how long do cats live

How Long Do Cats Live? Here’s What to Expect


how long do cats live

It’s a pet parent’s responsibility to help their kitty reach those golden years by giving him proper care for each life stage. how long do cats live

So, how long do cats live If you’ve ever found yourself wondering how long cats live, the answer is largely dependent on how you and your vet work together to approach your cat’s nutrition, vaccination, oral health, and environmental needs as he changes through the years.

Here’s everything you need to know about the lifespan of cats.

Therefore, In addition to the strong emotional ties you’ll build with your new feline friend, taking care of your little fur ball is far from cheap. In fact, according to ASPCA pet insurance, cat owners should expect to spend roughly $634 annually, or $53 per month, on their pets. how long do cats live

What’s the Average Lifespan of a Cat?

The average cat lifespan is between 13-17 years. Some lucky felines have been known to live 20 years or more—the world record holder for the oldest cat on record, adorably named Creme Puff, lived to be a whopping 38 years old.   

Many factors contribute to how long a cat will live. These include:


Wet vs. Dry Food:

Both wet and dry cat food have their advantages. Wet food can help with hydration and is often more palatable, while dry food can help maintain dental health. Many cat owners provide a combination of both. how long do cats live

Life Stage Specific:

Choose cat food appropriate for your cat’s life stage (kitten, adult, senior) and any specific dietary requirements or health issues. Consult your veterinarian for guidance.

Life Stage Specific:

Choose cat food appropriate for your cat’s life stage (kitten, adult, senior) and any specific dietary requirements or health issues. Consult your veterinarian for guidance.

Fat Content:

Cats need fats in their diet for energy and overall health. Ensure that the cat food contains healthy fats like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat health.


Cats have a limited ability to digest carbohydrates. While some carbohydrates are necessary for fiber and energy, a cat’s diet should primarily consist of protein and fat.

Portion Control:

Follow the feeding guidelines on the cat food packaging, but adjust the portions based on your cat’s age, activity level, and individual metabolism. how long do cats live Overfeeding can lead to obesity, while underfeeding can result in malnutrition.

Lifestyle: How Long Do Cats Live?

Regular Veterinary Care:

Schedule annual check-ups with your veterinarian to monitor your cat’s overall health. Early detection and treatment of health issues can extend your cat’s life.

Balanced Diet: Depened on how long Cats Live

Provide your cat with a high-quality, age-appropriate cat food that meets their nutritional needs. how long do cats live consult your vet for guidance on portion sizes and dietary requirements.

Regular Exercise:

Encourage play and exercise to maintain a healthy weight and keep muscles and joints strong. Interactive toys, laser pointers, and feather wands can stimulate your cat’s natural hunting instincts.

Mental Stimulation:

 Cats need mental stimulation as much as physical activity. Hence, puzzle toys, treat-dispensing toys, and even DIY enrichment activities can keep your cat’s mind engaged.

Scratching Posts:

Provide scratching posts and pads to help your cat maintain healthy claws and reduce stress. Scratching also helps them stretch their muscles.


Regular grooming, especially for long-haired breeds, can prevent matting and hairballs. It’s also an excellent opportunity to check for any lumps, bumps, or skin issues.

Dental Care:

Oral health is crucial for overall well-being. Therefore, brush your cat’s teeth regularly, provide dental treats or toys, and consider professional dental cleanings as recommended by your vet.

Stress Management:

Create a stable and stress-free environment for your cat. Minimize changes in routine, provide safe hiding spots, and use pheromone diffusers (Feliway) to reduce anxiety.


Spaying or neutering your cat can prevent certain health issues and unwanted pregnancies, potentially leading to a longer, healthier life.

Parasite Control:

Keep up with flea, tick, and internal parasite prevention as recommended by your veterinarian. Parasites can transmit diseases and lead to various health problems.

Safe Outdoor Time:

If you have a safe, enclosed outdoor space like a catio or leash-trained your cat, hence, supervised outdoor time can provide mental stimulation while keeping them safe.

Preventative care

Regular Veterinary Check-ups:

Schedule annual or biannual visits to the veterinarian, even if your cat appears healthy. Cats are excellent at hiding illnesses, and regular check-ups can help catch issues early.


Discuss a vaccination schedule with your vet. Core vaccines protect against common and potentially deadly diseases like rabies, feline herpesvirus, calicivirus, and panleukopenia (FVRCP). how long do cats live As a result, non-core vaccines may be recommended based on your cat’s lifestyle and risks.

Parasite Control:

Keep your cat on a regular preventive schedule for fleas, ticks, and internal parasites. Discuss with your vet which products are suitable for your cat.

