Our vets at Whitesburg Animal Hospital in Huntsville see a lot of cats, ranging from newborn kittens to elderly cats living relaxed and healthy lives. So, how long can a cat live? Here we look at the factors that can influence the longevity of your kitty.
How long do cats live?
If you are considering getting a cat you may be wondering how long you could expect your feline friend to live.
It's a tricky question to answer since age ranges can vary for a number of reasons including their diet, lifestyle, and care that their owners provide to them.
That said, in most cases, you can reasonably expect your cat to live about 12-14 years, although many comfortably reach 20 years or longer.
Cats over 11 years of age are typically considered to be senior.
How long do indoor cats live compared to outdoor cats?
Indoor cats tend to live longer than those who go outdoors unsupervised. The average indoor cat lives to be about 14 years old, although many do live longer, whereas outdoor cats may only live to 7 years of age.
Cats who live indoors have a lower chance of being killed by wildlife, or hit by cars than those who venture outdoors which is the typical reason for this variation in lifespan.
That said, an outdoor lifestyle can have some benefits for cats. In cat-safe neighborhoods, being allowed outdoors can provide your cat with an opportunity to get the exercise they need and may help to alleviate boredom.
Do diet and exercise matter to my cat's health?
A key factor in helping your cat live a long and healthy life is to provide your feline friend with a nutritious diet, help them maintain a healthy weight, and encourage your cat to get adequate exercise.
Cats are built to run and jump and should be able to continue doing so well into old age, obesity can prevent your cat from being able to perform these activities.
Do overweight cats face more health risks?
In fact, obesity in cats is linked to a number of serious conditions that can significantly reduce the quality of life for your kitty or may even negatively impact their longevity. Conditions associated with obesity in cats include osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular disease.
Does dry food vs wet food matter to my cat's longevity?
Another thing to consider is what to feed your cat, wet food or dry food. It is always best to speak to your vet when deciding on the best food for your cat, however, it's fair to say that if it's within your budget, wet food can be a better bet since many cats fed a dry food struggle to stay properly hydrated.
Dehydrated cats produce more concentrated urine which can increase their risk of developing FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease). Cats on a dry food diet may also face an increased risk of developing diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and kidney disease.
If you choose to feed your cat kibble rather than wet food, speak to your vet about the right amount and frequency of feeding to keep your kitty healthy. Your vet will be able to calculate your cat's daily calorie requirements and provide you with accurate feeding guidelines.
What should I do to help my cat live longer and healthier?
Providing your cat with routine care is similar to caring for your own long-term health by attending regular checkups at your doctor's office.
Routine veterinary care begins with a series of vaccines during the first few weeks of your kitten's life, and reproductive surgery to help reduce the number of unwanted animals in shelters and protect your kitty against a number of serious conditions. Below are a few of the ways your indoor or outdoor cat can benefit from routine veterinary care.
Will getting my cat spayed or neutered shorten my cat's lifespan?
Spayed and neutered cats tend to live longer since their risk of some cancers and reproductive diseases are reduced compared to cats who are not spayed or neutered. Also, male outdoor cats who are not neutered tend to roam long distances, increasing their risk of being killed while crossing roads, or falling prey to large animals such as coyotes.
Do vaccines help cats to live longer?
By keeping your feline friend up-to-date on their routine vaccinations you will help to protect your cat against a range of common (highly contagious) illnesses that could significantly reduce your cat's life expectancy or negatively affect their long-term health such as Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia, Chlamydia, Feline Leukemia, and Rabies.
How do routine exams help my cat to live longer?
Annual wellness exams are physical checkups performed when your cat seems perfectly healthy. These annual checkups provide your vet with an opportunity to monitor your cat's health from year to year, watching for subtle changes and any concerning signs of disease. Disease treatment tends to be much for effective when conditions are spotted and treated in the earliest stages.
These appointments provide you with an ideal opportunity to ask your vet questions, review your cat's nutritional requirements as they age, discuss appropriate parasite protection for your cat, and even to have your cat's teeth checked for signs of decay.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.