Thriving Cat

How Old Do Cats Live

Long Haired Grey Tabby Cat with Green Eyes

How Old Do Cats Live?

Everyone who has a beloved cat wonders at some point how long their cat will live. If you are worried you may take comfort from knowing life spans of pet cats and dogs can be increased by good care and are rising! The life span of a domestic cat can be influenced by many factors including the breed, the quality of vet care, food, water and attention. So how old do cats live?

Average Age of Domestic Cats is Rising.

People are spending more time, money and effort to take care of their pets nowadays. Veterinary care is also becoming more advanced and resulting in the ability to treat serious conditions and keep pets healthy much longer than in the past.

The average age of domestic cats now is  12-15 years old if it is kept inside. In the 1980’s the average life span of a domestic cat was only 7 years and in 1995 is was 9 years. That is a doubling in average life span since the 1980’s. The age a cat lives is still highly variable based on factors such as if they have good vet care a good home and high quality food. Outdoor cats face many dangers such as cars, dogs, coyotes and poisoning as well as injuries from fighting with other cats. The breed also makes a difference. Average life expectancy is only 12.5 years for purebred cats and 14 years for mixed breed cats.

What Can You Do to Keep Your Cat Healthy?

There are many things you can do to extend your cat’s life and quality of life.

1.Make sure they have unlimited amounts of fresh, clean water. Wash bowls out regularly. I at least wipe them out every day since a slime can build up if you don’t. Not getting enough water leads to kidney disease which is the most common cause of death in cats over 5 years of age.

2. Take them to the vet on a regular basis to catch any conditions early.

3. Keep their teeth clean. This is critically important. The majority of dogs and cats in the U.S. get tooth and gum disease as they age. These can lead to deadly infections as gums erode or teeth get chipped. These infections can cause kidney failure as well as pain and suffering and difficulty eating. As stated above, kidney disease is the number one killer of cats over 5 years of age. This is important to me since a chipped tooth likely caused my first cat to get kidney disease. Take your cat to get their teeth assessed by a vet and schedule a dental cleaning if necessary. This can be very expensive however since it requires anesthesia for cats. Prevent tooth and gum disease with this supplement that has worked wonders for my cats and is approved by their vets. Revolutionary Supplement Keeps Dog and Cat Teeth Clean.

4. Give them high quality food. Cheap food is equivalent to a human living off of sugary cereal and french fries and can shorten your cat’s life just like junk food can shorten our life span. This is my favorite brand of high quality cat food.5. Give them supplements, Just like people, cats benefit from extra nutrients and these supplements can help with many chronic conditions as well. This can greatly improve your cat’s life. This is my favorite line of cat supplements

5. Make sure you give them things to do like toys and cat trees to climb. Cats do better with mental stimulation and a place to get some exercise and run around.

6. Give your cat love and attention every day. Some cats may appear aloof but over time if you give them attention they will likely come to show their appreciation and affection in return. You may need to start out just talking to them or petting them gently but eventually they may sleep cuddled up next to you purring. It takes time though

7. Some cats prefer to live with other cats. Your cat may benefit from having a buddy. That may be a cat or a dog or other animal pal.

8. Just like humans, stress can affect pets. If you provide a loud, unstable environment it can damage your cat’s health and affect their overall health which can shorten their life. A calm, happy, stable environment that reduces stress helps keep cats healthy. Cats are homebodies and they like stability. They may love to run around for a few minutes but they don’t like stress or an unpredictable environment. Help your cat destress with these products which help with transitions such as travel or bringing home a new pet or baby.

9. If you want you can get pet health insurance for your cat. It is a great peace of mind to know you can afford to take care of emergency and serious health situations. Here is my recommended pet insurance.

What Is the Oldest Recorded Age of a Cat?

The record for the oldest cat accorded to the Guinness Book of World Records was a cat named Creme Puff who lived to be 38 years old! She lived from 1967 to 2005 in Austin Texas. Creme Puff’s owner also had a previous record holder cat who lived to be 34 years old! It is suspected these cat’s unusual diet may have contributed to their longevity. It included foods such as broccoli, asparagus, bacon, eggs and even coffee with cream!

