Given the old saying that a cat has 9 lives, it would not be unreasonable to assume that our feline friends could well outlive their owners, at least figuratively.
The big dependencies are going to be their breed, their upbringing, their sex, their genetic makeup, their access to veterinary care, and whether or not you’ve neutered them.
If they’re big risk-takers, that may also play a part in how they live, of course. Find out more about the secrets to their longevity as we look at a cat’s lifespan.
Understanding the Life Stages of a Cat
The good news is that cats have a better chance of living longer than they’ve ever had before. It’s not unusual to hear of a cat that’s lived until the ripe old age of 20 these days. Many will live to between 15 and 18 years old.
Let’s look at some of the more commonly recognized stages of a cat’s life:
Kitten, less than 6 months
The kitten phase is when you should introduce your cat to other pets, common noises, and the sensation of getting touched and groomed. It’s a time of rapid growth – both mental and physical!
Junior, 6 months to 2 years
Your cat will get to their full size during this period and will also reach sexual maturity. It is normally in this time that owners decide to spay or neuter their cats.
|Cat insurance from From||Dog insurance from||Coverage||Contribution||Own risk|
|€8.46||€12.11||€3.250 — €6.000||10% — 50%||€0 — €150
|€14.05||€17.77||€3.000 — €6.000||20%||€30 — €50
|€12.16||€17.42||€3.000 — €5.000||20% — 50%||€0 — €250
|€13.27||€20,14||€3.000 — €6.000||20%||none||View|
|€13.86||€14.67||€2.500 — €5.000||20%||none||View|
Prime, 3-6 years
The clue is in the name. This is when your cat is likely to be at their fittest and at their peak.
Mature, 7-10 years
Your cat is now at the human equivalent of someone in their mid-40s to mid-50s They may start slowing down a little and put on a bit of weight. It’s important to ensure their food consumption is a good match for their level of activity.
Senior, 11-14 years
Given they’re the human equivalent of 70 years old, your cat may start needing more mental stimulation to keep them content. They may need encouragement to exercise more too.
Geriatric, 15+ years
Some cats will start sleeping and going to the toilet more in their later years. It’s the moment to monitor their behavior carefully and seek the advice of a vet if there are any major or unexplained changes.
How Old Is My Cat In Human Years?
Of course, once you know the age of your cat then it’s a good idea to check out this Cat Age Calculator!
Key Drivers Behind Life Expectancy
We know that certain breeds like Siamese, Burmese, and Ragdoll cats are likely to live longer than others.
A protein-rich diet will help ensure your cat gets the essential vitamins and amino acids they need to stay healthy. A poor diet exposes cats to parasites and diseases that could reduce their lifespan. If you’re unsure, talk to your vet about the most appropriate diet for your cat.
Routine and preventative veterinary care is also key important. It allows vets to pick up on infections or medical issues that they can treat. Adult cats should have a check-up once a year and geriatric cats more frequently than that.
Kittens generally see a vet at around 8 and 12 weeks of age (for routine vaccinations, microchipping, and deworming), and again at 6-9 months for their spay or neuter surgery.
Outdoors vs Indoors
On average, outdoor cats tend to live shorter lives. That’s in part because they have more exposure to danger (such as cars and wild animals) compared to indoor cats. They’re also more vulnerable to infectious diseases such as the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV).
Indoor cats are, however, more prone to obesity because they are less likely to exercise as much as their outdoor cousins. Obesity can lead to osteoarthritis, diabetes, and heart health problems.
Spayed and Neutered Cats
Some studies suggest spayed female cats live almost 40 percent longer and neutered male cats more than 62 percent longer. Part of the reason could be down to a decreased urge to roam and a subsequent reduction in the number of related risks.
Spayed females have a much lower chance of developing cancer or infections of the uterus or ovaries. It prevents countless pregnancies that can take their toll on a cat’s body. It also stops the attraction of unneutered males and the fighting that can sometimes ensue.
In male cats, castration makes them less likely to roam and fight – which in addition to reducing general injury, also reduces the transmission of the FIV and FeLV viruses from bites and scratches. It also lowers the likelihood of spraying urine in the home and the attraction of other cats who might be spoiling for a fight.
Generally speaking, female cats live longer than males.
Tips to Keep Your Cat Healthy
You can help your cat live happily in their older years by the following:
- Keeping a close eye on their behavior, fur, skin, general health and well-being
- Watching for changes in appetite, water intake, lumps, litter, and grooming habits
- Ensuring your cat is up to date with their vaccinations
- Taking your cat to regularly see a vet
- Feeding your cat a high-quality, nutritionally-balanced diet and ensuring they maintain a healthy weight
- Making sure your cat gets enough exercise and mental stimulation
What Happens As Cats Age?
Cats will undergo many physical and behavioral changes as they age. These can include:
- A less efficient immune system to fend off illness
- The skin becoming thinner and reduced blood circulation
- Less effective grooming resulting in matting, skin odor, and inflammation
- The claws getting brittle and requiring clipping more often.
- Hearing loss in geriatric cats
- Poorer eyesight and a propensity to diseases that can adversely affect the eyes
- Dental pain leading to insufficient food intake and reluctance to eat
- Reduced taste and smell
- Kidney failure and arthritis leading to reduced interest in exercise
- High blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and bowel problems
- Signs of dementia such as wandering off, excessive meowing, and disorientation
Speak to a Vet Today
If you’re asking yourself “How long do cats live?” the chances are that you may have a whole host of questions about your pet’s health and well-being.
We have a team of expert vets you can speak to online. Book your time-slot now and put your mind at rest if you have concern’s about your cat’s lifespan.