Better vet treatments and care mean that our pet cats are living longer than ever. Learn about a cat’s average lifespan, their lifecycle and more
If you’ve got a pet cat, or are thinking about getting one, you might be wondering; how long do pet cats live in human years?
A cat’s life expectancy will depend on many factors, including health, diet and their environment, but the average lifespan for a domestic cat is about 12-14 years. However, some pet cats can live to be around 20 years old. The breed is also often considered a factor in determining a cat's life expectancy, but this is no guarantee.
The good news is that advances in veterinary care and awareness of good cat welfare mean that domestic cats are living longer than they used to. According to our Cats and Their Stats 2020 report, almost half (43%) of the UK’s owned cats are considered ‘old’.
Sadly though, cats in our care aged 11 years and older take an average of one month to find their new forever homes, over three times longer than kittens who take just eight days.
To show that these senior kitizens still have a lot to give, Cats Protection has launched Mature Moggies Day on 16 June, encouraging people to share inspiring stories of their older cats with #MatureMoggiesDay.
How old is the world's oldest cat?
The Guinness World Records™ title for the oldest cat alive in 2022 is currently held by Flossie, who is 26 years old. Flossie arrived in the care of Cats Protection's Tunbridge Wells, Crowborough & District Branch in 2022 and Branch Coordinator Naomi Rosling said:“We were flabbergasted when vet records showed Flossie to be nearly 27 years old. She’s the oldest cat I've ever met; at least 120 in human years.”
Flossie was rehomed with Vicki Green, in Orpington, who said: “I knew from the start that Flossie was a special cat, but I didn’t imagine I’d be sharing my home with a world record holder. She’s so affectionate, playful and sweet, especially when you remember how old she is. I’m immensely proud that Cats Protection matched me with such an amazing cat.”
Flossie had remained in the same extended family since being homed as a young stray in 1995. She had been living in a colony of cats near a Merseyside hospital, when two workers took pity on them and each homed a cat. They lived together for 10 years until the owner died and Flossie was taken in by her sister. After another 14 happy years, the new owner also passed away. Flossie was aged at least 24 at that time. For the next three years, Flossie lived with the woman’s son, until his situation led him to make the difficult decision to relinquish the family cat to Cats Protection.
Craig Glenday, Editor in Chief at Guinness World Records™ said: "We were so excited to hear about the lovely Flossie and celebrate her long life – it’s not every day you come across a cat who has been around since the mid-nineties. This is the human equivalent of over 120 years old, which would put her on par with Jeanne Calment, the French supercentenarian who lived to 122 years 164 days and holds the record for the oldest person ever.”
The world record for the oldest catever is held by Crème Puff, a cat from Texas in the USA who lived to be 38 years and three days old, the longest lifespan of any known domestic cat!
What type of cat has the longest lifespan?
While there is no guarantee that a cat will live a long and healthy life, there are some breeds that are known to live longer than others. Siamese, Burmese and Ragdoll are just a few of these breeds. But remember, a healthy diet, good exercise and other external factors are all vital for ensuring a long life for your pet cat.
How long are cat years?
Similarly to dogs, cat life stages can be roughly equated to human years, meaning that we can calculate a cat’s age both in cat years and human years. However, this is complicated, as cats mature much more in their first human year than they do for the rest of their lives. This is much like humans, who age slower and slower as years go by. Below you will find ages in terms of cat years equated roughly to human years.
- 1 month = 1 human year
- 3 months = 4 human years
- 6 months = 10 human years
- 12 months = 15 human years
- 18 months = 21 human years
- 2 cat years = 24 human years
- 3 cat years = 28 human years
After three years, your cat has developed as much as a 28-year-old human will. After this stage, every cat year equates to around four human years. So, an 11-year-old cat is 60 in human years.
When are cats considered ‘old’ in their lifecycle?