Dental Care:

Dental health is crucial for overall well-being. For instance, brush your cat’s teeth regularly using cat-specific toothpaste and a soft brush. Consider dental treats, toys, or professional cleanings as recommended by your vet. how long do cats live

Diet and Nutrition:

Provide your cat with a balanced, high-quality cat food appropriate for their age and needs. Consult with your vet for dietary recommendations and portion control.


Spaying or neutering your cat can prevent certain health issues and unwanted pregnancies. Discuss the appropriate timing with your veterinarian.


Regular grooming helps prevent matting, hairballs, and skin issues. For example,brush your cat’s coat, especially for long-haired breeds, and trim their nails when necessary.

Environmental Enrichment:

Provide mental and physical stimulation through toys, puzzle feeders, scratching posts, and safe outdoor time if possible.

Stress Management:

Minimize stressors in your cat’s environment. Hence, cats are sensitive to changes, so maintain a stable and comfortable living space.

Regular Exercise:

Engage your cat in play and exercise to maintain a healthy weight and strong muscles. Interactive toys and play sessions help keep your cat active.

Social Interaction:

Cats are social animals and benefit from human interaction. Spend quality time with your cat through cuddling, petting, and talking to them.

Multi-Cat Households:

If you have multiple cats, ensure they have enough space and resources to avoid territorial disputes and stress.

Emergency Preparedness:

Be prepared for emergencies by having a cat-friendly first-aid kit and knowing the location of the nearest emergency veterinary clinic.

Behavioral Observation:

Pay attention to changes in your cat’s behavior, appetite, litter box habits, or grooming. These can be early signs of health issues.


Multiple Water Sources:

Place multiple water bowls throughout your home, especially if you have a multi-story house. Hence, cats may not want to travel far for a drink.

Appropriate Bowl Material:

Use ceramic, stainless steel, or glass bowls for water. These materials are easy to clean and don’t retain odors like plastic bowls can.

Location Matters:

Position water bowls away from litter boxes and feeding areas. Cats prefer to have their water source separate from their food and restroom.


Regularly clean water bowls to prevent bacterial growth and algae buildup. Cats are sensitive to the taste and smell of water.

Water Temperature:

Some cats prefer slightly cooler water, so try offering both room temperature and chilled water to see what your cat prefers.

Fountain or Running Water:

Some cats are attracted to running water. Consider investing in a cat water fountain, which can encourage your cat to drink more.

Wet Cat Food:

Wet cat food has a higher moisture content than dry kibble. Above all, feeding your cat wet food can help increase their water intake.

Ice Cubes or Flavored Ice:

Some cats enjoy playing with ice cubes, and you can flavor them with a bit of low-sodium chicken broth to make them more enticing.

Hydration Assessment:

Monitor your cat’s water intake and urine output. A healthy cat typically consumes around 1.5 to 4.5 ounces (45-133 ml) of water per 5 pounds (2.3 kg) of body weight daily.



Polydactyl cats have extra toes, typically on their front paws. This trait is inherited and can vary in the number of extra toes.

Hair Length:

Cat hair length is determined by genetic factors. Long-haired breeds have specific genes that promote the growth of long, luxurious fur.

Behavioral Traits:

While many behavioral traits in cats have genetic components, they are also influenced by environmental factors and socialization during kitten hood.

Above all, some cat breeds are known for specific behaviors. For example, Siamese cats are known for their vocal and sociable nature.

It’s thought that mixed-breed cats are affected by hereditary illnesses less frequently than purebred cats, and so their average lifespan is typically one to two years longer. Breed-specific lifespans vary too, so purebred cat parents should take their kitty’s breed into consideration as well. how long do cats live For example: Maine Coon cats have an average lifespan of 10-13 years, while a Siamese can live to be 15-20.

Indoor Cat vs. Outdoor Cat Life Expectancy

Unfortunately, cats that are allowed unsupervised and unlimited outdoor access will find their average life expectancy cut in half. Outdoor cats are more at risk for:

Infectious disease (from wildlife and/or other cats)

Outdoor cats are exposed to various infectious diseases that indoor cats may be less susceptible to.

Here are some common infectious diseases in outdoor cats:

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV):

FeLV is a contagious and often fatal virus that affects a cat’s immune system. It can be spread through close contact, such as grooming, fighting, or sharing food and water bowls with an infected cat. Moreover, outdoor cats are at higher risk of exposure.

External Parasites:

Fleas and ticks are common external parasites that outdoor cats may encounter. They can transmit diseases and cause skin irritation and discomfort.

Lyme Disease:

While more commonly associated with dogs, outdoor cats can also be exposed to ticks carrying Lyme disease, a bacterial infection.

