Life Expectancy: How Old Do Cats Get?

The life expectancy of cats depends on various factors. Care, environment, and nutrition play the most important roles.

Next to the dog, the cat is one of the most popular pets. The noble fur carriers are often loyal companions of humans for decades, a full family member.

Life expectancy is an important point when deciding on a cat: with the cat comes the responsibility for the pet, for the entire cat’s life. And of course, you want to roam through life together for as long as possible. However, the life expectancy of a cat depends on a number of things.

The oldest house cats in the world

Again and again one hears of cats that live well over 20 years. The Guinness Book of World Records reports on the Texan cat “Creme Puff” who lived to a proud 38 years and 3 days. Several cat owners are known whose animals lived well past their 30th birthday.

But a purring Methuselah of this age is an exception because these very old seniors have lived to a much older age than the average life expectancy of all cat breeds would suggest.

The life stages of a cat

The life expectancy of cats is not the same for every animal. Depending on the breed, habitat, conditions of care, and the diseases that occur, the lifespan of the beloved house tiger can vary in length.

On average, domestic cats live between 10 and 15 years today. In the course of its life, the animal goes through different development phases.

The speed of their development is particularly high in the first two years. A two-year-old cat is comparable to a human in their early twenties. From then on, each cat year is comparable to about 5 human years.

From the age of 10, we can consider the cat as a senior: it has reached the last phase of its lifespan.

The way of life is crucial

Just as with humans, life expectancy is highly dependent on the circumstances under which the individual lives. It is well known that street cats only live a few years. Their often hard life under the most difficult circumstances is full of dangers and untreated illnesses, which usually cause them to die earlier.

On the other hand, well-cared-for outdoor cats live an average of 10 years: They have a roof over their heads when the weather is bad, are fed regularly, and are treated when they become ill.

But the oldest cats – considered on average – live in their own four walls. Indoor cats are the ones that get the most comprehensive care. In addition, they have a significantly lower risk of injuring themselves or catching dangerous viruses such as FIP or FeLV.

The best tips for a long cat life

You cannot determine how old your cat will be. But with good care and a cat-friendly home, you can contribute a lot to a long life expectancy.

Here are our tips:

  • Balanced nutrition
  • Regular visits to the vet: vaccinations, deworming, weight control, etc. help to identify health problems at an early stage.
  • Cat-friendly environment: For indoor cats, retreats are just as important as activities that train the cat’s skills.
  • Enough exercise: Lack of exercise leads to dangerous obesity.

We wish you and your darling a long, happy time together.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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