What Is the Average Cat Lifespan (And How to Increase It)?

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What is the average cat lifespan?

14 years.

This number is based on research from 4,009 cats in England.

What decreases cat lifespan most?

The leading cause of death in cats is from road accidents.

Your best chance of keeping your cat alive longer is to keep your cat indoors.

The second best way to keep your cat alive longer is keeping them at a healthy weight.

In the rest of this article, I’ll go through more info on factors that affect a cats lifespan and how to improve your cats chance of living a long healthy life.

Let’s get into the article.

I am not a veterinarian and I recommend seeking the advice of a vet for any further questions. The advice in this article is not intended as medical advice.

How Long Do Cats Live?

Between 13-17 years.

Based on research from 4,009 cats in England, the median lifespan is 14 years.

Breed affects lifespan.


Crossbreed cats live longer due to a hypothesized hybrid vigor

Some breeds tend to have a shorter life.

This includes:

  • Bengals ~7 years
  • Abyssian cats ~10 years

How old can a cat get?

The longest lived cat (Creme Puff) living an astonishing 38 years.

Between 1994 to 2004 researchers saw a two-fold increase in cat longevity among cats older than 6. This is possibly due to improvements in nutrition and vet care.

Birman cat
Birman cats have an average lifespan of 16 years

What Decreases a Cats Lifespan?

Road Trauma

Trauma causes 39% of deaths in cats.

Most of that (87%) are from trauma related to road accidents.

One study attached cameras to cats in a suburban area in the United States. They found 45% of cats crossed a road.

The National Geographic channel attached a GPS to cats, finding some cats exploring up to one mile around their house. 

Leaving your cat outside is risky if your property isn’t secure.

A cat on a road
Road trauma is the leading cause of death in cats


Female cats live longer than male cats.

On average, a female lives 15 years whilst male cats live 13 years.

Neutered male cats live longer (15 vs 11 years).

Neutered cats tend to spend less time pursuing outdoor adventures, reducing the risk of hazard exposure.

Orange tom cats are very promiscuous and have a high risk of death from road trauma.

Learn more:


Cats are also susceptible to the following:

  • Kidney disease (12.1% of total cat deaths)
  • Illness and infection (11.2%)
  • Neoplasia (i.e. tumors) (10.8%)
  • Mass lesion disorders (e.g. warts and cysts) (10.2%)

Best practice is to make sure to keep up to date with annual vet checkups.

Learn more:

A vet treating a cat
Keep up to date with annual vet checkups for your cat

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do Female Cats Live Longer Than Male Cats?

Hormonal and social factors.

Neutered cats roam less then unneutered males. Roaming around can decrease lifespan due to road trauma, fighting, and disease.

What Is the Average Life Expectancy of an Indoor Cat?

10-15 years.

An outdoor cat may only live 2-5 years on average. Indoor cats are less likely to die from road trauma or get parasites.

Keeping your cat active helps indoor cats stay healthy.

Trees, tunnels, toys, and outdoor enclosures all help.

A cat playing with a toy
Give indoor cats ways to stay active to maintain a healthy weight

Why Do Outdoor Cats Have More Diseases?

More exposure to:

  • Pests
  • Fighting

Diseases include feline leukemia virus (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), bartonellosis, and rabies. 

Viruses and parasites suppress the immune system. Transmission occurs through bites and close contact, including mutual cat grooming.

Older cats are most at risk of parasites due to having weaker immune systems.

20 out of 55 cats (36%) in suburban areas ingested liquids and solids not provided by an owner during unsupervised outdoor access, research finds.

A study from Canada showed that 28% of owners allow cats to free roam without supervision.

Cats fighting
Fighting between cats can transfer disease

How Do I Increase My Cats Lifespan?

Two best ways:

  • Keep your cat indoors
  • Keep your cat at a healthy weight

More than half of US pets are overweight or obese.

Obesity predisposes cats to a higher mortality rate from many conditions. It is well known that the risk of diabetes increases with obesity.

Problems include:

  • High blood fat levels
  • Mobility disorders
  • Reproductive disorders

Cats are carnivores and thrive off a higher protein and moisture diet of animal foods. Hunting cats consume a high protein, low carbohydrate diet.

Here are some other factors involved in weight gain:

Choosing species-appropriate nutrition for cats. Have a feeding schedule and avoid free feeding.

Learn more:

An overweight cat
A cat loaf…or bagel I guess

Why Do Cats Only Live 15 Years?

Different animals age faster or slower.

It’s not known the exact reason why.

Some scientists suggest that smaller animals tend to age faster since they have a higher metabolic rate. This seems to produce more wear and tear.

However, some research seems to refute this as some small animals live long. Dogs are larger than cats, but large dogs live a shorter life.

Can cats live 20 years?


At least 1% of cats live longer than 20 years according to recording data from veterinary practices in Italy. The maximum lifespan of cats is considered 38 years old.

Can cats live 30 years?

Yes, although it is extremely rare.

The oldest living recorded cat lifespan is 38 from Creme Puff.

Cat Lifespan Comparison Chart

This chart compares the lifespan of different types and breeds of cats.

Manx cat lifespan9-13 years
Persian catlifespan12-17 yearsHigh risk of death from urinary tract disease
Black cat lifespan15 yearsMay live longer than average due to melanism
Tabby cat lifespan15 yearsNot a breed (hence variable lifespan)
Domestic shorthair cat lifespan12-14 years
Bengal cat lifespan~7 years
Birman cat lifespan16 years
Siamese cat lifespan12-17 yearsSimilar lifespan to Persian cats
A comparison of the lifespan of different breeds of cats


The average cat lifespan is 14 years.

The main ways to improve your cats lifespan is to keep them indoors and at a healthy weight.

Road trauma and disease from parasites are common in outdoor cats. As territorial animals, they tend to roam far and wide when given the opportunity.

Maintain regular vet appointments to check for health issues and monitor weight.

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I'm qualified dietitian that's turned their attention to cat nutrition. My goal is to help tease out the science on how best to feed your cat.