How Long Do Cats Live?

Updated November 28, 2020

According to a recent survey of English cats, the average lifespan was 14 years old. Purebred cats were recorded as living to a lower average of 12.5 years.

These of course are only averages and include all causes of death from birth to old age. We regularly see cats with good care who do much better.

To help your cat live longer, it’s useful to look at the causes of death recorded.

Cause Of deathPercent
Trauma (mostly road)12.2%
Kidney Disease12.1%
Illness (undefined)11.2%
Neoplasia (cancer)10.8%
Mass (undefined)10.5%

Trauma accounted for almost half of the deaths in cats under five years old. Masses would in many cases also have been cancers such as lymphoma.

It’s informative to also look at the risk factors for having a decreased lifespan.

  1. Not being neutered or desexed
  2. Having a higher body weight
  3. Being purebred

So let’s put all this together.

How To Help Cats Live Longer

Here is a useful evidence-based guide to giving your cat as many healthy years as possible:

Lifespans Of Selected Cat Breeds

There are also differences between some breeds. That means that if you haven’t chosen a breed yet, you have one further way to increase lifespan. Note however that some figures are based on only a few cats so are less reliable.

One large quibble with this data: I object to the use of the term ‘crossbreed’ to describe the domestic breed of cat we also call the moggie. It’s a fantastic breed too, just an overlooked and common one.

Cat BreedLifespanNo.
British Shorthair11.869
Maine Coon1114

Lastly, it’s worth noting that the cause of death was euthanasia for 85.7% of cases. This is quite appropriate and in keeping with a caring society like the UK. All vets would agree that there are very few diseases where a ‘natural’ death is more humane than carefully planned euthanasia.

Further Reading: What Happens When A Cat Get Hit By A Car | Treatment Of Kidney Disease


O’Neill, D. G., Church, D. B., McGreevy, P. D., Thomson, P. C., & Brodbelt, D. C. (2015). Longevity and mortality of cats attending primary care veterinary practices in England. Journal of feline medicine and surgery17(2), 125-133.

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By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. Meet his team here.

2 Replies to “How Long Do Cats Live?”

  1. My little “domestic ” cat lived to the age of 20.5 years! And she was healthy that entire time. She was euthanized after she quit eating but she was pretty decrepit by that time.

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