Cats go through six life stages as they grow, and they start to be considered ‘old’ when they reach the ‘mature’ stage at age seven. However, they typically don't start slowing down until they reach the 'senior' stage at 11 years old. The six life stages of a cat's lifecycle are:
- Kitten (0-1 year) – This is when cats grow quickest and learn the most about what is safe and unsafe in their environment. A one-year-old kitten is 15 years old in human years
- Junior (1-2 years) – Cats grow to their full size during this period and continue learning important skills such as playing/hunting. A two-year-old cat is 24 in human years
- Prime (3-6 years) – This is when cats are in the prime of their lives and usually at their peak of physical fitness. This period covers age 24-40 in human years
- Mature (7-10 years) – Cats start to be considered ‘old’ when they reach this stage, and may start to slow down a bit and put on weight. This is when they’re the human equivalent of being in their mid-40s to mid-50s
- Senior (11-14 years) – At 14 cats reach the human age of 70, so they may not be as agile as they used to be and their health will need monitoring closely
- Super senior/geriatric (15 years and older) – Some cats will reach this stage still with the energy of a kitten, but others will prefer a slower pace of life with lots of comfy spots for snoozing. At 15 years old they’re 76 in human years and reach 100 in human years when they’re 21
How to tell the age of a cat
If you do not know the date a cat was born, then it can be difficult to determine their exact age. For the best estimate of a cat’s age, take them to a vet who will be able to examine their teeth, eyes, coat and other factors to do with their health and body condition to determine roughly how old they are.
How long do indoor cats live?
Cats that go outdoors are more likely to encounter risks such as road traffic accidents, fights with other cats and other dangers that could affect their life expectancy. However, they are also likely to get more exercise as they have more space to roam, which helps to keep them fit and healthy. Currently there is limited evidence to suggest that adopting either an indoor or outdoor lifestyle results in a significantly long lifespan. If you do keep your cat indoors, they’ll need plenty of opportunities to exercise with fun toys they can chase and catch. There are still other risks to pet house cats, so you’ll need to monitor them closely to keep them healthy for longer.
How to help your cat live longer
There are six simple steps you can take to help increase the life expectancy of your cat.
- Get them neutered –Neutered cats tend to live longer as it prevents them from picking up diseases through mating and they are less likely to roam far from home which decreases the chance of road traffic accidents and cat fights
- Have regular vet checks – Taking your cat to the vet for a check-up at least once a year will help you to catch any health issues early so they can receive effective treatment
- Get them vaccinated – Making sure your cat is up-to-date with all their vaccinations will help to protect them from any nasty diseases that could shorten their life
- Encourage exercise – Whether your cat goes outdoors or not, try to spend a little bit of time each day encouraging them to play so they can get some exercise and stay physically fit
- Feed a healthy diet – Make sure your cat is eating a complete cat food suitable for their age as this will contain all the nutrients they need for a long and healthy life. Avoid giving too many cat treats as these can be high in calories and cause them to put on weight
- Keep them indoors at night – The risks of your cat being involved in a road traffic accident or fighting with another cat are higher at night, so we recommend keeping them indoors when it’s dark
For more advice on keeping your cat healthy, visit www.cats.org.uk/help-and-advice/health
How long do pet cats usually live? ›
Indoor cats generally live from 12-18 years of age. Many may live to be in their early 20s. The oldest reported cat, Creme Puff lived to be an amazing 38 years old. Outdoor cats generally live shorter lives due to being more likely to be involved in traumas such as motor vehicle accidents or dog attacks.What is the average age of a cat when it dies? ›
Average lifespan of cats overall: Crossbred cats have a longer average lifespan of 14 years compared with 12.5 years for purebred cats. On average, a cat's lifespan is reduced by 6 months for every 1 kg increase in adult bodyweight. Annual veterinary health checks help to identify and manage health conditions earlier.Can a cat live 20 years? ›
Average cat lifespan
While dependent on many things, including luck, some domestic cats can live to up to 20 years old. During their life they will go through six key life stages which may help owners understand certain health/behavioural problems that could arise and things to keep an eye on.
