Did you know there are over 70 different cat breeds? That’s a lot of kitties–but which cats live the longest?
The longest-lived cat breeds include the Balinese, Siamese, Russian Blue, American Shorthair, and Burmese. Many of the oldest cats in the world have been mixed-breed cats as well.
The average cat lifespan is around 12-14 years, but it’s not uncommon for any breed of cat to live well into their twenties. As veterinary medicine and pet food standards continue to advance, we might even see our furry friends begin to live even longer!
In this article, we’ll discuss the lifespans of purebred vs. domestic cats, 12 cat breeds with the longest lifespans, and how to help your cat live their best, longest life.
Do Purebred Cats Live Longer?
It actually seems that mixed-breed cats live longer! A survey from the United Kingdom showed that mixed-breed cats lived an average of 14 years, while purebreds live an average of 12.5 years.
This study selected over 4000 cats at random, but only 8.3% of these were purebred–which is a fairly small sample size. In addition, researchers noted that average lifespans varied widely across breeds.
I wasn’t able to find similar studies done in the United States, so we don’t know if American cats have differing lifespans compared to those overseas.
12 Cat Breeds with the Longest Lifespans
Balinese cats can live as long as 18-22 years on average. They’re very similar to Siamese cats in temperament, appearance, and health. They have longer fur and, like Siamese cats, are prone to eye issues.
Siamese cats are smart, playful, and chatty!
#3: Russian Blue
Russian Blues live around 18 years on average. These regal cats are known for their calm dispositions. They have short, silvery gray coats.
#4: American Shorthair
American Shorthairs live around 15-20 years. They may suffer from health issues such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and hip dysplasia.
Often confused for domestic shorthairs, which aren’t a breed, American Shorthairs are purebred cats. Domestic shorthair is a term used to describe any domesticated cat with short fur.
On average, Burmese cats live around 16-18 years. Although there’s rumored to be a Burmese who lived to be 35 years old, I wasn’t able to find a record of this personally!
Bombays live around 13-17 years on average. They’re adaptable and loving companions but, unfortunately, are prone to breathing difficulties and brachycephalic airway syndrome due to their short snouts.
They’re also at an increased risk of developing heart disease and eye problems.
Manx cats live around 14 years on average. These cats are naturally tailless with round faces. They’re prone to spinal issues, including spinal biffida, arthritis, weak hind legs, and incontinence.
Persians live around 13.5 years on average. Health problems in Persians include dental disease, breathing problems, and brachycephalic airway syndrome.
You’ve likely heard of Persians due to their long coats and flat, sometimes grumpy-looking faces. Some people theorize that Garfield the cat is a Persian!
#9: Egyptian Mau
These spotted felines can run up to 30 miles per hour and are known for their playfulness!
#10: Oriental Shorthair
Oriental Shorthairs live for approximately 12-15 years. They have large ears and pointy snouts that make them easy to differentiate from other cat breeds.
Health issues include GI issues, eye problems, diabetes, and feline Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Ragdolls are known for being mellow and cuddly. They’re quite large, with males regularly weighing as much as 20 pounds.
Savannahs live around 12-15 years. These cats are illegal in some states (rightfully so!) as they’re serval and domestic cat hybrids that require special care–and, truly, aren’t ethically bred.
Savannah cats retain much of their wild ancestry and are more prone to behavioral problems due to their excess energy.
Ways to Increase Your Cat’s Lifespan
Keep Them Indoors
Outdoor cats have average lifespans of around 3-7 years. In comparison, indoor cats live 10-20 years. Of course, there are always outliers in both categories.
However, there’s no way to deny the dangers outdoor cats face. They include:
- Cat fights
- Poisonous plants or substances
- Ill-intentioned neighbors
Some people think their area is safe for cats to wander freely because they live in the suburbs without predators or in the country where there aren’t busy roads nearby. Not only does this often swap one danger for another (busy streets vs. a wooded area with predators, for instance), but it’s also often inaccurate.