How Healthy are Senior Cats?

Senior cats can be just as spry as young cats. Healthy cats are supposed to maintain their muscle mass, ability to jump and eat as they age. My oldest cat is almost 15. We adopted her at 14 and have been amazed at how healthy she is! She runs and plays like a kitten and our veterinarians are impressed with her fitness. She is sweet, incredably intelligent and fits right into the family. She is a tiny little calico medium hair with a floofy tail and extra toes. She will come when called, lay down, eat food, drink water, use the box and “Go to Daddy” all on command! We didn’t train her to do any of these things, she is just very smart. I hope more people will consider adopting a “senior” cat. They could have many good years with you and you will be saving a life since most people adopt kittens and young cats.

Jessica

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Please leave any thoughts or questions in a comment below! I would love to hear from you.

References

https://www.sciencealert.com/these-are-the-signs-that-your-cat-will-probably-live-a-long-life

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creme_Puff_(cat)

https://www.easyologypets.com/blogs/news/how-long-do-cats-live

https://icatcare.org/sites/default/files/PDF/website-longevity-mortality-cats.pdf

http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2015/03/longevity-causes-of-death-in-pet-cats/

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37 Comments

  1. Nick Cooke

    I have a cat and he’s getting older now! He’s always had a good diet and loves bacon, coffee and cream so maybe he’s going to be here for a while haha! He does get bored a lot and attacks my dog or maybe he’s just naughty I don’t know! He also seems to like pushing things off the side onto the floor! I was thinking about getting him a treehouse.

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Nick,
      I hope your cat lives a long healthy life! Cats are very intelligent and get bored if they don’t have things to do like toys to play with or things to hunt. That is why cat trees are great since cats like to be up high where they feel secure, they can sleep on the perches away from dogs, they can climb and run up the tree for exercise, scratch their claws on the scratching posts and have a great view from the top if you put it near a window. Mine sit on the tree to watch the birds (we put a bird feeder right outside for their entertainment). Your cat may feel more vulnerable to the dog as he gets older and that may explain why he attacks the dog. He is just trying to defend himself with a good offense as he gets less able to defend himself. A cat tree would certainly make him feel more secure. The cat tree I review here is the best I have found for size, value and options for the cat.

      Thanks for stopping by,
      Jessica

      Reply
  2. Ola

    This is a lovely post and highly informative. Thanks for sharing this wonderful knowledge with your readers. I am a pet lover but surprisingly  I don’t know cats do spend up to  12 -15 years. The tips to keep our cat healthy are just on point and also a great eye opener for me.

    Thanks for sharing

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      12 to 15 years is an average but healthy cats often live into their 20’s if they are taken care of and given the opportunity. Thank you for stopping by,

      Jessica

      Reply
  3. Ayodeji

    Hi Jessica,

    I had no idea that cats do live that long (13-15years) until I got to this site. Based on theories I once heard that cats has 9 lives and that’s the first thing that came to me when I  first saw you topic. This is a great post, really educative and interesting. Keep up the good work. 

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Cats don’t have 9 lives. That is a bad myth that probably contributes to their poor treatment. Cats have 1 life like everything else and we need to take very good care of them if they are to live a long,healthy and happy life. 

      Jessica

      Reply
  4. Louis

    I had a cat which I inherited after my neighbor moved away to a new country. I didn’t know how old the cat was as at the time I got her but she lived for 6 years. She died suddenly from a heart disease. Till today I still believe I could have taken better care of her. Now, I’m scared of getting a pet because I don’t want my little kids to grieve when the pet passes on.

    Thanks for this write-up, had some good ideas.

    Kind regards

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Louis,

      Having pets is a wonderful thing for kids. Kids who grow up with cats usually don’t end up getting allergies later in life. They have a wonderful friend growing up and they learn responsibility to take care of a pet. I am so glad I grew up with pets. It is hard to lose them though. 