Preventive Measures:

Preventing infectious diseases in outdoor cats involves a combination of strategies:

Parasite Control:

Regularly administer flea, tick, and internal parasite preventives as recommended by your veterinarian.


This reduces the likelihood of fights and mating behaviors that can lead to disease transmission.


If possible, supervise your outdoor cat while they are outside to minimize risky behaviors.

Routine Veterinary Care:

Schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian to monitor your cat’s health and address any emerging issues promptly.

Provide Shelter:

Offer your outdoor cat a safe, sheltered area to seek refuge from extreme weather conditions.

Good Hygiene:

Practice good hygiene, including handwashing after handling your outdoor cat or cleaning their litter box.

Trauma (from predators and/or vehicles)

Outdoor cats face various risks, including trauma from predators and vehicles.

Some of the trauma-related risks are:

Vehicle Collisions:

Cats that roam freely outdoors are at risk of being hit by vehicles. Traffic accidents can cause severe injuries or fatalities.


Outdoor cats may ingest toxic substances such as plants, chemicals, or poisoned bait left out for rodents. Above all, poisoning can result in severe illness or death.

Supervise your cat when outdoors and be cautious about toxic plants in your yard.

Weather-Related Trauma:

Extreme weather conditions, such as extreme heat, cold, or severe storms, can pose risks to outdoor cats. Hence, they may become trapped or injured during harsh weather. how long do cats live

Provide a sheltered area for your outdoor cat and bring them inside during extreme weather conditions.

Education and Supervision:

Educate yourself and your family about the potential dangers to outdoor cats. Ensure that everyone in the household understands the importance of supervising outdoor time.

Outdoor Enclosures (Cations):

Consider building a secure outdoor enclosure or cation to allow your cat to experience the outdoors safely.

Leash Training:

If you want your cat to experience the outdoors on a leash, invest time in leash training to ensure their safety.


Ensure your cat wears a collar with an ID tag and has a microchip with updated contact information. This can help reunite you with your cat if they get lost or injured. how long do cats live

While outdoor adventures can be enriching for cats, it’s essential to weigh the risks and take appropriate precautions to protect your feline friend from trauma and harm. Many cat owners opt for indoor living or supervised outdoor activities to provide the best balance of safety and stimulation for their cats.

Parasites (fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites)

Cats most commonly contract worms after coming into contact with parasite eggs or infected feces.

A cat may walk through an area with eggs or infected feces, and since cats are often such fastidious groomers, they will then ingest the eggs or fecal particles as they clean their fur and feet. how long do cats live

This can occur in indoor cats as easily as it can in outdoor cats, particularly if multiple cats share a litter box that is contaminated with infected feces.

Outdoor Cats:

Cats that live outdoors and regularly hunt small rodents are also at a higher risk of contracting worms because the worms can live in the muscle tissues of their prey.

After eating a rodent that’s infected with worm larvae, a cat can develop a worm infestation as those larvae develop to maturity in the cat’s intestines.

Though some cats will benefit emotionally and behaviorally from supervised outdoor activities such as walking on a leash or exploring outdoor enclosures, most cats can be very happy as indoor-only pets in a properly enriched environment. Hence, and these cats tend to live much longer than those allowed to roam.

The most common types of worms in cats are:





How to Prevent Worms in Cats

Worm infestations in cats and transmission to children and adults can be prevented through good hygiene practices and the year-round use of heartworm, intestinal worm, and parasite prevention.

For indoor cats, cleaning the litter box on a daily basis, as well as changing out the litter and scrubbing, therefore, the litter box on a regular basis is vital for minimizing exposure to contaminated feces.

For outdoor cats, regularly scooping feces from the yard, sandbox, and flower beds will minimize the potential for propagation of the parasite life cycle.

Life Stages of Cats

As your cat ages, he goes through different life stages that affect his behavior and health needs.

Kitten (Birth to 1 year)

A kitten’s job is to grow and to learn how to interact with his environment. This young, playful life stage is incredibly important for setting your cat up for success. Though most kittens learn bathroom and feeding habits without much help, hence, it’s also important to socialize kittens and engage in appropriate play to set them up for behavioral success.

It’s important that kittens are fed a diet specifically formulated for growth, as they have higher caloric needs at this age to help them grow big and strong. Therefore, appropriate diets will have an Association of American Feed Control Officials nutritional adequacy statement on the label that states the diet provides “complete nutrition for growing kittens.”

