“A novel has to be exceptionally good to live as long as the average cat.” This aphorism is largely attributed to Philip Stanhope, the fourth Earl of Chesterfield. Lord Chesterfield lived through the period of English literary history when novels were just becoming popular, and there was already a feeling that all forms of media were ephemeral. What was Chesterfield up to? How long do cats live on average?
What are the facts about a cat’s lifespan? Here at Catster, we’ve researched the average lifespan of cats and we’ve got all the information you need to answer the question “How long do cats live?” We’ve put the numbers together and we can tell you that like novels, cat life expectancy depends on a variety of circumstances including the environment, diet, and health. We’ll give you information on everything from the general question “How long do cats live?” on the average age of the “currently” oldest living cat, the average of the external age and the average values for the lifespan of cats indoors and outdoors.
How long do cats live? What is the average lifespan of a cat?
How long do cats live? The environment, maintenance, health, and whether the cat has been spayed or neutered – all of these factors play a role when considering a cat’s life expectancy. Sterilization can be a major factor. Spaying and neutering eliminates the risk of diseases that can affect a cat’s reproductive system as it ages.
It has become a truism on the internet that the ideal cat “can” or “can” with access to current medical and dietary advances up to 20 years old. Based on a survey of 10 reputable locations discussing the average domestic cat, the numbers are more inconsistent, ranging from 10 to 20 years old. The average lifespan of domestic cats is 15.1 years.
Cat breed is certainly a factor in answering the question, “How long do cats live?” We could list the lifespan of each breed of cat, but then we would be here forever. Our research suggests that mixed breed cats are generally tougher and live longer than purebred cats. Do you have a question about the longevity of a particular breed? Please consult our list of purebred and hybrid cat breeds.
The answer: “How long do cats live?” Like Lord Chesterfield, we are concerned about “the average cat”. On average, female cats live one to two years longer than male cats. Domestic cats, on average, live longer than cats outdoors. On average, feral, homeless, and feral cats live dramatically less than domestic cats.
What if they are house cats?
When it comes to the question, “How long do cats live?” All of the research we’ve done, overwhelmingly, suggests that domestic cats live almost three times as long as cats outdoors. How long do cats live if they are house cats? Domestic cats are usually spayed, vaccinated and freed from the stresses, risks and dangers of the outside world. They are fed regularly and have easy access to fresh and clean water.
Connected: 5 reasons to adopt an older cat
They require more attention, more distractions, and need to be encouraged to get enough exercise to avoid obesity. Fortunately, attentive cat owners offer all of these things. The number of locations we visited varied widely and was between 14 and 20 years. Based on the numbers we’ve recorded, the average lifespan of a domestic cat is 16.875 years.
How Long Do Cats Live – When They Are Cats Outside?
A number of challenges tend to limit a cat’s average lifespan outdoors. Of course, “outside” means different things depending on where a cat lives and when we answer, “How long do cats live?”
Do you live in an urban, suburban, rural, or remote area? How many neighbors do cats have outside? Do you live in a place with an abundance of predators? Are there wild or stray animals nearby? Is the weather suitable for an outdoor lifestyle all year round? How close do you live to streets and thoroughfares?
These are all limiting factors, as is increased exposure to fleas, ticks, and other parasites and diseases. Outside, cats can get into cat fights and scratches with other cats and are at an increased risk of accidents.
However, you also have the freedom to explore, mark up, and move naturally around preferred perches. Because there are so many more unpredictable variables, the numbers are generally not good, and the cat’s lifespan ranges much further, from three to ten years. The average lifespan of cats outdoors is 5.625 years.
How long can cats live?
I can hear you say, “But my cat …” These numbers are all averages. My cat Klesko has always been an outdoor cat and she is 15 years old. There are always outliers who defy average when it comes to answering, “How long do cats live?”
The Guinness Book of Records lists the oldest recorded cat age that Creme Puff, a cat who passed away in Austin, Texas at the age of 38 years and three days, a really grand, almost incomprehensible age. The age of the “currently” oldest living cat is much more variable, as this information can be out of date at any point in time.
Connected: How to increase the life expectancy of cats
Looking back on the information from the last few years, I noticed that the “current” oldest cat is between 23 and 36 years old. For the past decade, the average oldest living cat was 29,857 years old. Who is the current record holder? Instead of risking our own obsolescence, we encourage you to inquire on the Guinness website. On his page on “Oldest Cat Living” it is wise and explicit that the current record holder is a flexible and changeable position.
Tell us: How long have your cats been living? We want to hear how old your cats are! What’s the longest-lived cat you’ve ever owned, heard or seen? Share your stories and memories in the comments!
Selected photo: Photography © Dovapi | iStock / Getty Images Plus.
This post was originally published in 2017.