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Jessica

      Reply
  5. Curtis

    Awesome information about cats. I love all your tips and completely agree with all of them. We always have provided all our animals with high quality foods and of course some treats. We have six indoor cats and they are ages 2 – 12 years and they are all very healthy.

    They are a pleasure to have and they help relieve any stress we have through the day.

    And don’t forget to give them some catnip occasionally for fun.

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hi Curtis,

      Yes, ours all love catnip too! I got a live catnip plant last summer and put it out on the deck so mine could go out. They don’t all get into the live catnip but they all agree on the dried version! Our old girl who is almost 15 is the one that loves the live stuff. She is so spunky it is amazing.

      Thanks for your thoughts here,

      Jessica

      Reply
  6. Festus

    Thank you for this informational read you’ve shared with allI’m learning new things here today., 38years is a big deal!We love pets in my family, and have kept quite a few over the years.As you’ve said, i also believe that the breed and quality of care the pets receive is largely responsible for their longevity.Thank you for the healthy tips you’ve shared, definitely keeping them to heart.

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      You are welcome Festus. I love pets and want to do all I can to keep mine healthy and help other people keep their pets healthy as well!

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Jessica

      Reply
  7. Kenechi

    Thanks for your beautiful article. Knowledge about things like this is very important. It is good for domestic animal lovers. People who love to keep cats should learn to keep them in good health conditions and keep them safely by always taking them to the vet and also regular teeth cleaning. That’s way too important. 

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Yes, that is all true.Thank you for stopping by Kenechi. 

      Reply
  8. Michele

    Hi Jessica – that’s pretty amazing that the average lifespan of a cat back in the 80’s was 7 years, and in 1995 it was 9 years, and now today it is12-15 years.  That just shows that people are taking better care of their cats, and there is better vet care available. 

    I can’t believe that person in Austin Texas had one cat live to be 34 and then another one live to be 38.  That’s incredible.  It makes you wonder what did they do in caring for their cats that could have allowed them to live so long.

    Thanks,

    Michele

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Yes, they were certainly doing something right! I wish they wrote a book or something to share their great wisdom on the subject! I will be trying to get my cats to eat asparagus and broccoli now since those were on the cats’ diet!

      Many cats pass away in the first year of life so if they make past that then they have a great chance of living a long life. Many cats live into their 20’s now! I knew one person who had a cat that was 29!

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Jessica

      Reply
  9. Scott

    Didn’t realize that purebred have a shorter life span than a mixed bred. That is an interesting fact to learn. 

    After reading about Creme Puff, I had to check out a picture of her. She was a pretty cat. 

    It’s a nice trend to see that humans realize that just like themselves if they take good care of their pets that they can extend the lifestyle for their loved fur ones. It’s never an easy thing to say goodbye to a loved pet, so if we can do things to help extend our time with them it’s a wonderful thing to do.

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Scott,

      I believe the same is true of purebred vs. mixed breed dogs as well as cats. Purebreds can have shorter life spans. It is due to natural selection creating a better mix of characteristics in an animal than humans can. We choose for looks or certain traits we want, not health when we breed an animal.

      Yes, it is great there is so much we can do to keep pets healthy now and give them a longer, healthier life.

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Jessica

      Reply
  10. Olalekan

    Your post is appreciated. Though I am not a fan of cats cos I get scared of their yellow eye balls. In this part of the world Africa, though not generalising, only few people have cats at home unlike the western world. Here we have more of dogs. But I have a question, what’s the benefit of having a cat at home? We generally know people like dogs at home for security? 

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Cats keep mice and other pests out of the home. These rodents carry many diseases. The Bubonic Plague in Europe was caused in part because people started to fear cats due to superstitions got rid of them. Without cats there were many more rats and these spread the plague. An estimated 25 millions people died from that plague. 

      Cats are wonderful pets as well. They can be our best friends just like dogs. They are loving, smart, show affection and keep us company. 

      Having cats increases health. People who have cats have a 30 percent lower chance of dying of a heart attack or stroke! Cats reduce stress and anxiety. 

