Cat lifespan - The life expectancy of cats

Cat lifespan - The life expectancy of cats

One question that occurs to every cat owner at some stage is “how long will my cat live for?” While many of us would prefer not to know the exact answer to this question, nevertheless, knowing what the expected lifespan of your cat might be and any ways in which you can improve their life expectancy, is important information to possess. There are various factors that can influence the eventual lifespan of any given cat; some that we have no control over, such as genetic and hereditary predispositions to certain illnesses, and some that we can manage to some extent, such as keeping our cats safe and doing what we can to maintain their optimum health.

Do you know what the average lifespan of cats is, and how you can give your cat the best chance of living along and happy life? Read on to find out more.

The average life expectancy of cats

Taking into account all factors, breeds and causes of death, the average lifespan of the cat is between fifteen and seventeen years. While it is a sad fact that not every cat will make it to their second decade of life, nevertheless, a significant number of cats live well into their twenties in relatively good health and with a good standard of living.

The oldest cat in the world

While it is highly unusual to find a cat that has lived past their early twenties, the occasional cat lives for much longer than this! The oldest recorded cat in the world as recognised by The Guinness Book of Records was named Creme Puff, and she lived in Austin, Texas with the same owner for the entire duration of her very impressive life; Creme Puff died in 2005, three days after her 38th birthday. Interestingly, Jake Perry, Creme Puff’s owner, also previously owned another cat unrelated to Creme Puff that lived to 34 years old... Whatever Mr. Perry was doing to take care of his cats, it seems that he hit upon the winning formula!

Ways to give your cat the best chance of living a long and healthy life

While there is nothing that you can do to alter the genetic makeup or ancestry of your cat, nevertheless there are various ways in which you can take steps to ensure that you can give your cat the best chance of living to a happy and healthy old age. Some important aspects of cat care that can affect longevity include:

  • Feeding a complete and balanced diet of a good quality
  • Watching your cat’s weight and fitness levels
  • Worming and flea treating your cat regularly
  • Taking good care of your cat’s teeth and having any dental problems addressed promptly
  • Ensuring that your cat is vaccinated and receives regular booster shots
  • Opening a good channel of communication with your vet to ensure that you can get advice and help with your cat’s health when you need it
  • Learning to identify the normal health and behaviour of your cat so that you can respond promptly if something changes
  • Seeking veterinary treatment when needed to keep your cat in good health
  • Protecting your cat from any hazards, such as poisons and toxins
  • Ensuring that your cat lives in a safe area, and does not have to take excessive risks every time they go out due to traffic, dogs or other hazards
  • Keeping your home calm, friendly and comfortable for your cat to minimise stress and anxiety

Pedigree vs. Moggy

While it is impossible to predict the lifespan of a cat based on their breeding alone, it is generally fair to say that mixed breed and non-pedigree cats usually live for rather longer than pedigree cats. Generally, the longevity of most pedigree breeds is a couple of years shorter than the common or garden moggy, and so ownership of a Heinz 57 style of cat has a lot to recommend it!

It is generally considered that the mixed gene pool that makes up the average moggy is more diverse than that of pedigree breeds of cat, as by definition, pedigree cats can only inherit genes from a limited gene pool of ancestors, no matter how popular or prolific the breed in question is.

Diversity in the genetic makeup is one of the keys to good health and long life, and inbreeding or breeding back to a very limited number of totally unrelated cats undoubtedly has its effect on the robustness and long-term health of the cats in question.

This is not to say that pedigree cats cannot or will not live a long and healthy life; a significant number of pedigree cats of various breeds live well beyond the fifteen to seventeen year average lifespan figure. But as a general rule, the average lifespan across any breed of pedigree cat will almost always be a couple of years lower than the average lifespan of the general cat population.



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