Young Adult (1-6 years)

Young adult cats are still very active and playful, but they are no longer growing physically. They have reduced calorie needs and should be eating adult cat food at this time. Meanwhile, careful management of their weight will reduce the likelihood of health conditions, such as arthritis and diabetes, in the future.

It’s important to keep cats up to date on their vaccines and routine examinations, even though this age group is relatively resistant to illness. That said, certain diseases such as asthma and lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) are more commonly diagnosed at this age. Catching these issues early can lead to much more successful long-term management, and baseline bloodwork can help establish normal values to compare to as your cat ages.

Mature Adult (6-10 years)

Mature adult cats may start slowing down—they won’t play as often and can move into a more sedentary lifestyle.

Changes in behavior may be noted with regards to litter box use and nighttime activity levels. For example, some older cats will be more active late at night when they didn’t used to be and then sleep more during the day. For instance, or, cats that were once fastidious about their bathroom habits may no longer cover their poop or may go outside the litter box.

More about this:

These can be related to arthritis, cognitive dysfunction, or even early kidney or digestive issues. Mature cats should have routine bloodwork done every one to two years to monitor for early changes in the kidneys, liver, or thyroid.

Even More:

Pet parents need to monitor grooming behavior, hairballs, and weight changes closely. For instance, attention should be paid to oral health, and dental cleanings should be considered at this age at the discretion of your veterinarian, especially in cats resistant to routine tooth-brushing.

Senior (10+ years)

The transition from mature adult to senior cat can vary depending on the cat. Above all, some cats in this age range will remain spry and well-muscled for years, while others will have more illnesses and degenerative disease.

It’s commonly recommended for cats 10 and older to have bloodwork and urine testing done every six months, as organ health can change quickly.

How to Help Your Cat Live Longer

While we all wish there was a magic elixir to make our cats live forever, there’s no way to cheat death and some illnesses are unavoidable. However, there are quite a few things pet parents can do to help their cat live longer.

Stay up-to-date on vaccines: Vaccines targeted for your cat’s lifestyle are imperative to preventing some diseases that are hard or impossible to treat. However, It’s important to remember that indoor cats need their vaccinations too.

Keep up with preventative care: Cats are very good at hiding symptoms of illness, so annual checkups with your vet and routine blood testing can go a long way to detecting issues early on. Therefore, the better relationship your vet has with your cat, the more likely they will be able to key into changes during an exam. Hence, be sure to discuss any change in your cat’s behavior, even if it seems minor.

Monitor your cat’s weight: There are many life-limiting issues brought about by obesity in cats, including severe arthritis and diabetes. Ensuring your cat is eating a well-balanced diet appropriate for this life stage is extremely important. Hence, feed your cat in measured amounts (meal feeding is best, especially for multi-cat households) so that you can adjust intake to fit their individual metabolism.

Go to the Vet

Regular wellness exams and routine lab tests can help veterinarians find and treat many life-threatening health conditions before they become a problem. Therefore, they’re especially important for cats, who are excellent at hiding when they’re sick or in pain, Olson says. Hence, Bringing your cat to the vet on a regular basis also ensures she’s up to date on all recommended vaccines, prescription flea and tick for cats and heartworm medicine for cats.

Therefore, don’t be afraid to shop around until you find a vet that you—and your cat—love, Olson says. Therefore, Having a good relationship makes it easier for the doctor and staff to help your cat. They know her medical history and baseline temperament, and can usually tell with a phone diagnosis whether a strange new behavior necessitates immediate medical care.

Keep Your Cat Indoors

Cats are less likely to encounter disease-carrying pests and parasites. “When cats leave our home, we lose the ability to protect them,” Olson says.

That said, you have to make sure your house is a safe space for your cat. “Be careful with house plants,” warns Dr. Judy Morgan, a New Jersey-based holistic veterinarian. Hence, some popular indoor plants, including lilies, are highly toxic, she says, so it’s best to consult a toxic plants list (e.g., ASPCA’s Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants List). Hence, “If your cat is craving greens, try growing wheat grass,” Morgan says. “Cats love it.” Pet grass gives kitties a safe alternative to potentially dangerous house plants.

Feed Them Appropriately (and Watch Them Eat)

To help your cat live her best life, she needs a high-moisture, species-appropriate diet, Morgan says. Feed her wet and dry cat food, as kibble alone won’t do the trick. Morgan and Olson also stress that cats are natural carnivores who need plenty of meat in their diet. 

If you have more than one cat, feed them separately and monitor each one’s consumption, Morgan says. Therefore, food avoidance could be a sign of dental pain or a medical condition. Therefore, “Do not allow free-feeding,” she says. “This leads to weight gain and makes it less likely that you will notice problems right away.”