      A cat’s purr helps bones heal (this is proven fact not just a myth).

      Young children who grow up with cats are less likely to have allergies later in life. This is not just allergies to cats but many forms of allergies. 

      Cats warn of danger just like dogs. Cats have saved humans from fires, gas leaks and other dangers by waking them up at night. Cats have detected cancer in their owners, and many other health problems such as knowing before their owner will have a seizure. My cat is a guard kitty. He growls when someone or something is outside that is not supposed to be there. I have woken up at night hearing him growl. 

      There are cats who have fought off buglers breaking into homes and there is video I have seen of cats chasing off bears!

      Cats have many many great qualities…these are just some of many more!

      Reply
  11. Angella

    I must say that I never thought that people cared about their cats age, as much as I do. I have 2 cats, 2 females. The male died a few months ago after a dog attacked it.

    The first is 7 years, and the other is almost 13.

    I couldn’t help but notice your healthy tips when you said to keep their teeth clean. I have never cleaned the teeth of any og my cats. They’ve probably done it at the vet, but I’ve never done it myself. After reading this, I am sure to start to ensure that I have a much healthier cat!

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Angella,

      No, vets do not clean cat’s teeth unless you schedule it and pay for it. It is very expensive and usually requires general anesthesia. It costs hundreds of dollars and can cost thousands if they need to remove damaged teeth. That is why it is important to try to keep your cat’s teeth clean. It is expensive and difficult to have them cleaned at the vet. 

      I am sorry your 3rd cat was killed. That is so sad. 

      Thank you for stopping by,

      Jessica

      Reply
  12. Aweda Olakunle

    I am a cat enthusiast. I have a cat of 8 years presently and I have been wondering how to take care of it as it is aging so as to be able to spend more time together. Your post is highly informative an finding out the average life of a cat is high has given me joy that we still have some great years together. Thanks for the tips also

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      I am glad this made you feel good knowing your cat can have a long and healthy life with proper care. 

      Jessica

      Reply
  13. Linus Udochukwu Marvellous

    I can never agree more. These cats are living things and just live every other living thing if there is no care or less care, their life span reduces. Cats are very wonderful creatures and when you get to have them, you have something you can cherish. From experience, I have come to understand that without proper care, your cat will not live as long as it should.

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      That is very true Linus. Thank you for your thoughts here. 

      Jessica

      Reply
  14. ajibola40

    Thanks for writing this article on how old does cat live. I find it so informative at my end because I never think for ones about how many years a cat can live among us but all I know is that death is certain for them too just like human being with flesh and blood.there are some of the point you write in this article about cat that I don’t dont do to my cat and I never see them as something that can kill my cat quickly.like I do wash my cat bowl one in 3 days and some other things. Thanks I will do some major correction because I love my cat and it is the first cat I ever keep

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      I am glad you got some useful information here with steps to keep your cat healthy. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. 

      Jessica

      Reply
  15. Selenity Jade

    My mother got two kittens when I was in high school. This was in the 90s, so many cats were more common as indoor outdoor. Anyway, the two kittens were siblings. A tuxedo boy and an orange tabby girl. The girl, Sassy, was completely indoors. She had no real interest in the outdoors. Her brother, Sly though, kept sneaking out so we eventually just let him come and go. Both were fixed young, had all their shots, and being in Montana flea medicine isn’t usually necessary unless you go to dog parks or have a lot of strays around. Too cold I guess.

    Both cats stayed with us (Sly lived with me then my brother and Mom kept Sassy) their entire lives. Sly was a neighborhood bully and got in cat fights, so had two times he got abscesses from fighting, but no URI or any issues. He did eat too fast sometimes which caused him to throw up occasionally, though. No medical reason the vet could determine.
    Sassy, the indoor kitty once got out, got lost for a month just down the street from home, and obviously we found her. She had no health issues.

    Sly was put to sleep when he was 18 years old. Just old age, he was still eating and drinking, but slowly getting skinny and frail as he got older. His organs started shutting down.

