Are you planning to adopt a cat but have been wondering how long do cats live? Perhaps you’re in a dilemma of choosing between cats and dogs as a companion. 

As pet lovers, we all want to keep our pets forever, but that's impossible because a feline's life development is way different from humans. 

But knowing the average lifespan of the cat you fancy can help you create practical plans and be emotionally ready. 

So, if you wish to know the:

  • The average life expectancy of cats
  • Ways how to determine a cat's age
  • Factors that affect the longevity of cats
  • Tips on how to increase your cat's lifespan

You'd love our detailed discussion regarding felines and their life expectancy.

Let's dive right into it.

How Long Do Cats Live?

On average, the life expectancy of cats ranges from 10 to 15 years, which means that cats live longer than most pet dogs. Some can even live past 20 years or longer. 

However, the longevity of cats depends on several factors. Let’s consider each of them and see how it can either prolong or shorten the life of your feline companion. 

how long do cats live

Factors that Affect How Long Do Cats Live:

Four main factors influence how long a cat can live, which include the following:


Outdoor cats and indoor/outdoor pets who spend time with both environments are exposed to the dangers and hazards outside their home, such as parasites and diseases. 

They also face everyday struggles, including avoiding getting hit by vehicles, finding food surviving natural elements, and the threat of getting attacked by other animals.

The longer they stay outside, the greater the risk of injury and disease. 

This sad reality about their life shortens their lifespan. Most outdoor cats tend to live around seven years of age. 

On the other hand, sheltered indoor pets who live in a safe environment have a more controlled diet, less exposure to diseases, and parasites tend to live around 14 years of age or more. 


Cats are considered obligate carnivores because they feed on meat and cannot fully digest carbohydrates or lactose.

Instead of providing energy for the cat, carbohydrates can decrease the protein they can digest. 

And protein is an essential part of a cat's diet. In fact, they need it more than dogs do. 

Adult cats should consume 5.5 g/kg of protein per day, and an average 8lb cat needs at least 20 grams of this nutrient every day. 

Additionally, along with protein, they need some form of amino acids, including Taurine, Methionine, and Cystine, to back up a cat's health. 

If an indoor feline can enjoy all those luxuries any time, it's something stray cats could never experience. 


Cats with unhealthy diets are more prone to health issues. Additionally, parasites and diseases can also affect their health.

Some of these problems are long-term and may impact the cat's quality of life and shorten its lifespan.

Cats with poor genetics, weak immune systems, and damaged organs usually don't live as long as healthy ones. 


While there's no way to know precisely how long each cat can live, genetics could play a part, for some breeds live longer than others. 

For example, Russian Blue and American shorthair have an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years, and others can even live past 30. 

Whether a cat is a purebred or a domestic mixed-breed, both have the potential to surpass their average life expectancy. 

how long do cats live

How to Increase How Long Cats Live

Although you can’t control everything about your cat’s life, like its genetics, you can do something to prolong it. Here are some tips you can do to improve your feline’s longevity. 

Excellent Nutrition

Cats need balanced nutrition to keep its body active and strong despite aging. So, you need to make sure it has enough protein and water intake. 

Overfeeding your feline with too many treats can also lead to poor nutrition. 

Therefore, if you don't want your pet to become obese and suffer from heart diseases, you'll need to curate a diet plan with your vet as soon as possible. 

Ample exercise

Cats are innately active creatures who love playing, jumping around, and playing with toys. 

And by supporting their love for physical activity, you can help promote a long and healthy life for your pet. It can also reduce the chances of getting absorbed with depression. 

Veterinary check-ups

Visiting your vet at least once a year is one of the most critical steps in prolonging its life. Specialists can examine and see what goes on beyond what we can perceive. 

So, it would be best to consult the experts to know if your pet has any health issues at an early stage.

Preventive dental care

We know that unhealthy teeth and gums can cause bad breath, pain, and infection. But, it affects a cat more than that. 

Bacteria from gums can enter the bloodstream and spread to other parts of the body, causing organ failure. That’s why every cat needs early preventive dental care and regular dental cleaning. 

