How Long Do Cats Live on Average?

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Domestic cats that are raised indoors live for an average of 14 years, while outdoor cats have an average lifespan of about seven years. The longevity of a cat depends on a number of factors, including whether or not he or she lives exclusively indoors or outside. Some genetic conditions and acquired illnesses can also reduce a cat's life. A cat that gets sufficient exercise, maintains a healthy weight, has good oral hygiene and eats the right foods, in contrast, may live longer. Like humans, cats are classified by age. Kittens are cats aged between six months and a year. Adult cats are between one and 10 years of age, while senior cats are 11 years old or more. At each stage of life, cats are susceptible to certain environmental and biological factors that can affect their longevity.

Longevity Factors by Age
Kittens that are healthy are generally curious and playful. The greatest danger to kittens comes from common household items that can cause choking or strangling, such as hanging electric cords, Styrofoam, garbage and hanging curtains or drapes. Adult cats face another set of problems, which are primarily illnesses and diseases. Female cats that are not spayed and male cats that are not neutered are at a higher risk for developing certain types of cancers. Adult cats of both genders can also develop health-related problems, such as diabetes, if they have a poor diet and don't get enough exercise. The risk of health problems is greatest for senior cats. At this stage of life, owners may need to make dietary adjustments to help their cats continue to have good health. Older cats may also benefit from vitamins and supplements.

Environmental Longevity Factors
The surrounding environment is also a factor in cat longevity. Unless they have an underlying disease, cats that live in low-stress indoor environments with proper nutrition, shelter and medical attention fare much better than cats living outdoors. Outdoor cats encounter daily threats from disease, other animals and cars. They can end up eating garbage and other harmful foods and sleep in inadequate shelters. Female outdoor cats can also perish from pregnancy complications. Spaying female cats and neutering male cats in both indoor and outdoor environments reduces their risk of developing certain cancers, which can extend longevity.

Average Lifespan by Breed
A cat's breed can also provide a general guideline of its expected longevity. Different breeds of cats mature faster than others, which typically shortens their lifespans. Purebred cats, like Siamese cats, tend to have slightly shorter lifespans than cats that are not purebred. A female Siamese cat, for example, reaches sexual maturity at the age of six months. In contrast, non-purebred female cats usually reach sexual maturity between the ages of 10 and 12 months. Based on the factor of breed alone, a female Siamese cat has an average life expectancy of 15 years and Persian female cats have an average life expectancy of about 17 years.

To help their cats live as long as possible, cat owners can provide cats with a clean and safe environment in their homes. They can also give their cats plenty of exercise and help them maintain a healthy diet. Regular veterinarian visits and oral hygiene appointments can also help cats live longer and healthier lives.