    Sassy had to be sent over the rainbow bridge at 19 years old, pretty much the same thing. She was just old, couldn’t eat anything but soft food, and she had kitty dementia. Her organs started failing. That was two years ago.

    Cats can live a long time with proper care and vet visits. They were on a fairly cheap Friskies diet their whole lives too. No special diet. No real dental treatments except when Sassy was very old, but nothing major. But they weren’t purebred, and they were loved their whole lives by the same family, and got decent care. Love those cats and miss them even today. ❤️

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      My childhood cat lived an indoor/outdoor life here in Alaska. He slept inside every night (we made sure he came back in because of owls and coyotes) but went outside every day in summer and whenever it was warm at all year round. He also had a cheap food diet but he ate all the wild rodents, birds, plants etc. so his diet was actually very healthy.

      I agree cats in those days could live long lives but I think they do much better in a more rural area if they are going to be outside. In the city, outdoor cats face many dangers.

      I am glad your cats were well cared for. Thanks for stopping by and sharing their story!
      Jessica

      Reply
      1. Selenity Jade

        This is true, eating rodents and birds supplemented his cheap diet. Though that comes with the drawback of worms. Still regular vet visits kept him healthy.

        I absolutely believe a kitten should be indoor only from the beginning as long as they are properly stimulated, they will be happy as well as healthy.

        But I think sometimes it’s unavoidable with cats raised in the streets or barn cats or cats who were strays for a long time. Sometimes they just don’t adjust to indoor confinement. I honestly believe they absolutely need the stimulation of the outdoors, there was a study I read about that I’ll have to try to find for you. But if they’re properly stimulated indoors and preferably have an outdoor area they can safely be caged in or leashed journeys, an indoor life can be just as happy. 🙂

        Reply
        1. Jessica (Post author)

          I completely agree. As with most everything in life it is not a black and white issue where cats should always or never be outside or inside! I want to get a better leash to walk mine again. Most of them outgrew the cheap one I have. Mine love the balcony too.

          Reply
  16. Vicki

    Hi Jessica

    My neighbour has 3 cats and adores them and I have been looking online trying to find a post on Cat Health and landed here – SO great 🙂

    I have read through this post and I am going to get my neighbour over to read this post as well and I sure she will love to go shopping for products for her oldest cats teeth as he is ancient – 17 and needs some help

    He still has most of his teeth but a product to help clean them would save her money with a vet visit

    This is a great site thank you

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hi Vicki,

      It is fascinating to me that cats live so much longer now than just a few decades ago. I am glad I can help share information to keep cats healthy. Tooth and gum disease are the norm for old cats (especially on modern diets) so any way to prevent or treat it is important to their overall health and lifespan. 

      Thanks for passing this on to your friend! I hope the information on my site can help her take care of her cat. 

      Jessica

      Reply
  17. Riaz Shah

    My biggest mystery solved Jessica!

    My oldest cat Tinkerbell has been with us for 9 years now and it’s still running around as though it is still young so I’m quite curious about how long it actually lives. You could say that I’m also worried as well seeing that it could disappear anytime. 

    My neighbour told me that when cats die, they’ll disappear and rest under a tree so as to not be a bother for its owners and thinking about it makes me a little bit sad. So glad to see your cat running around at 15, means I don’t have to worry much now do I? There’s a still good 5-6 years more yay! 😀

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Riaz,

      My cat is 15 and still perfectly healthy. Depending on the cat and their care they can easily live to their late teens or early 20’s. Hopefully your cat has many healthy years ahead!

      Jessica

      Reply
  18. Henry

    Hi! How old do cats live? I had this question and searched it in Google. And your site has answered it and also given me these interesting facts:

    1. Since 1980 the average life span has doubled! It was only 7 years back then and it can be 12-15 years now.

    2. Average life expectancy for purebred cats is only 12.5 years and for mixed breed cats it’s 14 years.

    3. Guinness Book of World Records states that a cat called Creme Puff from Austin Texas, that lived from 1967 to 2005 (it celebrated it’s 38th birthday) has the record of the oldest cat.

    Reply

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