There are almost always both predators and cars in your area to some extent. It’s also worth noting that cats travel great distances when left to roam–some of them will go up to two miles away from home. So, your immediate area isn’t the only thing to worry about!
Allow Supervised Outdoor Time
If you want your cat to be able to safely explore the outdoors, this is a perfectly reasonable choice! Supervision will help lengthen your cat’s lifespan by keeping them out of dangerous situations.
You have three options for supervised outdoor time: catios, leashes, and training.
Catios, or cat patios, are enclosed spaces where your cat can sit outdoors without wandering the entire neighborhood.
Harness training allows you to walk your cat wherever you or they please, without worrying about them running off and getting into trouble. Some people stick to the backyard, while others will take their cats to the park or even on hikes!
Lastly, and a bit riskier, is training your cat to remain by your side in the backyard. So long as you know they won’t take off; this is a good choice.
If your cat does go outside in any capacity, please remember to keep their vaccines and parasite prevention medications up to date.
Feed a Balanced Diet
Diet goes a long way to keeping your cat healthy. We know that overweight cats don’t tend to live as long as those at a healthy weight, nor will underweight cats!
Feeding your cat the right amount of food is one step, and the next is feeding them a quality, veterinarian-approved diet. I like foods that meet or exceed WSAVA guidelines, which include being formulated by a certified veterinary nutritionist and conducting scientific studies to ensure the food is good for our cats to eat. My cats eat Purina Pro Plan as recommended by my veterinarian, but there are cheaper options for those on a tight budget.
Play with them Daily
Daily exercise is another important way to keep your cats active and help them live for a long time. Adult cats need around 10-15 minutes of play 2-3 times a day to stay fit and prevent boredom. Kittens and very active cats may require more.
Playing with toys allows them to mimic hunting behaviors and is mentally as well as physically stimulating.
I like to fit playtime into my cats’ schedule by playing with them before meals, but you can also use play to tire them out before you leave the house or go to bed.
Adopt Two or More Cats
Cats are social animals, and having two or more tends to be easier in many ways than having just one.
They can help to keep each other active while you’re too busy to play and can also express natural behaviors like grooming one another.
The more active your kitties are, the more likely they are to live long, healthy lives.
Choose a Breeder Carefully
Personally, I’ll always opt for a rescue cat! But if you’re going to purchase kittens from a breeder, it’s vital that you do your research.
There are plenty of kitten mills and backyard breeders out there who don’t care about the cats they’re breeding, only profits. Some backyard breeders do mean well but don’t put in the effort to learn about their breed, complete genetic health tests before breeding, and care for their cats appropriately.
If you want a long-lived cat, genetics are where it all begins. Walk away from breeders who don’t have genetic health screenings readily available or who try to pass off a simple DNA test kit as sufficient.
See the Vet for Regular Check-Ups
Young cats should see the veterinarian at least once a year for a wellness exam, while seniors and those with chronic health problems should visit once every six months.
Regular physical exams, bloodwork, and vaccines will all help you to both prevent disease and catch illnesses early if they do arise.
Learn About Cat Health
Lastly, learn about cat health and symptoms to watch for, and get to the vet if your cat isn’t acting like themselves!
The more knowledge you have on hand, the more likely you’ll be to notice illnesses before they become severe.
You can also track your cat’s health at home by doing things like recording their weight regularly, looking them over for parasites like fleas or mites, and cleaning the outside of their ears to help prevent ear infections.
I hope this article has helped you learn more about cat lifespans, which breeds live the longest, and how to keep your cats healthy so that they live for as long as possible!
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Summary Of 12 Cats With The Longest Lifespans
|3||Russian Blue||18 years|
|4||American Shorthair||15-20 years|
|9||Egyptian Mau||12-16 years|
|10||Oriental Shorthair||12-15 years|
The Featured Image
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.