What You Should Know About Cat Lifespan
While they don’t really have nine lives, cat lifespan can be as long as twenty years depending on variable factors like veterinary care, diet, overall health, and breed.
The Short Life of A Stray Cat
Feral cats, also called strays, usually have much shorter life expectancy than cats kept as pets. This is because stray cats are susceptible to accidents, like being hit by a car.
Left to fend for themselves, cats often eat a poor diet and many times fall victim to disease and/or bug infestations that could contribute to an earlier death. Strays are also more prone to fighting with other cats. Even if a cat isn’t killed during a fight, bites and scratches left untreated can develop deadly infections. Such cats are also at risk of being picked up and subsequently euthanized by animal control officials. Sometimes these animals simply starve to death. The life expectancy for a feral cat is no more than a few years. This is one of the reasons it is so important to spay and neuter your pets!
Longevity of Indoor Cats
Cats kept as pets live for an average of about 13 years, though some have lived for much longer. So, how do “cat years” compare to human years?
Cats, of course, age more quickly in comparison to humans. You can’t just convert over from cat to human years, though, because the rate of aging differs depending on what stage of development the cat is in. For instance, the first year of a cat’s life is equivalent to around 14 or 15 human years, development-wise.
During its second year, a cat will age the equivalent of about nine years.
Each year thereafter should count as around 4-5 human years.
This is just a general estimation, of course, and so information pertaining to individual breeds should be sought. Some types of cats age more quickly or more slowly than others, and things like existing health problems will have to be considered. Cat lifespan, like that of humans, can only be figured in averages because each situation is different.
Prolonging Your Cat’s Life
As a cat owner, there are a lot of things you can do to help ensure the longest life possible for your feline friend. Pets often become members of our families – of course we want them to live for a long time!
One of the most important things you can to do prolong and improve your cat’s life is to schedule regular veterinary visits. A vet can assess your pet’s overall health and diagnose any conditions early enough to take action. Your cat should also receive regular immunizations to prevent diseases like distemper and rabies. You’ll need up to date inoculation records for your cat if you ever want to board it or take it traveling. Besides, who wants to take the risk of having a beloved pet contract a deadly disease? Spaying and neutering also reduces the risk for certain types of cancer.
An equally important factor in extending cat lifespan is diet. Make sure to give your feline friend a good quality cat food. Cats need lots of protein, as well as vitamins and minerals to survive and thrive. Also make sure that your cat always has access to plenty of fresh, clean water. Giving your cat a balanced and healthful diet will add to the length and quality of your pet’s life. Never give your cat human “junk food,” like cookies or chips.
By giving your cat the best care possible, you’ll be giving it the best chance at a long and happy life!