How Long Do Cats Live?

How long do cats live

Your cat’s lifespan can range from 2 years to 30+ years. But you must realize that you and your decisions are the most significant deciding factor in how long your cat will live.

I have a history of very long-lived pets. And throughout years of regular veterinary visits for all my furry kids, I have had lengthy discussions with various vets about how long do cats live and what things I can do to give my cat not just a longer life but a healthier life.

Your little fluff angel could be sitting on the couch next to you for decades to come if you review the following points and make the choices that will keep your cat at the peak of health and wellness.

Table of Contents
What’s Possible?
Cat Life Expectancy – Questions and Quick Answers
Outdoor cat lifespan vs. Indoor cat lifespan
Cat Breed Affects Lifespan
Cat Health

What’s Possible?

Creme Puff

Worlds Oldest Cat

Born: August 3, 1967

Died: August 6, 2005 aged 38 years, 3 days

To answer the question, “How long do cats live?” we need to look to Creme Puff, the documented winner, at 38 years+, of the World’s Longest Lived Cat title. Crème Puff’s long life gives us a realistic understanding of how long cats can live. After all, Crème Puff only has the World Record is because her birth date was documented and witnessed. In other words, there could be lots of longer-lived Crème Puffs out there that we just don’t have a verifiable birth date for. But using Crème Puff as a line in the sand for what is possible, let’s answer the fundamental questions about this topic and what affects how long cats live. With the vital cat facts below, you may find your little puff ball hanging out with you for decades to come.

Cat Life Expectancy – Questions and Quick Answers

The most commonly asked questions about cat lifespan include:

  • How Long Do Cats
  • What is the average cat’s lifespan?
  • Indoor cat vs. outdoor cats’ lifespan is there a difference?
  • How long do indoor cats live?
  • How long do outdoor cats live?

Veterinarians’ answers to every one of these questions come down to a few significant points:

  1. Is this an indoor cat or outdoor cat: Veterinarians agree that “Cats who spend significant unsupervised time outdoors tend to survive to be about seven years old, while indoor-only cats can live to around 14 years” (see our infographic below)
  2. What is the breed of cat: genetics affect life span; different breeds of cat have various life expectancies (see our infographic below)
  3. How is the health of the individual cat: this refers to diet, exercise, and affection (see our infographic below)

Taking those three critical points into consideration, here are quick answers to the commonly asked questions above:

How Long Do Cats Live? 

Cats can easily live well into their 20’s or beyond. Crème Puff, the world record holder, made it to 38 years and three days after all.

What is the average cat’s lifespan?

The average cat lifespan is between 10-15 years.

Indoor cat vs. outdoor cats’ lifespan is there a difference?

Yes, indoor cats can live a much longer and healthier life.

How long do indoor cats live?

The average indoor cat lifespan is between 13-17 years.

How long do outdoor cats live?

The average outdoor cat lifespan is between 2-5 years.

Outdoor cat lifespan vs. Indoor Cat lifespan

One of the most significant factors for extending your cat’s lifespan comes down to deciding whether your kitty will be an indoor or outdoor cat. The statistics above document a well-known understanding in veterinary science, indoor cats, on average, live far longer than outdoor cats. Additionally, indoor cats are far healthier than outdoor cats.

Expert Tip: Indoor cats live longer, healthier lives.

How long do cats live

Cat Breed Affects Lifespan

Not all cats are created equal when it comes to the role genetics play in the cat longevity competition. But remember these are only averages, and the perfect example of that is Crème Puff, of World Record fame – a mixed tabby. According to the Veterinary Association, this would have put her in line to live 13-17 years, but she lived more than two decades longer than the average. Go, Crème Puff!

So take a look at our infographic and see where your furball baby lands.

Expert Tip: While the breed is a significant genetic component of cat lifespan, it is only a single piece of the puzzle. The other important details to the mystery of what creates a long-lived cat are diet, being indoors, quality care, exercise, and affection.

Cat Health

Cats, like humans, are susceptible to diseases and viruses. As we defined earlier, cats are at a much greater risk of exposure to harmful parasites, pathogens, bacteria if they are outdoor cats. But even indoor cats can suffer from illnesses.

Here is where we are reminded how similar cats are to us. A healthy diet filled with foods packed with necessary vitamins and nutrients will strengthen their immune system, benefit their cardiovascular systems, improve their disposition, and lessen their anxiety.

A healthy diet combined with regular vet check-ups, exercise, mental stimulation, and affection will lay the foundation for your wonderful cat buddy to live out their long healthy life right by your side.

Expert Tip: Healthy food, consistent exercise, regular check-ups, energetic play, and your love and affection are keystones to a long life well-lived.

Putting It Together

Now you understand the power you have to give your kitty a long and healthy life. Keep in mind your little buddy is entirely dependent on you to make the choices that determine their fate and lifespan. And when you make the choices that give them the best chance for a healthy, long-lived life, you really are their superhero.

Where to go next?

Since what you feed your cat directly relates to their long-term health, read our guide to the human foods your cat can eat, some of which will definitely make them the happiest and healthiest feline around.