Pets generally have shorter lives than us. Adopting a dog or a cat has many positive things, but it also implies that at some point there will be an inevitable and painful goodbye.
Knowing how many years a cat will live will allow us to know what stage of life it is in, what health problems it may have and how to ensure a good quality of life for it.
Cats are fairly long-lived animals, and their lifespans have only increased thanks to better and better veterinary care, good nutrition, and a generally more comfortable, friendly, and threat-free environment.
There are significant differences in life expectancy between domestic cats and stray cats: the former live much longer than the latter. In this article, we’ll tell you how long cats live indoors and outdoors, how their lives unfold, and what you can do to ensure your pet spends as much time as possible with you.
How long does a domestic cat live?
The life expectancy of a domestic cat is made up of many different factors: genetics, diet, the care it receives, the environment it lives in and pure chance. The life expectancy of a well-fed and well-groomed domestic cat can range from 12 to 20 years. The average life expectancy of cats is around 15 years.
This figure is only indicative. There are cats that have reached their 20s in surprisingly good health, while others will likely die before their first decade of life due to disease.
There are also clear differences in lifespan between cat breeds: common European cats, for example, tend to live longer than Persians.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the world’s longest-lived feline is Flossie, the handsome cary, who turned 27 in 2023, the equivalent of 120 human years.
How long does a stray cat live?
Homeless cats generally live much less than domestic cats. In other words, the same cat, without any physical or other differences, is more likely to die prematurely outdoors than indoors.
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Life for homeless cats can be different depending on whether the animals are part of a controlled colony (which are usually cared for at least to some degree by volunteers) or completely self-sufficient. However, either way, it’s a tough life.
Stray cats face problems such as:
Difficulty accessing all the food and water it may need Exposure to bad weather: excess water, cold and heat… Fights and accidents that can seriously injure the cat, but no one can do anything about it Parasites and infections (such as ringworm, scabies, intestinal worms and many other problems). All cats can be infected with it, but, again, homeless animals suffer from it more often, and no one can help them or take them to the vet.
Bottom line: outdoor felines hunt as much as they can, sleep where they can, and are prone to all sorts of illnesses without treatment. It is a routine full of difficulties and stress, which results in a much shorter life expectancy.
On average, a stray cat lives between 2 and 5 years: less than a third of what a domestic cat lives.
Cat life stages
Cats go through four stages: puppies, youngsters, adults and seniors. From adulthood, it is not easy to guess the age of a cat just by looking at it.
Kitten in the hands of the owner.
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Kitten (0 to 6 months): This is the phase marked by development at all levels. The kitten is constantly growing, and regardless of breed, it will show curiosity, playfulness, and a constant desire to learn about the world around it. It’s time to start educating and socializing them.
Juvenile (7 months to 2 years): This is an intermediate stage between a calf and an adult. Cats are still playful and restless, but are reaching puberty and may breed and develop unwanted behavior if steps are not taken to prevent it.
Adult (3-10 years): As adults, well-behaved cats with no behavioral problems will behave calmly and regularly. However, it is necessary to provide them with physical and mental stimulation as well as quality food to prevent typical problems such as obesity.
Seniors (10 years and older): Senior cats are at higher risk of illnesses and health problems and require more attention, vigilance and care. Even when healthy, senior cats are usually very calm and sleep up to 90% of the day.
How to increase the lifespan of a domestic cat?
We can’t control all the factors that affect a cat’s lifespan, but we can influence many. In general, a well-groomed cat is much more likely to live a long and healthy life, regardless of breed. To increase your cat’s lifespan, you can do the following:
Watch his diet and offer him quality food. Choose a cat food according to its age, needs and physical characteristics and avoid overfeeding it or giving it human food. Also, make sure she drinks as much water as she needs.
Try to get your cat to exercise daily. Give your cat at least 30 minutes a day and get him moving. If you need to motivate her, use cat toys. Don’t forget about mental stimulation, too: cats can learn tricks and benefit from mind games just as much as dogs.
Consider sterilizing her. Castrated cats generally live longer and are less vulnerable to diseases such as pyometra, psychological pregnancy, testicular pathologies, etc. They are also often more docile and level-headed.
To the vet.
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Take care of his health. Always be on the lookout for any symptoms that indicate your cat has a health problem. Perform regular (at least once a year) veterinary examinations with her and scrupulously respect the schedule of vaccinations and dewormings.
Also read: How to cut your cat’s nails.
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