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How Long Do Cats Live? Average Life Expectancies

Typically a domestic cat that lives primarily indoors will live to an average age of 15 years old.

While street cats live an average of only 5.5 years.

The Oldest Cats on Record

The oldest living cat (as of July 2020) is called Corduroy who entered the Guinness Book of Records in 2015 at the age of 26. As far as records show, he is still alive.

Corduroy lost his previous title as the oldest cat in 2014 when Tiffany Two was discovered at the age of 27, but she has since passed away and Corduroy has resumed the record again.

Previously, the oldest recorded age was held by a cat called Crème Puff who lived 38 years and 3 days, she died in 2005.


Of course, these are only the cats that have been officially recorded.

Cat Breeds That Live Longer

Some cats are predisposed to live longer lives due to their genetics.

Below are some cats which typically live longer lives than the average cat:

BreedAverage Lifespan
European Shorthair18
Japanese Bobtail17
Russian Blue17
American Shorthair17

Be aware that mixed cats are usually the most resilient in terms of longevity due to their stronger genetic diversity.

If you want to breed a cat that will live a long life try mixing some of the breeds above together.


Feral, street, or stray cats, have generally a 50% mortality rate and are expected to last only two years although figures taken from a number of studies taken together show the average lifespan of stray cats can be between 6-7 years.

Generally, they are smaller than household cats, because of their lifestyle. On the other hand, domestic cats can reach an age of 15 years; 12-15 years is an average in most cases – that is roughly equivalent to 64 – 76 if you convert your cats age to the equivalent in human years.

how long do cats live?

However it is not uncommon for cats to live far longer than this.

Also Read: How to tells a cats age

Domestic vs Feral

Domestic cats are sheltered from harsh weather conditions, whether heat or cold, by having a house to sleep in.

Even if they are the prowling kind, they can always slip back into the house when there’s bad weather.

Feral cats have to find a den wherever they can and make the best of it, whatever the weather.

Top Tip:
If you are aware that there are feral cats living in your area then putting out a purpose-made outdoor cat house for them can do a lot to make their lives more comfortable.

Food is a constant preoccupation for wild cats. They have to hunt or scavenge.

a black and white cat relaxed on a woodern fence against a colorful background

Their choices of live prey or other sources of food will depend on their environment. Feral cats on the whole need to use all their senses, like eyesight, smell, and acute hearing, plus their stealth to gather food, if they live in the countryside or wilderness areas.

Urban or suburban strays have all the waste of our consumer and fast food society to scavenge from.

Household cats either have a permanent supply of food on hand or are fed at regular intervals.

Feral cats burn a lot of energy hunting for food, whereas domestic cats may become obese because it is handed to them on a plate.

A domestic cat may face dangers if it likes to roam and explore (which is why we recommend keeping your cat indoors for its safety), but feral cats will be exposed to more.

stray cats eating

One of the greatest dangers to all cats is traffic. Urban cats are more likely to be streetwise in that sense than wild cats. It is a question of familiarity. Each cat adapts to its own environment.

Feral cats who live in the wild may not appreciate the danger of approaching a road. Wounds, infections, diseases can be fatal to feral cats as there isn’t anyone to care for their illnesses or injuries.

These cats aren’t vaccinated like household cats. Feral cats are also prone to constant pregnancy, which can be controlled in household cats.

How to Extend Your Cat’s Life

Lots of tender, loving care, is the answer.

That doesn’t mean that you should pamper your cat so much that they become fat and lazy.

overweight cat

Many cats that are constantly fed treats and titbits that aren’t good for them become obese. Obesity brings its own problems.

Here a few tips to keep help your cat live a long, healthy life:

  • A balanced diet is crucial. Feed your cat well, with the best cat food you can afford, but nutritious food and with an even hand. Showing your love for your cat by feeding it things it loves, but are harmful, won’t help extend its life.
  • Regular check-ups with the vet are essential for good long term health. Make sure your cat has all its shots and boosters when necessary. Many cats become lazy because they don’t have to find food, which is the main activity of cats in the wild.
  • If your cat isn’t the type to go prowling then you should play with it frequently to give it some exercise. Exercise is as necessary for cats as it is for humans.
  • Neutering male cats may help them live longer. The hormonal change that comes with it will suppress the urge to prowl, look for females in heat, and avoid fights. It can also help prevent testicular cancer and prostate problems.
  • Spaying for female cats is recommended as giving birth to litters one after another can seriously affect your cat’s lifespan. It also reduces the risk of breast cancer and womb infections.
Top Tip:
Cats over the age of 10 can be very expensive to insure and it can be difficult to get lifelong cover for them.

Read our guide to senior cat insurance to make sure you don’t get ripped off.

In Conclusion

With rudimentary care your cat should live between 12-15 years. With more care and attention to their quality of life, that can be extended, but how far is anybody’s guess.

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