The Cat Span Issue
My name is Mango and I wanted to share reason number 782 of why you should adopt a cat rather than a dog (like you really needed another reason… I mean come on just look at those drooling beasts!). Another way that cats are superior to dogs is that we tend to live longer. So there you have it – adopt a cat for a longer and more meaningful relationship.
What is the average life span of the feline? Well, like most things there is not a simple answer as several factors play significant roles in determining this. While genetic factors do influence the average lifespan of a cat, many other lifestyle variations are even more important — which is actually good news, as it means you can do a lot to help your kitty live a long and happy life.
In the wild, the average lifespan of a cat is anywhere from 2 to 16 years. A house cat has a longer average lifespan of 12 to 18 years, though it’s not uncommon for domestic kitties to live into their 20s. According to Guinness World Records, the oldest cat ever, named Creme Puff, lived to be 38 years old.
Certain cat breeds seem to live longer than others but on the flipside, much like humans, some cats simply get unlucky in the genetic lottery and are more susceptible to diseases that shorten their lifespans, like diabetes, heart disease or cancer.
But what’s more important than breeds or genetics in determining the average lifespan of a cat? The care that cat receives, including nutrition, veterinary care and plain old TLC. One of the most significant factors in extending the average lifespan of a cat is whether she lives indoors or outdoors.
An outdoor cat’s average lifespan is significantly decreased. This can be due to trauma (hit by car, predators, etc.), nutrition (if the cat is expected to be a hunter) or lack of veterinary care (no vaccinations, etc.) leading to disease or dental problems.
Things like regular veterinary checkups to help catch and treat chronic diseases in advance, vaccinations, and of course good nutrition are also vital to supporting a lengthy, happy and healthy cat lifespan. This means feeding your cat a diet that’s low in carbs, high in protein and minimally processed.
And like humans, getting enough physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight (obesity is a major factor in not fulfilling your potential lifespan) and good dental care also impact lifespan. Another biggie (because it saves lives in many different ways) is whether your pet is altered. Pets who are neutered or spayed early on have a longer life expectancy than those who are sterilized later in life or not at all.
But the most rewarding and enjoyable way to help extend the average lifespan of a cat is simply via attention and cuddles. Like humans, cats thrive when they’re given plenty of affection and loving care. And don’t forget that having a pet in your life also extends your lifespan as well!
Which is a great segue, as I am looking for a person whose life I can enhance and extend (while my life is being enhanced and extended and the symbiosis goes on…) I am a quiet and gentle four month kitten who found myself all alone at a very young age. But now I am enjoying the pleasures of being a kitten with friends to play with, belly rubs to receive and humans to love. Now I just need a home of my own...
Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.