How Old Will Your Cat Live? + Tips to Improve Their Lifespan
Every cat owner wishes their feline friend could be with them forever. Whether you want to ensure the best care for your aging cat or you’ve just adopted a brand-new kitten, you may find yourself wondering, “How old will my cat live?” Here’s what you need to know about your kitty’s longevity.
How Old Do Cats Live?
Most cats live an average of 15 years, but some have been known to live to 20 and older! Your cat’s lifespan depends on a couple factors:
- Her breed
- Her genetics
- Her health
- Her lifestyle
The oldest cat in the United States was from just down the street in Austin, Texas. Creme Puff was 38 years old when she died.
What About Human Years?
Many pet owners believe cats follow the rule of dogs: Each dog year is seven human years, but this isn’t the case (and it’s not entirely true for dogs either! It’s generally agreed upon that a 2-year-old cat is about 25 in human years. Each human year after that is an additional four in cat years. By that math, a 7-year-old cat is about 45 in human years.
How to Tell How Old Your Cat Is
There are a few ways to tell how old your kitty is, but the person who can give you the most accurate estimate is your vet. We generally look at your cat’s teeth. Kittens usually still have their baby teeth, but by four months, their adult teeth are coming in. They have all their adult teeth by six months, but those teeth have dulled by two years old. And tartar is evident around three to five years old.
Judging how old your cat is based on her size can be a bit difficult, as different breeds grow at different rates. One year is enough for most cats to reach their full size, but Maine coons and other large breeds may take up to four years.
Body type could give you an idea:
- Young cats are muscular.
- Middle-aged cats tend to be rounder.
- Seniors have more pronounced bones.
Other ways you can determine a cat’s age is by looking at her fur, her eyes, and her behavior.
Do Indoor or Outdoor Cats Live Longer?
Your cat may want to venture outside to explore or even hunt, but it’s not the best option for her longevity. A study by Purdue showed that indoor cats can live 2.5 times longer than outdoor cats and even indoor cats that are only sometimes allowed to venture outside.
Common threats include:
- Other animals – Fights with other cats, dogs, raccoons, and even birds can lead to injuries, infections, and diseases.
- Poisonous plants
Whether your cat is an indoor or outdoor kitty, vaccinations can go a long way toward extending their lifespan. For outdoor cats, up-to-date shots are especially vital. They can easily contract rabies, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), or feline leukemia. Spread by fighting and sometimes just contact, these diseases could transfer to other cats or pets within your home.
We’re happy to make sure your cat and any other pets you have are up-to-date on their vaccinations. Just call us to schedule an appointment!
You Can Help Your Cat Live a Long Life!
Good news! There’s lots you can do to help your cat stay in the best health for as long as possible:
- Yearly checkups (a perfect time for shots) – Your vet could catch a disease or other problem before it becomes serious.
- Spaying or neutering – It does more than just prevent overcrowding of shelters; it reduces the risk of your pet contracting diseases or illnesses. Cats that are not spayed or neutered are more prone to uterine infections, breast tumors, testicular cancer, and ovarian cancer.
- A healthy diet
- Enough (fresh) water daily
- Clean litter daily or more often
- Using a cat carrier for travels or trips to the vet
- Plenty of toys and scratching posts or boxes
- Daily interactaction for bonding and stimulation
- Regular grooming, including brushing and nail clipping
- Keeping an eye out for small changes in your cat’s behavior – If you see any, schedule an appointment with your vet. Cats are good at hiding their symptoms, so observation is key!
A furry friend brings joy every year they’re with you, but you can give your cat her best life through each season if you know her lifespan. Whether you just adopted a new family member or you want to check the health of your older companion, bring your cat in for an appointment with us. We’ll help you understand her health and put you in the best position to give her the best care possible. Call us at 281-693-7387!