Watch Their Weight

An overweight cat is an unhealthy cat, the doctors agree. Carrying a few extra pounds can lead to a host of health conditions, including liver problems, diabetes, and arthritis. Hence, being overweight also puts unnecessary stress on an animal’s joints and organs.

Feed your cat as recommended by your veterinarian. Hence, Exercise and playtime should also be a part of your cat’s daily routine, Morgan says.

Therefore, weigh your kitty once a month and call your vet if you notice any dramatic gains or losses, she says.

Encourage Mental Stimulation

In addition to helping her stay svelte, exercise and play can also prevent stress, resulting in happier and healthier cats, the doctors say. Hence, “Indoor kitties definitely live longer, but they need to be able to perform typical cat behaviors, like hunting, pouncing and interacting,” Morgan says.

Interactive play helps cats tap their natural instincts. Remember, they’re predators in the wild, Morgan says. “If you use something like a laser to play with your kitty, make sure to give them something tangible to ‘kill’ and ‘eat’ at the end of the chase.” Hence, cat toy mice are a feline fave, as well as cat toy balls.

Other natural cat behaviors include climbing and scratching. Give cats plenty of horizontal and vertical play space with a cat tree. Therefore, a cat scratching post can help them release stress while protecting your couch. Olson also recommends giving indoor cats a place to interact with nature, whether it’s a comfy cat window perch or an elaborate “catio.”

Groom Your Kitty Daily

Not only does a regular brushing keep your cat’s coat shiny, it also allows you to get familiar with her body and immediately recognize any changes in shape, texture, or tenderness, Morgan says. Therefore, call your vet if you notice any new lumps, bumps, or sore spots, as they could be a sign of any number of painful and potentially serious medical conditions.

Tap Their Water Instincts

Cats need access to fresh clean water at all times. This you probably know. However, you might not realize a simple tweak in how you provide the water can help your cat stay better hydrated.

Because cats originated as desert animals, they’re very particular in how they like to consume water, Morgan says. They don’t like their whiskers to touch the side of their cat bowl. Therefore, switching to wide, flat food and water dishes can prevent whisker fatigue, a stressful condition for cats.

A cat water fountain is also a good solution, Morgan says. Just make sure to change the filter often.

Don’t Skip Dental Care

Dental issues can cause a host of medical problems—everything from painful lesions to abscesses to infections, Olson says. If left unchecked, dental diseases can also lead to kidney and heart problems, Morgan says. 

Cleanings, X-rays, and even extractions may be required to keep your cat’s mouth and body in tip-top shape, the doctors say. 

Get Cats Microchipped

No matter how hard we try to keep cats inside, they occasionally manage to escape. Hence, it’s possible that a door or window was left open by mistake, or that a cat darted between your legs as you entered.

Olson suggests having all pets, even those kept indoors, microchipped. Keep your registration information and contact details updated as well.

Final Thoughts

Understanding and addressing parasites in cats is crucial for maintaining their health and quality of life. By being proactive with preventive measures, seeking veterinary care when needed, and practicing responsible pet ownership, you can help ensure your feline friend remains free from the scourge of parasites and enjoys a long, healthy life by your side.

While outdoor adventures can be enriching for cats, it’s essential to weigh the risks and take appropriate precautions to protect your feline friend from trauma and harm. Many cat owners opt for indoor living or supervised outdoor activities to provide the best balance of safety and stimulation for their cats.

Understanding a cat’s genetic makeup can provide valuable insights into its appearance and potential health risks. Responsible breeding practices, genetic testing, and veterinary care are essential to ensure the well-being of cats and to minimize the risk of genetic health issues in specific breeds.


Q: Are there any signs or behaviors that can indicate a cat’s age-related health changes?

A: Yes, as cats age, they may exhibit signs such as reduced activity, stiffness, changes in appetite, increased sleeping, and dental issues. Regular vet check-ups can help detect and address these age-related changes early.

Q: Are there any lifestyle changes or accommodations I should make as my cat gets older?

A: Senior cats may benefit from softer bedding, ramps or steps to access high places, and more frequent vet visits. Adjust their environment to ensure their comfort and safety as they age.

Q: Can stress and anxiety impact a cat’s lifespan, and how can I reduce stress in my cat’s life?

A: Prolonged stress can affect a cat’s health. Providing a stable and enriching environment, interactive toys, and plenty of attention can help reduce stress and promote a longer, happier life.

Q: How do I determine my cat’s life stage, and should I adjust their care accordingly?

A: Your vet can assess your cat’s life stage during check-ups. Depending on their age and health, your vet may recommend specific dietary changes, preventive care, or lifestyle adjustments.

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