Mental health stimulation

Your cat's mental health is vital to keeping your pet happy and less stressed. 

By spending time with your cats, playing fun board games, and learning new tricks, you can help to challenge your pet's mental health and ward off boredom. 

Keeping it indoor

Keeping your pet away from the dangers outside your door is one of the best ways to protect him/her from any mishaps and prolong its life. 

You are actually doing your cat a favor by restricting it to go outside.  

how long do cats live

It's Important When Determining How Long Do Cats Live Is To Figure Out A Cat's Age

If you adopted a stray cat and are curious about your pet's age, it can be pretty tricky to determine since their life stages are different from humans. 

But, it is possible to estimate their age by examining specific parts of their body. 

Presence of Wear and Tear in the Teeth 

Examining its teeth is often a good indicator of a cat's age. It takes six months for a cat to have a complete set of teeth. So, if you see some missing teeth, you'll know what you have is a precious kitten.

For an adult cat, you can tell its age by looking at signs of wear, plaque, and tartar in its teeth because the more a cat eats, the more the stain will build up. 

If your pet has pearly white teeth, then you have a younger cat, but if it has older teeth with more visible stains, chances are you are looking at an older feline. 

Eye Appearance

Aside from examining the teeth, checking for signs of cloudiness in the lens of a cat's eye can also help you make an educated guess about a cat's age. 

Cats generally have bright and crisp eyes for most of their life. But, senior cats aged 11 years and geriatric cats aged 15 years old or older tend to have cloudy eye appearance and discharge.

The Softness of the Coat

A kitten's fur coat is usually soft, silky, and smooth, but it becomes less immaculate, and patches of grey or white fur will show up.

A vet who has seen and petted thousands of cats can often be pretty good at guessing a cat's age by its fur.

Mobility and Activity Levels

As a cat matures, the more it becomes sedentary. So while kittens are more active and love playing, the older ones prefer sleeping, specifically the senior felines. 

Senior cats and kittens spend approximately 20 hours of sleep per day while adults rest for around 12-15 hours per day. 

Although it could vary from cat to cat, by observing how long your feline pet rests, you'll get a rough idea if it's an adult or senior one. 

Converting Cat's Age to Human Years

Another way to answer how long cats live is through converting their age into human years. 

But there's a massive discrepancy between human and feline pet's age because cats experience infancy, childhood, and adolescence in their first year. 

So, multiplying a cat's age into five, a commonly used formula to determine a cat's age in human years, is simply unreliable and inaccurate.  

To know how old your cat is in human years, AAHA's provides insight through comparing human and feline life stages:

Cat’s Life Stages Age of Cat Human Age Equivalent
Kitten 0-1 month 0-1 year
Kitten 2-3 months 2-4 years
Kitten 4 months 6-8 years
Kitten 6 months 10 years
Junior 7 months 12 years
Junior 12 months 15 years
Junior 18 months 21 years
Junior 2 years 24 years
Prime 3 years 28 years
Prime 4 years 32 years
Prime 5 years 36 years
Prime 6 years 40 years
Mature 7 years 44 years
Mature 8 years 48 years
Mature 9 years 52 years
Mature 10 years 56 years
Senior 11 years 60 years
Senior 12 years 64 years
Senior 13 years 68 years
Senior 14 years 72 years
Geriatric 15 years 76 years
Geriatric 16 years 80 years
Geriatric 17 years 84 years
Geriatric 18 years 88 years
Geriatric 19 years 92 years
Geriatric 20 years 96 years

As you've noticed, when cats live beyond two years which is equivalent to 24 in humans, you need to add four years every year to convert it into our age.  

How Long Do Cats Live: Here Are Cat Breeds With The Longest Lifespan

As mentioned earlier, some breeds have a longer lifespan than others. So, if you’re looking for a feline pet that can keep you company for a long time, these long-living breeds may be ideal for you. 

American Shorthair Cat

1. American Shorthair

This medium-sized pedigree tends to be happy, playful, and easygoing. It has a sense of independence which means it's not as needy as others, and they don't demand attention. 

