The average (inside only) indoor cat lives 12 to 18 years, although some live into their late 20’s. Such as 24 year old “Poppy”, born February 1990 in Bournemouth, England or “Corduroy” living to 26 years old (since 2015) who held a Guinness world record.
Granted these are just documented cases that’ve been proven but I have read claims of cats living past 25 and beyond, like “Scooter” living at age 30… these other cases aren’t documented but I surely believe it!
Fun cat fact: According to the 2010 edition of Guinness World Records, the oldest cat on record is Crème Puff, who was born on August 3, 1967 and passed away August 6, 2005 at the age of 38 years and 3 days!
Crème Puff’s human was Jake Perry from Austin, Texas, who had another cat, Granpa, who lived to be 34.
Mr. Perry fed his felines an unusual diet which included bacon, eggs, asparagus, broccoli, coffee, and (of course) cream. We aren’t recommending this diet, but there are a few things you can do to help your cat live a long, happy life.
(Again a documented case, there could be more out there that have lived longer!)
How Long Do Domestic Cats Live?
Although many things have an effect on a cat’s lifespan, the biggest factors: (believe it or not)
- Are where your cat lives – is it urban, rural, or remote (live nest to busy roads or thoroughfares? Are there outdoor cats nearby from neighbors (feral or stray cats in your yard)? Are your surroundings full of predatory wildlife? Consistent nice weather all year?
- Their genetics – breeds
- Are they inside only cats?
- Inside/outside cats – outdoor access could take 3 – 5 years off of his/her life.
- Outside only cats.
- Diet/Exercise habits
- Medications they might be taking – flea, heart worm or ticks.
Indoor VS Outdoor Cat
It may seem obvious that keeping a cat indoors is the best choice. However, the answer is a bit more complicated.
Indoor cats can be your companions for a long time.
Genetics can affect lifespan by a few years, so you might want to avoid the Sphynx or Manx breeds (8-14 years) and instead give your heart to an American Shorthair (15-20). Most breeds fall within the 10-15 year range. But, if you’re like most of us, you aren’t shopping around. Instead, you already have a cat and want to know how to help your cat live his or her longest, healthiest life. With proper nutrition, regular visits to the vet, and loving care, you can do wonders.
Here’s a tip:
Most indoor cats pass away of kidney issues, so keeping clean water or investing in a water fountain with a filter to keep water fresh and tasty can help slow the onset of kidney issues.
The more water your cat drinks, the healthier she’ll be, and the longer she’ll allow you to adore her.
On the other hand (or end) the more your cat urinates, the better it is for his kidneys, so keeping a very clean litter box or even getting an automatically cleaning one can help as well (although I’m not a fan of those).
If your cat seems to be straining in the litter box, or urinating in a bathtub or on anther smooth surface, kidney and bladder issues could be the cause, and you need to take your cat to the vet soon.
Other changes to pay attention to include: appetite and weight loss, grooming, injuries, coughing, physical activity such as climbing or descending stairs. If any of these red lights start flashing, take her in to the vet.
Of course, it’s also important to keep your friend up-to-date on vaccines and other medications.
You can only notice changes like these if your cat is indoors where you can see his behavior and monitor his litter box usage. This is one of several reasons that inside cats live the longest.
Pros and Cons of an Indoor Cat
Keeping cats indoors permanently can be a wise choice.
There are several sensible reasons for keeping your cat indoors:
- First, you can protect your pet from the dangers of wildlife and cars.
- Second, you can reduce their risk of getting a disease or parasites, especially if you keep them strictly indoors.
- Finally, you can better monitor your cat’s health.
Cats are notorious for concealing the fact that they don’t feel well. Often, you won’t know until a condition is far advanced. It is even more difficult if you have less contact with them.
You can watch for signs easier including:
- Changes in appetite
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
However, as with most scenarios, there is another side to this story too.
Cons of an Indoor Cat
One of the biggest concerns goes back to an advantage of an outdoor cat, namely, weight maintenance. In a confined space, it may be hard for your cat to get enough exercise. That will increase her risk of becoming overweight.
That brings a host of problems including:
- Early mortality
Also, a cat that is home alone all day will likely get bored. There are your curtains and furniture to consider.
If you choose to declaw your pet (hopefully you don’t ever do this) he will be at a major disadvantage if he manages to sneak outside.
Benefits Of Outdoor Cats
The main advantage of keeping an outdoor cat is that it will provide the most stimulating environment.
There’s a reason that curiosity is synonymous with cats.
That’s important for maintaining a healthy weight. Obesity is just as much a problem for cats as it is for people. Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that nearly 60 percent of cats are overweight.
You may have other practical reasons for letting your cat outside.
- Perhaps your pet has damaged furniture or carpets.
- Maybe you don’t like having to deal with a litter box.
- Or your cat is proving herself to be a great mouser.
But there are downsides to an outdoor cat.
Disadvantages of an Outdoor Cat
The primary cons relate to health and, thus, lifespan. There are the obvious factors such as cars and other cats.
However, other things also come into play including:
- Disease and parasites (ear mites)
Some of these conditions can affect you and your family too such as ringworm and ticks. A pet can get fleas even from your backyard.
Then, there is the issue of songbirds. The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute estimates that cats kill up to 4 billion songbirds each year.
Indoor vs Outdoor Cat Life Expectancy: Sum Up
Sad to say, but inside/outside cats live an average of only two to five years.
There are dangers and environmental factors outdoors that can severely shorten the life of your cat.
You may think your cat is happier spending time outside, but if you want them to live the longest, healthiest life, then keeping them safely indoors is the best thing.
With creativity and toys, they can satisfy their needs to hunt and stalk indoors and be happy, healthy indoor cats.
Outdoors, they face such dangers as fights with dogs or other cats, cars, poisoning (both intentional and environmental from things such as antifreeze), predators, illnesses from other animals, or being picked up by animal control and subsequently euthanized.
Yes, for a cat, being outside also means being in danger.
The shortest lifespan of all is that of an outside-only cat.
These poor guys live an average of just two years.
They face all of the above dangers, with the addition of starvation.
The life of stray or feral cats is short, starving, and scary.
This is why it is important to make sure you spay and neuter your cats, because there are so many homeless ones, and to find good homes for any you come across who don’t have one.
Even feral cats can have longer, healthier lives as barn cats – horse owners are happy to have cats to keep down on rodents in the feed, and the feral cats have a safe barn for shelter, food and water.
Which Cat Breed Lives The Longest?
They say the Manx and Siamese are the breeds that, on average, live the longest but that surely wasn’t the breed of the oldest cat on record. Below is a cat breed lifespan chart from PetCareRX:
|Breeds||Average Lifespan (yrs.)|
Having a pet carries a big responsibility.
Certainly, giving her the best life is a top priority. Keeping your cat indoors is the best way to ensure she has a good quality of life.
As long as he has plenty of stimulation and opportunities to exercise, it is the wisest choice.
And with a little creativity and flexibility, you can help almost any cat live a longer, happier, healthier life.
How long have your cats lived?
Let’s hear how old your cats are! What is the longest-lived cat you’ve heard of, ever owned or have seen?
Share your personal stories, memories and awesome photos in the comments!