Did you know that there are cats who hold world records for merely living long lives? One world record holder is Creme Puff, a kitty who showed that cat lifespan could reach over thirty years of age. Creme Puff lived to be 38 years old.

Other cats who've received world records for longevity lived to be more than two decades old, showing that it's entirely possible to live longer than the average cat age. 

What is the average lifespan of a cat? How do you increase your cat's life expectancy? We answer this question in the article below and outline a formula for longevity in your beloved fur child. 

What is the Average Cat Lifespan?

how long do cats live

If you've ever asked the question, "how long do cats live?' then you're not alone. Studies have shown that the average life expectancy for cats varies depending on several factors.

Mixed breed cats are generally hardier and, due to their diverse gene pool, have a reduced chance of the genetic ailments found in purebred cats. However, some purebred indoor cats can make it to 18 years with dedicated care from their owner. 

Life Stages of a Cat

life stages of a cat

Cats live through many life stages just as humans do. Their wellness will take a dip during specific periods, and contrastingly have a peak period where they're living their best life. As pet parents, we seek to understand our pets and often will ask the vet how old our pet is in human years.

While it may seem strange to have your three-year-old cat compared to an adult in their mid-twenties, this information helps your veterinarian provide age-appropriate wellness care.

The theory behind the seven cat years to one human year comparison originated from the realization that animals generally live one-seventh as long as their owners. As veterinary science has progressed, so has the available care for our cats and dogs.

The comparison of human years and cat years may seem a little confusing as, at the age of 1, your cat has already lived through the most vulnerable year of its life.

According to The American Animal Hospital Association, at twelve months, your cat is the equivalent of a fifteen-year-old human, having been through infancy, toddler years, childhood, and puberty. 

Read on to understand your cat's current life stage. These life stages are guidelines and may vary depending on your cat's wellness, body system, and breed. Cats can age at different rates from their peers, but a rough spectrum helps you be aware of common problems. 

Kitten – Birth to 6 Months

The first few months of your kitty's life are vital in creating a foundation for good health. The discovery of congenital disabilities will usually happen at this stage. During this phase, kittens receive their primary vaccinations, and around four months, your cat is spayed or neutered.

Socialization is essential and social play with children, and other pets are important during this time. Introducing your teeny cat to toys, hairbrushes, car trips, household noises, grooming practices, and other objects around the home allows them to adjust to their surroundings. It's also up to you to teach proper litter box habits. 

Dogs aren't the only ones who can receive behavioral training; cats can also learn to sit, stay, or signal their need to go outside. Use this fearless and brave time in their development to teach them some tricks, and by doing so, you'll raise a well-behaved animal with good social and behavioral skills. Reward-based training is best. 

Junior – 5 Months to 2 Years

During your cat's junior phase, they'll reach full size. Around two years of age, your cat will reach sexual maturity. They will continue to maintain a playful nature, and your engagement with them will show them the appropriate way to interact with people. Avoid rough play with your hands, use some fun cat toys, and adopt gentle play practices

Early on in the junior phase, you can graduate your kitten from the litter box to outdoors if you wish. During sexual maturity, cats may adopt territory marking, but there are some ways to deter it. 

Prime – 3 to 6 Years

From three to six years of age, your cat is in its healthiest phase. Keeping your pet's wellness checks and vaccinations up to date during their prime years will extend their life. Even though your cat is in their best years and may not seem to need medical care, setting them up with good eating habits and a healthy lifestyle will make sure they live into their senior years. 

Mature – 7 to 10 Years

During your cat's mature stage, you may see them taking a back seat rather than engaging in play. The dwindling interest in playtime can cause them to pick up the pounds.

An overweight or obese cat is susceptible to health problems. Carefully monitor their food intake, and encourage activity by buying them a new toy. Just a few minutes of play can help them to stay in shape. 

Senior – 11 to 14 Years

At this stage, your cat is the equivalent of an adult in their sixties or seventies. It's time to start going to the vet more regularly and add supplements to their diet if you haven't done so already. Continue to encourage activity, keep a close eye on your kitty's behavior, and look out for any signs of depression, cloudy eyes, or pain that can be a sign of disease. 

Geriatric – 15 Years and Older

If your cat has lived to its geriatric phase, then you're doing something right! Your cat is now on its way to becoming a nonagenarian. Your old furry friend will spend more time sleeping and less time playing around.

Please speak to your vet about adjusting their cat food portion or type to suit their inactive lifestyle. Continue to closely monitor changes in their behavior, making a note of any lethargy, struggles in movement, frequent urination, loss of appetite, and any toilet trouble. 

Indoor Cats Versus Outdoor Cats

cat lifespan

Domestic cats who remain indoors for most of their days have longer lifespans than outdoor cats who have free access to the wild. You may think that your roaming cat is getting more exercise, which is true, but they are also more exposed to trauma incidents, parasites, predators, and diseases.

On average, outdoor cats live shorter lives than their nurtured peers. Keeping your cat in the home's protective bubble is safer, but don't forget to emphasize exercise and play. 

Studies have shown that an outdoor cat can live an average of 5.6 years, while indoor cats' average lifespan is around 16 years.

