How long do cats live? – The average lifespan of a common cat

In general, cats live longer than dogs. The average lifespan of indoor house cats these days is from 12 to 15 years and depends on a lot of variables, from diet and exercise to their overall health and breed.

A healthy cat in a loving and nurturing environment may well live up to their 20s.

cat lifestyle and lifespan

The average lifespan of a cat living indoors is higher than that of a cat on the street. A strictly indoor cat can live from 12 to 15 years while their outdoor counterparts live less than five years.

A life outdoors is fraught with stress, starvation, cruelty, disease and injury; all of which can cause an early death. Cats who live outdoors are subjected to a variety of problems cutting their life expectancy. The more time a cat spends outside, the greater the risk is of an injury or illness from that environment.

Cats who live indoors, however, have a relatively stress-free life and all the food they need. Their diet is typically controlled, with toxin, parasite, and disease exposures are lessened, especially if they are vaccinated and on preventative medications.

More importantly, is the fact that if the cat has a problem, the owner usually notices it early and intervenes, a luxury outdoor cats do not have.

Cats who go in and out at will are at risk for injury from cars, other animals, cruelty from humans and surviving the elements.

cat lifespan by breed

Besides environment and nutrition, breed differences can also affect lifespan. Certain breed characteristics, such as length, weight, skeletal development (or lack thereof), facial anatomy, and the genetics of the parents can greatly affect how long a certain breed of cat will live and what types of disease prone to each breed.

Here are the average lifespans statistics from varied veterinarians of six popular cat breeds and reasons behind it:

Cat Breed Average Lifespan Risk Factors for Disease


11-15 years
Dental and respiratory disease

Maine Coon

9-15 years
Heart disease, Hip dysplasia


10-16 years
Heart and eye disease, Hip dysplasia


10-15 years
Respiratory disease, Digestive issues


12-17 years
Heart disease and Bladder stones

American Shorthair

15-20 years
Heart disease

cat health and lifespan

A cat’s overall health and any pre-existing or chronic health conditions can play a significant role in limiting that cat’s quantity and quality of life.  

Progressive and irreversible diseases like kidney disease can reduce a cat’s lifespan.

Here are some of the more common disease conditions, quoted from varied veterinarians, identified in cats and the factors that can also affect a cat’s lifespan:

Health Condition Average lifespan from time of diagnosis Influencing factors

FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus)

2-10 years
Depends on lifestyle, nutrition, parasite control, monitoring and concurrent illness


Depends on many factors including other concurrent diseases, ability to regulate blood sugar and parent involvement


Depends on type of treatment, age at time of diagnosis, and any concurrent illness

Kidney Disease

1-5 years
Depends on if diagnosis was early, nutrition, aggressiveness of therapy and concurrent illness


Usually normal lifespan of 10 to 16 years
Depends on if cat receives regular inhaler treatment, triggers are avoided, and seek help at first signs of attack


Depends on if anemia is treatable (normal lifespan) versus if cause is not identified

Heart Disease

6 months to 2 years
Depends on if early or late diagnosis, specific type of disease, medications used and any concurrent illness

Renal Failure

35-60 days
Depends on aggressiveness of therapy and concurrent illness

Feline Leukemia FELV

2-3 years
Depends on concurrent illness and genetics

cat nutrition and lifespan

To live a long, healthy life, your cat needs proper nutrition.

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they rely on nutrients found only in animal products. Studies at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, reveal that cats require a large amount of proteins, moderate amounts of fat, and a minimal amount of carbohydrates in their diet. Cats also require more than a dozen other nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids.

how old is my cat in human years?

A healthy cat may well live up to their 20s.

Creme Puff, the oldest known cat, who lived to a ripe old age of 38, enjoyed a rather sophisticated diet of bacon and eggs, asparagus, broccoli, and coffee with heavy cream.

Just to give you an idea of how incredible Creme Puff was, here is the rundown of cat years vs human years, from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine:

“[A] one-year-old cat is physiologically similar to a 16-year-old human, and a two-year-old cat is like a person of 21. For every year thereafter, each cat year is worth about four human years. Using this formula, a 10-year-old cat is similar age-wise to a 53-year-old person, a 12-year-old cat to a 61-year-old person, and a 15-year-old cat to a person of 73.”

singapore’s oldest cat

While the average lifespan of a cat is 15 years, Ginger lived to the ripe old age of 29. That is more than 100 years old, in cat years.

He passed on in 2019. According to JourneyEast, he was the “longest-living cat” that anyone they have met had ever encountered. Ginger was more than an office pet, he was also the Well-loved store ambassador-at-Large at JourneyEast.

Ginger was a well-loved store ambassador. Photography by JourneyEast.

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