Saturday 15 October 2011

Cat life expectancy

Cat life expectancy is dependent on the individual cat and the cat's circumstances. We all know that feral cats live very short lives on average in comparison to domestic cats living in good homes, particularly full-time indoor cats.

Cat life expectancy various between about 3 or 4 years for feral cats to over 20 years for domestic cats. The average might be about 15 years. Purebred cats tend to live shorter lives because of selective breeding which often involves inbreeding that compromises the immune system and which brings forward recessive defective genes. The purebred cat might live for 3 years less than the average moggie.

As is the case for people, some cats are programmed by their genes to live long lives. Others will die of natural causes at a younger age.

I am sure that the availability of good veterinarian care plays a role in average cat lifespan. Where there is good veterinarian care on tap the average must be extended. Accordingly it is possible to argue that in well developed countries the life expectancy of domestic cats is longer than in the less well developed countries. But that is a guess. Unnecessary operations (declawing) carry the risk of death under surgery for example.

Wild cats have variable life expectancies too. My reading indicates to me that on average the wild cat might live to about 10-12 years of age in the wild. In captivity you can add on a few years to that lifespan. The lifespan of wildcats is reduced through persecution by people - shooting or poisoning for sport or for body parts etc.

My old lady cat is about 20 years of age and at the end of her life. She is a moggie and has good genes!

See a chart that converts cat years to human years.

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