The average lifespan for a pet cat is probably around 13 to 14 years. However, although their lifespan varies, a well cared for cat may commonly live to 15 or beyond, some make it to 18 or 20 and a few extraordinary felines even pass 25 or 30 years of age.How old is a 17 year old cat in human years? ›
How old is a 17 year old cat in human years? A 17 year old cat is the equivalent to 84 human years old.How old is 15 in cat years? ›
|Cat Years (cat's age according to the calendar)||Human Years (cat's age in equivalent human years, based on stage of development/aging)|
Cancer is the leading cause of death in senior cats. Cancer is really a blanket term for uncontrolled cell growth, which means there are many different forms this can take – many different kinds of cancer that can attack your pet.What is the most common cause of death indoor cats? ›
One of the top silent killers of cats is chronic kidney disease (CKD) (This is sometimes called chronic renal failure or chronic kidney injury).What happens to a cat before it dies? ›
They may eat less, groom themselves less, and behave differently than normal. Some cats may become irritable and growl or hiss when interacting with other animals or humans. They may also seem anxious or restless. Many cat parents find it surprising that cats will purr more when they are beginning to pass.How old is a 16 year old cat? ›
16 human years = 84 cat years.
Do male or female cats live longer? ›
As in humans, female cats tend to live for longer than male cats. Neutered cats are also likely to live for longer than intact ones, and pure breed cats are less likely to live as long as crossbreeds.What is the oldest cat ever lived? ›
Creme Puff (August 3, 1967 – August 6, 2005) was a mixed Tabby domestic cat, owned by Jake Perry of Austin, Texas, US. She was the oldest cat ever recorded, according to the 2010 edition of Guinness World Records, when she died aged 38 years and 3 days. Austin, Texas, U.S.Is 15 very old for a cat? ›
In recent years, feline ages and life-stages have been redefined, cats are considered to be elderly once they reach 11 years with senior cats defined as those aged between 11-14 years and super-senior cats 15 years and upwards.How do you know when it's time to put your elderly cat down? ›
There are several indicators that it's the right time to start considering euthanasia, including loss of appetite, inability to move without pain, severe weight loss, and the inability to control elimination (urinating or defecating uncontrollably).How old is 18 cat years to human years? ›
|Cat years||Human years|
Older cats may vocalize excessively for a number of reasons, including disorientation, loss of hearing and pain due to one or more medical conditions. (Please see our article, Meowing and Yowling, for more information about excessive vocalizing and how to resolve it.)
If your cat gets to 20, she's around 97 human years old. Unlike dogs—who have different human age equivalents depending on their size—the formula for cats is universal because they're all roughly the same size.Do cats like to be hugged and kissed? ›
So the answer to whether or not cats like hugs and kisses is that it depends on the cat. Cats who are used to being held and kissed as kittens will probably enjoy these expressions of love, while those who haven't had that kind of exposure will likely try to get away as soon as you put your arms around them.Why do older cats drink a lot of water? ›
Three of the more common causes of excessive urination and excessive drinking in cats are diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, and hyperthyroidism.Why do cats lick their lips? ›
The most common reason cats lick their lips is to clean them after eating or drinking. However, if your cat licks her lips frequently regardless of whether she has been at her food or water bowl, she may have problems with her teeth or gums, and needs to see a vet.
What is the number 1 killer of domestic cats? ›
Cats who appear perfectly healthy can be infected yet not come down with an illness for months or years. During these months or years, however, they are contagious to other cats. 1... The number one infectious disease killer of cats in the United States today is Feline Leukemia Virus, or FeLV.Do cats know when they are dying? ›
Cats seem to have the ability to know that they are going to die. A sick cat will often begin seeking out places that are comfortable to them yet away from their owners.What is toxic to cats? ›
Some of the most toxic food for cats include onions & garlic, raw eggs & meat, chocolate, alcohol, grapes and raisins. Avoid feeding your cat table scraps, especially around the holidays, as these may contain potentially toxic ingredients.Do cats pass away in their sleep? ›
Most dogs and cats don't fall sleep and then pass away gently in their sleep. 95% of our pets will have many days of challenging stages of deterioration and pain before they finally pass.What happens when a cat dies at home? ›
A mobile veterinary clinic may be able to come to your home. Animal control services will also pick up deceased pets for a fee. Your pet's passing will not be considered an emergency, so at night, weekends, or holidays, they may not arrive until the next business day.How can I help my cat pass away peacefully? ›
- Offer Special Treats. ...
- Make a Clean, Comfortable Bed Available. ...
- Put Your Cat's Things Nearby. ...
- Spend Time Nearby. ...
