

Watch the video below to see Creme Puff in real life:

Looking for more interesting cat facts and fun reads? Check out these:

How long do cats live with cat insurance?

Now you know a little more about how cats age and your cat’s age in human years. They say cats have nine lives, so your pet insurance premium per life works out to be a total bargain if you think about it… Especially with our affordable cat insurance.

Depending on the pet cover you choose, it can help pay for a wide range of health care costs, from emergency vet care after an accident to ongoing illness treatment costs and third party property damage. It really can help you help your cat live a longer and happier life.

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