Seven Ways to Promote a Long Lifespan for Your Cat

All pet owners want to prolong their cat's life. A variety of factors will play a role in keeping your cat in perfect health. 

1. Regular Wellness Checks

Most veterinarians recommend semi-annual wellness checkups to improve life quality, early diagnosis of diseases, and general illness prevention. Your cat's condition can change quickly and felines are masters at hiding illness.

Early detection and early intervention can help stop the progression of serious problems. While regular wellness checks may seem expensive, chronic disease and medication are even more so. You can reduce long-term expenses by taking your kitty to the vet every few months. 

2. Parasite and Flea Prevention

Fleas and parasites only cause grief. Regular flea prevention treatment is critical as severe infestations can cause anemia, skin allergies, and tapeworm. Ticks, heartworm, and intestinal parasites can also cause terrible illness.

A kitten will need to be dewormed every two weeks from 3-9 weeks of age, then every month until six months old. Thereafter, make sure you deworm your household every six months and practice regular flea control. 

3. Oral Health

Gum disease in cats causes inflammation around the supporting structures of teeth. It's one of the most common diseases seen in cats and can be very painful. Periodontal disease can also lead to other problems in the feline body.

Whatever your cat's stage of life, dental hygiene is essential. It's not enough to assume your cat's teeth are healthy; you need to assist in keeping their pearly whites, well, pearly white. 

By practicing brushing their teeth when they're a kitten, and offering dental treats, you can prolong their life. When your cat reaches its senior stage of life, your dentist will need to monitor them for oral tumors.

4. Sterilization

Kittens can be sterilized early in their lives, preferably before reaching sexual maturity at two years old. Spayed female cats have a reduced risk of cervical cancer and an eliminated risk of ovarian cancer.

Neutering and spaying cats reduce their tendency to be territorial and fight with neighboring cats. Cat bites spread feline leukemia and feline AIDS. With a reduced urge to fight, the possibility of disease is also reduced. Sterilization also silences the need to find a mate, protecting them from trauma and accidents that occur outside of the home. 

5. Vaccinations

lifespan of a cat

Many serious diseases are fatal for your cat. Vaccinations prevent your feline from contracting these severe dangers. The core vaccinations for every kitty includes:

  • Feline panleukopenia virus vaccine.

  • Feline herpes virus vaccine.

  • Feline calicivirus vaccine.

  • Rabies vaccine.

As your furry friend gets older, follow-up vaccinations are necessary to complete the series.

6. Nutrition and Weight Management

Nutrition and calorie intake will vary depending on your cat's stage of life. Cats who are pregnant or mature and slow will have completely different needs. Speak to your vet about providing a healthy, protein-rich menu for your furbaby. Monitoring their weight through all life stages is vital as obesity can place pressure on joints and lead to osteoarthritis

7. A Nurturing Environment

Consider your cat's environment. Is the litter box clean and large enough for your growing cat? Do they have access to fresh food and clean water? Are they mentally stimulated with toys, feeder bowls, or a scratching tree? By creating a stimulating and regulated environment for your cat, you can increase your cat's life expectancy. 

How to Keep Your Cat Healthy

The answer to keeping your cat healthy is complex. You may feel like you're ill-equipped for the task of increasing their life expectancy. That's why vets are so valuable in their knowledge. Keep your cat healthy by partnering with your vet, visiting them regularly, and looking out for any signs of illness. 

As you've realized by now, many factors contribute to your cat's lifespan. Educated cat owners are the number one thing that will add some numbers to your furbaby's age. Information on the matter of preventative care is vital.

How else will we know the signs of sickness unless we do our research and read up on the symptoms that point to something sinister? Keep your cat healthy by following our seven ways to promote a long cat lifespan. 

CBD for Cats is a particularly great way to support your cat’s immune system. In addition to supporting normal cardiovascular, immune, and neurological function, CBD can also support bone and joint health, fight free radicals, provide antioxidant support, and help maintain healthy skin.  

How Long Do Cats Live? Our Final Thoughts 

Your cat has the potential of living beyond the average age. They may make it to 17 years old, or even further, thanks to regular medical care and by living the life of an indoor cat.

As a cat owner, you can do things to increase their lifespan and make sure that they live well into their old age. Having a loving cat by your side may even add some years to your life. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average life expectancy of an indoor cat?

The average lifespan of an indoor cat is around 16 years. Outdoor cats are exposed to more dangers and diseases, making their average years on earth shorter.

Can a cat live for 20 years?

Cats can live 20 years or more. Several factors will add some years to their life. Your cat will live longer with regular wellness checks, vaccinations, sterilizations, nutrition, and weight management. 

Can a cat live 30 years?

Yes! Some cats hold world records for merely living long and healthy lives. One world record holder is Creme Puff, a kitty who showed that cat lifespan could reach over thirty years of age. Creme Puff lived to be 38 years old.

What is considered old age for a cat?

From 11 years old, your cat is regarded as a senior and is equivalent to a human adult in their sixties or seventies. It's time to start going to the vet more regularly and add some supplements to their diet if you haven't done so already. At 15 years, the cat is in its geriatric phase.