- Keep Your Cat's Space Calm and Quiet. ...
- Look Into Pain Medication.
set up a little shrine in the corner of a room with a photo of them and a candle. write a goodbye letter and bury it with them. write a poem or short story talking about your life with them. share your loss with others who have been through it.Do cats fear death? ›
They are not afraid of death, at least not in the sense that we people are. Nearing death, they come to a place of acceptance and try to communicate that to us.Is 17 considered old for a cat? ›
Time Flies for Humans and Cats
By 12 years of age your cat is becoming a senior citizen, and by 15 she is considered "geriatric" (see chart below). While the average lifespan for a spayed or neutered house cat is 14-16 years, many felines are now living into their late teens and even their early twenties.
Cats that come in pairs tend to be healthier and live longer than single cats because they often get more exercise, which keeps their hearts healthy and reduces their stress. Additionally, exercise lessens the risk of having an overweight pet, and can add years to their life.
Why do outdoor cats live shorter? ›
Outdoor cats face more dangers than indoor cats, and this is why their lifespans tend to be shorter. They're in danger of being hit by cars, ingesting something hazardous or encountering predators. You're also more likely to notice health issues with your cat sooner if she's living indoors.How can you tell how old a cat is in human years? ›
How many cat years are in a human year? The first year of your cat's life is considered the equivalent of 15 human years. The second year adds nine more human years to the total, which means 2 cat years are approximately 24 human years. After this, each additional human year is around four 'cat years'.How old is a 38 year old cat in human years? ›
Senior cats will tend to have less energy and reduced mobility which means they will sleep more than younger cats.Why is my 18 year old cat not eating? ›
Loss of appetite is one of the key indicators that something is wrong. So be sure to pay attention if your cat suddenly stops eating. A number of different conditions may be responsible, including infections, kidney failure, pancreatitis, intestinal problems, and cancer.Do senior cats like to be alone? ›
"Some cats may need more emotional support as they age and others may prefer to be left alone," he explains. "They may become more dependent on relationships and require more attention.What to expect from a 17 year old cat? ›
By now your cat is noticeably less active than she used to be. She might avoid some activities she used to enjoy, perhaps because she has lost interest, or because they cause her discomfort. As cats age, sometimes they become more aggressive, overreacting to loud or strange sounds or new people.
Typically, older cats need much more attention than adult cats. This is because, like with humans, as cats age, their health tends to deteriorate. Therefore, they need a little more time daily for medication or help to groom.
Your cat is expressing her affection for you.
Your cat's licking may be an affiliative behavior, which is a friendly, altruistic behavior. Mothers groom their kittens, and cats may groom one another, which is called allogrooming.
Then it gets much easier: Each year of a cat's life is roughly equal to four human years, so a 3-year-old cat is about 29; a 4-year-old cat is 33; a 5-year-old cat is 37; and a 6-year-old cat is 41.
What colors can cats see? ›
Cats' two color-detecting cones let them see blue-violet and yellow-green wavelengths of light, but not red-orange. So, similar to dogs, cats mainly see things in shades of yellow, gray, and blue tinges, but some researchers think that cats may also notice some shades of green.Is a 14 year old cat old? ›
In recent years, feline ages and life-stages have been redefined, cats are considered to be elderly once they reach 11 years with senior cats defined as those aged between 11-14 years and super-senior cats 15 years and upwards.When should you put an old cat down? ›
- Terminal Disease. ...
- Uncontrolled Pain or Loss of Mobility. ...
- Untreatable Aggression or Behavioral Disease. ...
- More Bad Days Than Good Days.
Burmese. The official record of the oldest living cat holder is a 35-year-old Burmese cat. Of course, most Burmese cats don't live that long. The average lifespan of Burmese cats is 18 to 25 years and that is certainly much longer than most cats.How can I increase my cats lifespan? ›
- Keep Up with Those Vet Visits. Regular nose-to-tail examinations are a must for keeping your feline in tip-top shape. ...
- Keep Them Inside. ...
- Keep Them Hydrated. ...
- Spay or Neuter. ...
- Improve Their Diet. ...
- Manage Their Weight. ...
- Dental Hygiene. ...
- Fend Off Boredom.