How long do cats live?
The truth is the average lifespan of a cat is a guessing game. There are many factors that come into play when wondering about how long moggy will be around.
From food, to exercise and stress we will go through what affects how long cats live and what we, as owners, can do to extend the average life span of our cats. Of course, we can only pray that our cats live a long, healthy and happy life. But it is an important question to ask when buying or adopting a cat or kitten.
If you are after the lifespan of a specific breed check out our cat profiles section where you will find information on each cat.
What can affect a cats lifespan?
A cats life expectancy can vary from breed to breed. Some breeds such as the Burmese cat, the Siamese cat, and the Manx cat have the longest cat life expectancy. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will outlive any other breed of cat.
For example, the life expectancy for an indoor cat is much longer than that of their outdoor counterpart. This comes down to a number of factors including health, exposure to diseases and the dangers of the outdoors – predators, cars etc. Outdoor cats are a lot more likely to pick up diseases and spread them amongst themselves. They often suffer more as they don’t have or have fewer visits to the vet.
Purebred and domestic mixed breed cats also have a longer life expectancy.
Some of the factors that can affect the average lifespan of cats are;
- Indoors or outdoors cat
- Vet checkups
What can increase the average lifespan of your cat?
Exercise to extend a cat’s lifespan
Probably one of the most important factors to extend those cat years is how much exercise your cat gets. Generally speaking, most cats love to play and run but if your cat is a full-time indoor cat more than likely they will also have many lazy traits.
House cats can live longer than most other types of cat due to the amount of love and care they get. We as owners though can be their worst enemy as well as their best friend. We tend to overfeed and reward them with one too many snacks.
I mean, why not? We love them and its great to see them happy. But cat diabetes and obesity are a real issue. These diseases can lead to PKD and cardiac problems. Making sure your cat gets plenty of exercise helps keep their weight down and extends their average lifespan.
A lot of house cats can be taught to walk on a leash, if you don’t want to take your cat outside then you can always buy puzzles which will help keep them entertained as well as moving and shaking. Fishing pole toys and feathers are another great way to keep your cat moving.
Scratching is a pass time which drives many of us crazy. But for our cats, it is a way to release tensions and expand some energy. Having multiple types of scratching posts, in different material, around the house will encourage your cat to keep active whilst not ruining your sofa.
According to the PDSA playing with cats is a great way to improve the life expectancy of indoor cats. ‘Cats hunt and chase in short bursts, so play in five- or ten-minute sessions with pauses for your cat to catch their breath’
It is important to try to fit in multiple play sessions a day as this will keep your cat active and help keep them healthy.
House cats love to explore and cat trees and condos are a great way to increase the average lifespan of your cat whilst keeping them exercised and entertained. Cat trees and condos can come in multiple levels which your cat will have to jump and climb to access.
Tips to encourage your cat to play;
- Try different types of toys – If your cat doesn’t like the ball you bought him, he isn’t miserable. He would probably just prefer another type of cat toy. It is important to try different types of cat toys as you will not only find out which ones he loves, but he will get to play, move and stretch in different ways.
He may chase a ball and tap into his speed and hunting instincts or may practice pouncing on a feather. Different toys will stop him from getting bored and keep him exercised.
- Play in the morning and evening – Out in the wild cats will tend to hunt in the morning and evening. This is a perfect time for interactive play and afterward, is a perfect time to feed them.
- Short burst play sessions – Cats hunt and are active in short sessions so keep it brief. Three or four ten-minute sessions throughout the day will be more beneficial for your cat health than one twenty-minute session.
Food can impact the average lifespan of cats
Ah, the most luxurious thing in life, not just for cats! We are always tempted to feed our cat a little bit more or reward them with a few more treats than we should. To top it off some cats are quite sneaky and have no problem navigating your shelves to find the treats.
Cat food can have a major impact on how long cats can live. It is important to know what kind of diet is best for your cat as a cats diet can change depending on their age, breed and size. It is also worth noting there are companies out there who make specific food tailored to each breed of cat.
Cats are not vegetarians, even if you are. They have to eat meat – Cats require certain proteins in their diet to keep them healthy. These proteins are only found in meat. When you buy your cat food make sure it comes from a reputable store and has all the requirements your cat needs.
‘A good premium commercial food is the safest and best way to feed your cat’ – Humane society veterinary medical association.
When buying your cat food cheap isn’t the best way. Usually, cheap cat food is filled with additives and sugars which can have a negative impact on your cats’ average life span.
Please don’t forget it is very important to make sure your cat ALWAYS has access to fresh and clean water. Cats and kittens can become dehydrated which could lead to them developing a urinary tract disease.
You can always check with your vet what diet would be best for your cat.
The life span of cats – Vet care
Another vitally important point in understanding and extending your cat’s life expectancy. How often you visit the vet!
Wellness exams every six months with blood work for early-onset diseases can help detect and manage such diseases as feline kidney disease, which is quite common in ageing cats. It is important to keep your cats vaccinated as outdoor cats, who may be carrying diseases, can spread to your house cat quite easily.
There are a few things we can do at home though to make sure our cats are living their best life.
Checking your cats teeth can reveal a lot about their general health. Chronic tartar, gingivitis and plaque can lead to bacterial growth which can spread throughout the rest of your cats body. It is best to clean your cats teeth with a toothbrush and a cat formulated toothpaste.
Regularly grooming and brushing your cat removes dead skin cells and reduces the chances of your cat suffering from a hairball. It is also a great time to check their eyes and ears for any redness, inflammation or bad smells which could be the start of an infection.
Adding vitamins to your cats food or water is a great way to make sure they are on top of their health game, but it should be noted that you would be best to consult with your vet before giving your pet any additional vitamins. Most quality pet foods will have these added.
Apart from those things we can do at home, regular check-ups with your vet are important if you want your cat to live a long and fruitful nine lives.
Love is all they need
Well, this one seems easy, doesn’t it? What better way to improve the life expectancy of your cat than to shower him with endless love and cuddles. I think it is safe to say with any living creature rewarding them with love and time makes them feel easy, reduces stress and helps calm the mind.
Stress can cause all sorts of horrible diseases in humans, as well as animals. Cats can be very empathetic to their owners’ feelings so don’t be surprised if they come for cuddles more often when they think you’re sad.
Make sure to spend time stroking and grooming your cat. It will relax him and reduce stress which in turn will help prolong his life span.