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How Long Do Cats Live? 5 Factors That Affect Longevity

We know they don’t really have nine lives, but you might be wondering how long cats live. While the average domestic cat lives about 14 years, several factors significantly affect a cat’s longevity. Some of these are genetic, and others you might have some degree of control over. So, if you’re curious about how long you have left with your cat or what you can do to improve their lifespan, keep reading!

Their living environment

It’s no surprise that a cat’s environment can impact their longevity. Statistics show that indoor cats live significantly longer than outdoor cats, on average. According to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, indoor cats have an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years, while outdoor cats live 2 to 5 years.

This is likely because of the increased risks that come with spending time outdoors. Outdoor cats must contend with dangers such as traffic, wild animals, and toxic substances (like poisoned prey), while indoor cats have a much more controlled environment.

However, that doesn’t mean that letting your cat go outside is sure to shorten their life. Many outdoor cats live long, happy lives too!


According to a UK study, mixed breed cats live an average of 14 years, while purebred cats live 12.5 years. This is likely because the genetic diversity of mixed breeds reduces their risk of developing hereditary diseases.

That said, some purebred domestic cats are known for their long lifespans. Siamese, Bombay, and Savannah cats frequently live up to 20 years, while Egyptian Mau, Persian, and American Shorthair cats live about 15 years. Meanwhile, Abyssinian and Bengal cats have notoriously short lifespans, living around ten years on average.


Female cats typically have more longevity than male cats, living an average of 15 years versus 13 years for males. Studies also show that cats that have been neutered or spayed live longer than those that remain intact. This is because neutering protects cats from reproductive diseases that can shorten their lifespans.

Diet and exercise

Unsurprisingly, cats that eat balanced, nutritious diets live longer than those that struggle to get the proper nutrients. Since a cat’s nutritional and caloric requirements evolve as they age, it’s essential to adapt their diet to meet their current life stage.

Maintaining a healthy body weight relative to their size is also essential. Feline obesity puts cats at risk for health complications like high blood pressure, heart disease, and liver disease. It also puts undue strain on their joints, limiting their mobility as they age.

Exercise can also affect how long a cat lives. Regular exercise helps cats stay fit, contributes to joint health, and is good for their mental health!

Regular veterinary care

Access to veterinary care is a big part of why domestic cats live so long. Routine vet visits make it easier to prevent or treat illnesses or diseases before they become severe. Even basic care such as regular flea and tick treatments can greatly impact your cat’s longevity. And as veterinary medicine continues to advance, pet owners have increasing access to treatment for complex medical conditions that might have been fatal in the past.

As you can see, how long a cat will live is affected by many variables. If you’re wondering what you can do to keep your cat happy and healthy for as long as possible, a nutritious diet is a great place to start. Your veterinarian will be able to offer additional guidance based on your cat’s breed and lifestyle!

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