Everyone knows that cats have nine lives. There’s no scientific evidence for this but because they easily recover from dangerous jumps, they might as well have nine lives. Unlike dogs who are known to live on an average of 7 years, cats can live for a decade and a half. This is twice as long as a dog’s life. But take note that cats that reach this age are usually neutered or domesticated.
In fact, the longest life a cat has ever had is 38 year and 3 days. This record is held by Créme Puff who was born on August 3, 1967 and died on August 6, 2005. Créme Puff is considered the Guinness World Record holder of the oldest cat in the whole world. So if she can reach this long, can other cats do the same?
The Average Lifespan of a Cat
When talking about the lifespan of cats, it’s important to note if they are indoor or outdoor animals. This is because indoor cats can live up to 15 years while outdoor cats can only live up to 7-8 years. For indoor cats, well-groomed and fed felines can live up to 30 years as seen on Créme Puff. However, Créme Puff’s record could be broken by the next oldest living Siamese cat named Scooter. Scooter is an indoor cat in Mansfield, Texas and was born on May 26, 1986.
On the other hand, outdoor cats live half as short as an indoor cat. This can be attributed to the external factors they are exposed to. For one thing, most outdoor cats rely on food they see on streets and garbage cans. This means that they can get a hold of unhealthy or expired food for nutrition. To add to that, they can always get into danger with other animals like dogs and other stray cats.
Factors that Affect a Cat’s Survival
There are many factors that affect a cat’s survival. Owing to the fact that living conditions affect how long cats live, the same goes if they are eating different food, have different breeds, etc. You should remember that even if you give your cat the best life possible, not all cats respond in the same way to different factors. Here are some factors that can affect your cat’s longevity:
The first and primary factor for any cat’s survival is nutrition. Although this is self-explanatory, it’s important to know how much nutrition plays a role in a cat’s health.
Think about cats as human beings. When cats lack vitamins and minerals, their body organs will also cease to function properly. At the same time, this can lead to diseases caused by a weak immune system. Obesity also has the same effect on cats as with humans. When a cat is fed more calories than its body can burn, this leads to obesity. As more fat gets stored in their body, their organs can fail to keep up. Eventually, their body becomes susceptible to health risks. In fact, both malnutrition and obesity are the top health risks cats face.
- Living Conditions
The second big contributor to a cat’s life is its living conditions. Based on statistics, a cat that lives inside a home can live for at least 15 years while its outdoor counterpart can only live up to 8 years. Although there is no guarantee that indoor cats get all the care they need, the protection given by a good shelter still has a big impact.
- Veterinary Care
Next is veterinary care. In a cat’s life, there will always be a time where they will be sickly or they could catch a virus. When these events happen, veterinary care is needed to ensure that your cat has the proper medicine to recover. Modern veterinary care is now moving towards an evidence-based practice where different health conditions are treated based on how previous cases were understood. This enables them to give better medicines and treatment to cats that have encountered a disease.
With regular and preventive veterinary care, cats’ lives can lengthen. And when your cat receives regular check-ups, the chances of them getting a disease go down because deficiencies will easily be identified.
There is also such a thing as pet insurance. Pet insurance refers to access to help in terms of veterinary care. If you are worried about not having enough funds to care for your cat during times of sickness, pet insurance can get you covered for an affordable fee. There are also other services covered like diagnostic tests and treatments.
Whether you like it or not, different cat breeds have different life spans. To help you know the average of your cat, here are some cat breeds that have the longest life spans:
- Siamese – 16-20 years
- Burmese – 18-20 years
- Ragdoll – 15-25 years
- Person – 15-20 years
- Bombay – 15-20 years
- Sphinx – 15-20 years
- Egyptian Mau – 15-20 years
- Max – 15-16 years
- Nebelung – 15-18 years
- Savannah – 17-20 years
If you will notice, the cats that can live for more than one decade have one thing in common – their friendliness. Cats which are able to build social relationships feel less stressed which leads to a healthier body. And even if they are animals, a healthy relationship with their fellow cats and their owners can have a positive effect on their well-being.
- Their Pet Owners
Finally, what greatly impacts the health of a feline is their pet owners or the lack thereof. Obviously, if cats are stray, no one will be able to care for them or to bring them to a vet when they are sick. Consequently, even if a cat has an owner but the owner doesn’t know how to take care of it, then it will still be prone to health risks. But if a cat is lucky enough to be in a family that treats their pets well, their chances of living longer are higher.
Nowadays, families are starting to treat their pets as members of the family. This means that cats already have a budget meant for their food, clothes, grooming, medicine, etc.
The Life Stages of Cats
Even though a cat has nine lives, the same cannot be said with its life stages. A cat has a total of 6 stages and understanding each stage will help you know how to take care of your feline pet.
- Stage 1: Kitten
The first stage is between 0-6 months. During this time, your kitten’s life is equivalent to the first 10 years of a human. So during this stage, you will notice that your kitten will be fragile at first, but as the months go by, it will start to grow rapidly. They will also be prone to exploring their surroundings and munching or scratching furniture. If you plan on neutering the kitten, this is also the best time to do so.
- Stage 2: Junior Cat
By this time, the kitten has already achieved its normal size. This means that there won’t be any more limbs growing in length. The junior cat stage lasts from the 6th month to the 2nd year of the cat. In a human’s timeline, this already corresponds to the 10th-24th years. During this stage, the cat has reached its maturity level.
- Stage 3: Prime Cat
The prime cat stage is where your cat is at its peak. In human age, it’s equivalent to your late 20’s to 40’s but in a cat’s life, this is just around their 3rd to 6th years. During this time, your cat’s habits would have already been ingrained and they are harder to train. But even if they’re already very adult by now, pet owners should still be mindful of their vaccines.
- Stage 4: Mature Cat
The mature cat stage, as its name implies, is the most mature stage for all cats. It’s during their 7th to 10th years. For humans, this would be the 40’s to the pre-senior citizen ages. But even if the stage is called “mature cats”, felines will normally show signs of adult age. This is why pet owners should start being cautious about their cat’s food intake and exercise.
- Stage 5: Senior Cat
During this stage, your cat has probably slowed down a lot since its previous years. For most cats who lasts for only 15 years, this could be their final years. The senior cat stage starts from the 11th to the 14th years of the feline.
- Stage 6: Geriatric Cat
And lastly is the geriatric stage. This is the stage where your cat acts like a typical elderly person. They sleep and eat all day and mostly, they no longer play with their toys. Most cats show signs of deteriorating health during this stage like frequent discharge or increased purring. Although these are normal signs of aging, it would be best to consult your vet on how to deal with your pet cat.
Cats are relatively easier to take care of but that doesn’t mean that they can get healthy on their own. As a pet owner, it’s best to know how long they live and what factors affect their lifespans.