We love our cats, and we wish they could stay with us forever. We know that is far from reality. Let’s learn what we can expect and how we can improve our cat’s life.
The ASPCA indicates that the lifespan of a cat will depend on whether it is an indoor or outdoor cat. On average, indoor cats live from 13 to 17 years, while outdoor cats might live shorter lives due to exposure to external risks. Some indoor cats live up to 20 years, but these are not common.
What Are The Signs Of Aging In A Cat?
Here are some typical, healthy things an aging cat might experience:
Behavioral and mood changes: Altered sleep cycle, reduced stress tolerance, and altered vocalizations.
Changes in appearance: Changes in their appearance give the pupil a blue-grey-white and cloudy look – and atrophy in the iris. Also, thickened nails, decreased skin elasticity and brittleness, slight changes in vision and weight. Thickening of dental walls can also occur in cat’s teeth, and this causes them to look off-white, yellow, or even glassy.
Daily functional changes: Changes in their activity patterns, a decline in vision, decreased mobility, a decline in their sense of smell and hearing.
Disha Pattern Of Signals
A great way to check on your older cat’s health is by using the DISHA acronym to look out for signs of cognitive decline.
The researchers define a healthy aged cat as one that displays none of the DISHA patterns of sign used to identify cognitive decline in aging cats:
D: Disorientation. Getting lost in known and familiar areas, not being able to recognize members of the family.
I: Interaction changes. Social interactions might change between the cat and owner or between the cat and other pets. They might get more irritable, distant, or more clingy.
S: Sleep disturbances. Your cat might sleep more during the day and be awake at night. In general, your cat may have irregular sleep-wake cycles.
H: House-soiling. For example, going indoors to the toilet or in places they wouldn’t normally go.
A: Anxiety and activity changes. Your cat has a general decrease in activity levels. Additionally, decreased interest in playing, showing restlessness, and displaying repetitive behaviors such as licking are all signs of anxiety.
The Main Factors That Impact Your Cat’s Lifespan
Indoor Vs. Outdoor Cats
According to the ASPCA, the lifespan of an indoor cat ranges from 13 to 17 years on average. Cats living up to 20 years are not uncommon. In general, outdoor cats that roam during the day have a shorter lifespan than indoor cats.
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It is because they have a higher exposure to many dangers that indoor cats do not experience. Some of these dangers include attacks from other animals, traffic accidents, and some diseases. There is an estimate that the lifespan of an outdoor cat can go from 2 to 3 years shorter than indoor cats.
Continuous Medical Care
Cats aren’t able to say when they aren’t feeling well. In addition to this, most cats keep their ill feelings to themselves. When a cat owner notices something is not okay, often, it is too late to help the cat. As a result, here lies the importance of regular medical check-ups with your cat’s vet. This check-up is the best opportunity of catching any problems early enough to allow for effective treatment.
On average, there are different life expectancies for different cat breeds. Some mixed cat breeds like American Domestics usually live longer than purebreds because their genetic diversity helps them protect them from genetic diseases. However, some pure breeds are also known for their longevity, like the Manx and Siamese cats.
Here is the average lifespan for some cat breeds that are the most common:
- Siamese: 12 to 20 years
- Russian Blue: 15 to 20 years
- Savannah: 12 to 20 years
- American Shorthair: 15 to 20 years
- Burmese: 16 to 18 years
- Ragdoll: 15 to 18 years
- Persian: 10 to 17 years
- Bengal: 14 to 16 years
- Calico: 12 to 15 years
- Munchkin: 12 to 15 years
- Sphynx: 10 to 15 years
- Manx: 8 to 14 years
- Maine Coon: 10 to 13 years
Boredom And Mental Health
Cats can also get bored, resulting in them becoming depressed. Most cats like some diversity in their lives and feel most entertained when they are hunting. Therefore, climbing equipment and toys will help keep your cats entertained. However, the ideal way to keep your cat in its best mental spirits is by spending some time playing with them.
Like humans, a cat’s diet is an important factor in its lifespan. A good diet is high and rich in nutrients. Cats can also suffer from dehydration, so it is a good idea to have several drinking options for your cat.
Additionally, avoid feeding your cat any human food. Even though some human foods are not toxic, your cat’s system runs on proteins. Human food isn’t good for cats, so this can cause health issues for them.
There are different kinds of cat foods with special formulas that you can feed your cat if they have health issues. Cats with weight gain problems, constipation issues, and other health problems often benefit from them. Furthermore, as your cat ages, special formulas are available that will help your cat and its health.
When it comes to a cat’s health, weight plays a part. For every 1kg increase in adult body weight, a cat’s lifespan is reduced by six months on average.
Some of these elements sound familiar to us humans. The more your cat exercises and moves, the more likely it is to stay in good health. Interactive toys for indoor cats are ideal for getting them to exercise and move. Another great option for indoor cats is cat towers, as they allow them to stretch and jump from one place to the other.
Neutered Or Spayed
Neutering and spaying remove the risk of developing diseases that can impact the reproductive system of your cat in its old age. In addition to this, neutered or spayed cats live longer than those who have not had the procedures done.
Is Your Cat Sick Or Old? What Is The Difference?
As your cat becomes older, it will experience changes in appearance, behavior, and in its physical health. Cats should keep their ability to jump and play as they age, even if it is a bit reduced. Moreover, cats should also be capable of maintaining a healthy weight. In general, a cat should not have significant changes in body fat or muscle mass.
As mentioned before, from a behavioral perspective, your cat’s sleep patterns, their meows, and other vocalizations may change, and they may become less tolerant. Appearance-wise, their pupils can become cloudy, nails may thicken, and teeth may become slightly off-white or yellow due to dental walls thickening.
Your cat’s daily routine might change as well. They may, too, show a decline in mobility, vision, sense of hearing, and smell.
Most Common Causes Of Death In Cats?
In general, the most common causes of death in cats are:
- Heart Disease: 4.2%
- Lung Disease: 5.5%
- Brain Disease: 7%
- Lumps/Growths: 10.2 %
- Cancer: 10.8%
- Kidney Disease: 12.1 %
- Trauma 12.2 %
In cats under the age of five, the most common causes of death are:
- Viral Infection: 6.6%
- Trauma: 47.3%
In cats older than five years, the most common causes of death are:
- Cancer: 12.3%
- Kidney Disease: 13.6%
What Do You Need To Do To Increase Your Cat’s Lifespan?
There are several ways you can support a longer life for your cat. The first thing to do is to watch your cat and notice any changes that may occur.
Here we provide a list of the main things that can increase your cat’s life:
- Healthy weight
- Neutered or spayed and vaccinated
- Nutritious diet
- Regular check-ups with the vet
- Regular exercise
- Maintain your cat happy and mentally stimulated by having quality time together and interactive toys.
- If your cat spends time outside, you might want to consider a microchip.
Longevity Cat Facts
Lucy, a tabby cat, is the oldest cat ever recorded, who lived for 39 years. Creme Puff, a mixed breed, was the second oldest cat on record and lived to be 38 years old.
Taking care of our cats is one of the best things we can do for them. This will allow them to live the happiest, longest, and healthiest life possible.
As we continue to learn more about maintaining our cats healthy, we should remember nothing beats a loving and attentive owner.
Further Reading: How Long Do Outdoor Cats Live? Outdoor Cats Life Span
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.