American shorthairs are not athletic, but they are well-muscled and strong. They're still at risk of having heart disease, but their lifespan is longer, ranging from 15 to 20 years. 

Sphynx cat

2. Sphynx

This non-hairy breed exudes regal appearance, sophisticated look, and graceful but sometimes goofy and playful nature. 

It's a high-maintenance feline since it needs something to wear to keep its body during cool weather. 

They're prone to heart disease, neurological issues, and skin conditions, but they can live around 10 to 15 years. 

Bombay cat

3. Bombay

This cat's appearance is striking with its distinct shiny black coat and golden eyes inspired by the black panther. It's small but muscular and heavy. 

Due to its short muzzle, this breed is at high risk of getting respiratory problems and heart disease. Yet their lifespan can reach 12 to 16 years.

Russian Blue Cat

4. Russian Blue

As its name suggests, this shimmery blue cat with some silver hues comes from Russia. This quiet, reserved breed gets along with gentle children and other pets, including dogs. 

This cutie is prone to bladder stones and eye problems, but it can live long, with its age averaging from around 15 to 20 years old. 

Balinese cat

5. Balinese

Since it's a result of the Siamese breed's genetic mutation, this long-haired cat possesses the beauty of purebred Siamese. Its elegant, creamy coat and deep, vivid blue eyes are certainly adorable. 

They're intelligent, friendly, playful, and curious, and their average lifespan is 12 to 20 years old. 

Ragdoll Cat

6. Ragdoll

This large blue-eyed feline is a beauty and shifty in one. It's a highly affectionate breed that loves being petted, ideal for those who like social pets. 

Some cats in this breed are prone to bladder stones like the Russian blue and heart disease. But this feline lasts around 13 to 15 years or more.

Egyptian Mau Cat

7. Egyptian Mau

This intelligent, spotted breed resembling the cats worshiped by ancient Egyptians is friendly and comfy. 

Some in this breed tend to have heart disease, but its average lifespan is around 12 to 15 years old. 

Savannah Cat

8. Savannah Cat

This breed combines an African serval and a domestic cat and comes from the serval's habitat. Similar to its ancestors, it is tall and lean with long legs and a neck. 

Savannah cats can be friendly to people, but they tend to have a bold temperament. The average lifespan of this breed is 12 to 20 years on average. 


9. Burmese

This playful and social feline is a crossbreed between Burma and Siamese cats. Their rounded heads and expressive golden eyes can surely steal hearts. 

But the downside of this breed is that it is predisposed to cranial deformities and glaucoma, but its lifespan reaches 12 to 20 years. 


10. Siamese

This gracefully slender white pedigreed, also known as “meezers,” has fascinating dark color patterns on its face, ears, tail, and legs. 

The disadvantage of having this beautiful breed is it is predisposed to dental and respiratory conditions. 

But other than that, it has no significant health concerns. Their average lifespan ranges from 12 to 20 years. 

The Longest Living Cat in History

The oldest cat ever recorded in the Guinness World Record is a domestic shorthair cat named Crème Puff from Austin, Texas. 

She was born in 1967 and died in 2005 and has lived an impressive lifespan of 38 years and 3 days, which is more than twice the average life expectancy of felines. 

Her owner believed her incredible longevity is due to their unique diet of dry cat food and broccoli, turkey bacon, eggs, or coffee with cream. 

She's also given by her owner an eyedropper filled with red wine once a week to aid her circulation. 

Although this Tabby Mix's long lifespan possibly resulted from a combination of factors, including tender care, good genetics, and a safe environment, her owner gave credit to her non-typical diet.


Cats can’t stay with us forever, but we can maximize their lifespan by providing proper nutrition, a balanced diet, and attending veterinary checkups. 

And just like humans, keeping them mentally healthy can lead to a happier and longer life. So, grab that treat for your cat now and make the best out of life by making every moment with your feline companion special. 

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Feline Average Life Expectancy

Kelly works as a veterinary technician in Austin, TX as well as regular animal rescue volunteer. She's been an animal lover and dog owner since childhood, and has worked in different dog related fields over the last twenty years. Currently she lives with three dogs and a cat.