Cat lifespan: 5 tips to help your cat live longer

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What you need to know about cat lifespan and how to let your cat live longer! Read more below

After we got our cat Cookie, my son asked me how long our cat would live, so I decided to do some research on this topic.

I found a lot of interesting facts, but not much actionable advice, so I decided to fill this gap. The last section of this article will tell you what to do to enjoy your cat’s company for longer.

Here is the key information:

#1 cat lifespan: average, shortest, longest
#2 how cat breed affects lifespan
#3 effect of lifestyle: outdoors vs indoor cats
#4 diet and longevity
#5 effects of veterinary care
#6 exercise
#7 how to help your cat live longer

Keep reading below to find out more.

#1 cat lifespan: average, shortest, longest

cat lifespan
Cat and kitten

Domestic cats live on average between 10 to 15 years according to PetMD. This number hides two extremes: cats that spend most of their lives outdoors unsupervised can live up to 7 years and indoors-only cats can live to around 14 years. The shortest-lived cats live outdoors without human supervision.

The maximum cat lifespan has been estimated at 22-30 years. The current Guinness World Record holder for the longest surviving cat is Creme Puff, who died in 2005, aged 38 years, 3 days.

#2 how cat breed affects lifespan

Cat breeds

Cat breed has little effect on how long cats can live. The differences in lifespan between breeds amount to only a few years. American Shorthair, Balinese, Bombay, European Shorthair, Russian Blue, and Siamese cats have a little longer lifespans than other breeds. Also, crossbred cats typically outlive purebred ones.

#3 effect of lifestyle: outdoors vs indoor cats

Cat at home

Indoors-only cats live longer than outdoor cats and the difference can be quite significant. Cats living outdoors are more likely to die early due to accidents or illnesses. Cats kept at home or at home and cat-safe patios are protected from traffic and feral animals and are more likely to live longer.

#4 diet and longevity

Cat food

Recent research suggests that the more a cat weighs, the shorter its lifespan. Avoiding cat obesity is one of the ways of increasing your cat’s longevity. Make sure your cat’s diet is rich in protein since cats evolved to get their energy from protein, unlike humans or dogs. Feeding your cat carbohydrates can decrease how much protein they digest and absorb.

#5 effects of veterinary care

Cat and his vet

Illnesses, especially chronic ones, can shorten a cat’s life. Routine veterinary care such as yearly vaccinations, teeth, and health checkups will ensure that your cat is protected from the majority of infectious diseases and that any cat health concern is caught early enough to address it before it becomes serious.

#6 exercise

Cat exercise

Cats exercise when chasing toys, climbing cat trees, or hiding and pouncing. This is their natural behavior as predators. Bored cats experience stress, which is not healthy for them. Cats can also be trained to walk on a lead and can be taken outside for regular walks.

#7 how to help your cat live longer

Cat friend

Routine vet visits

Make sure you book a yearly visit to get your cat vaccinated. This can be a combined visit, including a health checkup and a teeth condition check or teeth cleaning. The older your cat gets, the more frequent health checkups should be. Also if your cat has a chronic condition, you will need to book visits more often.


Female cats typically outlive male cats and neutered/spayed cats live longer than non-sterilized ones. Getting your cat neutered/spayed will prolong its life.

Diet  and exercise

Cats primarily eat meat and their diets must reflect that. They need a large amount of protein in their food. Adult cats should get at least 5.5 g/kg of protein daily. An average eight-pound cat needs to consume at least 0.7 ounces of protein each day. Make sure the cat food you buy is low in carbohydrates (look out for grains or potatoes on the ingredients list). Carbohydrates make protein less digestible to cats. Do not overfeed your cat. The less your cat weighs, the longer it is likely to live.

If you decide to keep your cat indoors, provide enough entertainment to keep it busy. This way you will keep your cat fit and healthy and make your furniture last longer. You will find a guide on how to buy a cat tree in the section below. 


Regular brushing will remove dead hair from your cat’s coat and prevent hairballs from forming in its stomach when grooming itself. It will also allow you to check your cat’s body for any lumps or sore spots.

Making regular teeth cleaning part of your cat’s grooming routine will slow down plaque formation and keep their mouth healthy. Oral disease can become a serious health issue.

What to do next?

Keeping your cat indoors is a surefire way to extend its lifespan. If you are planning on making your home more cat friendly, read our guide on Cat Trees: How to Choose Best Tree for Your Cat – The Ultimate Guide.

Photo of author


Agnes is the owner and Editor-in-Chief of PetCareLink, website dedicated to first time pet owners looking for help in looking after their animals. Agnes is a pet enthusiast and a devoted owner of Cookie the ragdoll cat. She combines her passion for improving pets and their owners' lives with her background in medicine and research to promote responsible pet ownership.

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