Before getting your first cat, you might be very curious to know how long you can expect your cat to be a member of your family. Pets quickly become beloved parts of your daily routine, and a pet that dies young can have lasting effects on not just young children, but also adult caregivers. So, what’s the lifespan of a cat?
The answer to the question “what’s the lifespan of a cat?” can be affected by a variety of different factors, including nutrition, type of breed, and whether your cat is an outdoor cat or an indoor cat. Of course, the healthier the cat, the hardier the breed, and the more your cat is kept away from dangerous things outside such as cars and predators, the longer your cat will live. Let’s take a look at how these factors play into answering “what’s the lifespan of a cat?” so that we can better understand how long our beloved felines can be expected to prosper.
What’s the Lifespan of a Cat That Lives Indoors?
According to the APSCA, the average lifespan of an indoor cat is anywhere from 13 to 17 years, with plenty of outliers that die earlier than 13 years and later than 17 years1. Ways to extend the lifespan of your indoor cat would be a healthy diet, lots of exercise, and routine visits to the vet to catch any life-threatening conditions before they become a problem.
What’s the Lifespan of a Cat That Lives Outdoors?
While cats might seem happier and more active if they are kept outdoors most of the time, the number of risk factors at play that you simply can’t control does tend to make the overall lifespan of an outdoor cat about 3 years lower than in indoor cat. So, choosing to let your cat be an outdoor cat is a decision that you will need to think about very carefully.
Some people feel that letting their cat be outdoors is the right thing to do, and the additional years they’ll get from being indoor cats don’t make up for depriving them of their natural habitat, fresh air, and the ability to chase bugs and birds. It all depends on how you and your cat feel, so choose wisely!
What’s the Lifespan of a Cat That’s a Mixed Breed Versus a Pure Breed?
In general, mixed breeds have longer lifespans than pure breeds. So this means the answer to the question “what’s the lifespan of a cat?” differs from breed to breed. This is because of evolutionary traits and genetic diversity. While it is not a fixed rule, and pure breeds can sometimes live longer than mixed breeds in some situations, you’re better of going with a mixed breed if you want the healthiest cat possible with the longest life ahead of them.
What Are Some Things You Can Do to Prolong Your Cat’s Life?
You should generally not be cheap when it comes to the food you buy for your cats unless money is a serious issue and you simply can’t afford the more premium brands. Going to a holistic pet food store and buying a better brand of food for your cat can make all the difference as far as your cat’s attitude and health, leading to a more active lifestyle and a longer lifespan. You can even supplement your cat’s diet with real foods, like fish and meat, and that will not only make your cat very happy but will give them the nutrients they need to live long, healthy lives.
As far as exercise and play, this is very important to the long lifespan of a cat, however, if you keep your cat indoors, you’re going to have to get clever about ways to keep your cat active. Many indoor cats living a life of luxury simply feel no need to run around the house and would rather just sit on your lap all day watching Netflix with you. And since letting your cat live outdoors decreases their overall lifespan, your best bet for changing the answer to the question “what’s the lifespan of a cat?” is to find ways to keep them active indoors.
The best way to do this is to have plenty of toys, scratch pads, and maybe even an indoor jungle gym for your cats, which can be either homemade or purchased pre-made at the pet store.
Routine visits to the vet are also necessary for all cats if you wish to extend their lifespan as much as possible. Your vet can do a simple check-up once every few months to make sure your cat is getting everything they need and has no nutritional deficiencies, as well as notice any life-threatening conditions that may be coming around the corner, hopefully being able to negate them before they get worse.