How Long Do Cats Live?
If you keep your cat indoors, provide quality health care, and depending on the cat’s genetics, it is quite possible she could live to the ripe old age of 20 years old. It’s becoming more common and heard of all the time, especially with the wonderful advancements in veterinary treatments and medications.
Average life span for indoor cats – 15 years. Average life span for outdoor cats – 3 to 5 years.
Once she is between 8 and 10 years old (and this number is debated – both lower and a bit higher), she should be treated as a senior cat. Yearly exams (hopefully you’ve been taking your kitty in yearly to the vet!) may be upped to twice a year by the recommendation of your vet.
You can improve the longevity of your cat by keeping the following in mind:
- Cats can mask their pain. Be alert to changes in behavior and routines she normally follows.
- Quality nutrition and special diets can help prevent health problems. Vets may prescribe specific foods to improve or stabilize certain issues, such as: diabetes, arthritis, kidney disease, dental disease, etc.
- Cat’s eyes can become cloudy as she ages and her vision may be affected. Don’t move furniture around if she has been diagnosed with failing eyesight.
- A cat’s hearing may decrease with age. They can feel vibrations, though, so don’t sneak up on her. Let her know you’re approaching with heavy footsteps.
- Arthritis could set in and her ability to groom herself may be difficult. Help her keep herself clean by brushing and perhaps using the disposable wet cloths. There are meds a vet can suggest to ease some of her pain and stiffness.
- She might not jump up on items as often as she used to. Be sure to give her comfy blankets to sleep on or create “steps” for her to walk up to reach a favorite lounging spot.
- Scratching posts should continue to be provided but if she’s used a vertical one and appears to struggle reaching up then you should switch to a horizontal type.
- Cleaning teeth is important *groan*. Try your best to brush her teeth with cat toothpaste or use medicated dental wipes. More options: give dental treats, dental toys, perhaps try the mouth sprays or the drops for the water to help her teeth and gums be as healthy as possible. The vet can do a thorough teeth cleaning, too, but it involves anesthesia.
- Keep playing with your cat as she gets older. Even if kitty is a senior she can still engage in chasing after a feather toy (at her own speed) or simply watching it flutter about is entertainment for her. There are many fun, mentally-challenging toys and games available that don’t require the cat to be super athletic but allow gentle batting and physical movements.
- Observe heavy breathing issues. Call the vet if this is ongoing.
- Observe eating and drinking changes. If something is “off”, call the vet.
- Observe litter box issues. This includes her ability to get IN and OUT of the box, as you may need to change the type of box she uses or cut one side down much lower for easier access. Observe changes to her stool. Call the vet if it looks unusual or is diarrhea.
- Use your best judgment on some of these issues…many people will observe changes for a day to several days to help determine the seriousness and watch if she simply returns to normal…perhaps the situation rectified itself. Some issues are more than obvious though when a vet needs called ASAP.
It is very likely you and your cat will live together for a good portion of YOUR lifetime. Think about it – she could be around for 15 – 20 years! Such a magnificent relationship, a loving bond between cat and owner(s), the cute antics and fun she provides, the soothing touch of her as she sleeps on your lap looking so darn sweet and the fiercely protective emotional state you have for her and her safety. Try your best to keep her healthy and happy! It will do you both good…after all, she IS your buddy.
Jessie Cat says: I think my odds of living to be an old fart cat are darn good. Of course, one never knows what nasty things could pop up. But my human, Gina, brags how she had three dogs at one time and all lived long, pampered lives. I know I’ve got it made in the shade as top boss of this house! So I can imagine those silly dogs were well taken care of, too! I can “feel the love” in the air! (even when she tries cleaning my teeth–grrr!)
Gina says: Yes, Jessie is my baby girl (cat)! If you’re wondering, two of those dogs lived to be 16 years old (peke-a-poos) and the other almost 13 (big collie-also stayed in house). And sure, they ALL had old-age problems, but I dealt with them the best I could, providing them love and care to the very end *tears now-sorry*. I just LOVE my pets 🙂