There’s nothing better than the love of a cat. When these independent creatures nuzzle up to you and purr contentedly, it can melt the coldest of hearts. Every cat owner wishes their cat could live forever, but all good things must come to an end.
Average Lifespan of a Cat in the Wild
Feral cats have the shortest lifespan of the species Felis catus. In the wild, cats live anywhere from 2 to 16 years old. Stray cats in urban areas tend to live to be around 6 years old before moving on to kitty heaven.
There are many reasons why cats that aren’t pets don’t live long lives. They don’t get proper veterinary care. This leads to disease and preventable conditions to cost the cat their life.
Their diets aren’t the best. Cats are carnivores, and in the wild, they’ll eat pretty much anything that will sustain them. While a protein-rich diet is great for cats, eating random animals that could carry diseases isn’t the best option.
Feral cats living in urban areas are often the victims of hit-and-runs. Collisions between cats and cars only result in immediate death 25% of the time, but people don’t often stop to render aid to stray cats. Injuries that could be remedied by emergency vet care are left untreated, and the cats succumb to their injuries. Cats are territorial animals, and stray cats often have to fight each other over territory and resources. These fights can become deadly.
Average Lifespan of a House Cat
The cushy life of the spoiled house cat lasts much longer than their street cousins. The average lifespan of an indoor cat is 13 to 17 years. What may seem like a small chunk of your time on this earth will be their entire lifespan.
A cat living indoors doesn’t have to worry about fighting other cats for resources because they are fed regularly. This regular feeding schedule means the cat doesn’t suffer from malnutrition or nutrient deficiencies that could be deadly.
Responsible pet owners ensure their cats get adequate veterinary care. Regular checkups can keep an eye on your kitty’s health and your trusted vet can spot diseases and issues in their early stages, leaving time to remedy whatever is going on.
Indoor cats are at less risk for environmental injury as well. Unless someone drives a car through your house, your cat is at miniscule risk of getting hit by a car.
Cats kept as pets don’t have to weather the elements as feral cats do. Extreme heat or cold could be deadly to the small body of a cat, but indoor cats have the luxuries of air conditioning and heating.
How to Help Your Cat Live Longer?
Okay, so they can’t actually live forever. Even humans can’t, but I would be more inclined to donate money to researching a way to make cats immortal over humans any day. In the meantime, what you can do is give your cat the best life possible.
Feed your cat a balanced, nutrient-dense diet. While you may be a vegan, your cat is not. Cats are obligate carnivores, and when they choose to eat grass, it’s because they want to. Their bodies thrive on a protein-rich diet.
Feeding your cat properly is crucial to ensuring that they do not become overweight. Overweight cats have a shorter life expectancy than their trim counterparts, and this is due to complications from obesity.
The lifespan of an obese cat is only 5 to 10 years. Besides the extra weight putting constant stress on your cat’s body, obese cats are more likely to develop heart disease and diabetes. If your cat is a chonker, it’s not a death sentence. They can lose the weight; they just need a little help from you. Consult with your veterinarian on the best diet plan for your cat.
While we’re on the dietary subject, you should always have clean, fresh water available for your cat to drink. Dehydration can cause permanent organ damage in as little as 24 hours in cats. If you notice that your cat isn’t drinking as much water as they should or they are drinking a ton more than usual, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.
People always recommend exercise to increase the longevity of humans, but the same is true for cats as well. While cats do love their sleep, they also need mental and physical stimulation when they are awake.
Make sure that your cat has plenty of room to run and play. Your home should be stocked with various toys or items of interest for your cat. This could be as complicated as a cat play house, or it can be as simple as a feather boa.
If your cat isn’t creating its own fun, play along with them. Interactive toys such as small, jingly balls that can be thrown are a great way to get your cat to exercise and enjoy play time.
Regular veterinary care will also increase your cat’s lifespan. You should ensure that your cat is up to date on their vaccinations to prevent them from becoming ill from preventable disease.
Spaying or neutering your cat can also increase their lifespan. The removal of the reproductive organs prevents your cat from getting cancer in these organs. Going into heat and not being allowed to mate is really stressful on an animal’s body, and when you spay or neuter your cat, you can prevent them from undergoing this tough time.
You asked, “How long do cats live?” The answer is that the average lifespan of a pet cat is 13 to 17 years old. However, cats in the wild live incredibly shorter lives. Even if you total up all nine of their lives, a feral cat is not expected to exceed the age of 16 years old.
You can increase your pet cat’s lifespan by keeping them as healthy as possible. This can be achieved by loving them unconditionally and making sure that they are properly cared for. According to the 2010 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records, the oldest cat was 38 years and 3 days old. If you want your cat to break a world record, you have to take care of them.