Learn everything you wanted and should know about cat aging in this post. How old our house cats get on average, which breed grows oldest and how you convert cat years into human years.
How old do cats get?
The average life expectancy of a cat is given as 8 to 18 years. The range is so wide because the life expectancy of a free-roaming pet is significantly different from that of a pet-only pet. The average cat life of an outdoor cat lasts 8-12 years.
This is due to the greater number of hazards they are exposed to. Cars and poison bait are just two of them. Stray cats even have a life expectancy of only 3 to 8 years due to the lack of veterinary care and the unbalanced diet.
With a healthy lifestyle (more on that below) and a little luck, cats can live over twenty years. Again and again someone tells about a cat that died only at the age of 22 or 25. The oldest cat in the world reached the proud age of 38 years.
What factors influence the life expectancy of a cat?
Besides the simple fact of whether your furry friend is an indoor-only cat or an outdoor cat, there are other factors that will help your pet live to a ripe old age:
- The cat breed
- A healthy diet
- The right housing conditions
- Health care
- Genetic predisposition
Which breed lives the longest?
As with dogs, mixed breed cats are considered more robust and durable. Very intensively bred pedigree cats have a lower life expectancy due to less genetic diversity. The risk of hereditary diseases also increases if breeding is not done responsibly.
Nevertheless, there are also very long-lived cat breeds. In first place here is the Balinese. He lives to be 18 – 22 years old on average. The European Shorthair with 15 – 22 years is close on his heels. Siamese cats accompany you about 15 – 20 years.
However, a healthy, natural lifestyle and responsible breeding are important for this age.
The healthy cat diet
What should you look for when buying food? Cats are carnivores. Unlike dogs, you can’t feed them a 100% vegan diet.
A good cat food has a high moisture and meat content, but does not contain cereals or sugar. Also, sufficient vitamins, minerals, trace elements and amino acids must be included so that they provide your pussycat in the best way for a high cat age. Young, sick, pregnant or old animals require special nutrition.
What can bad food do in the long run? Preservatives, artificial flavors and flavor enhancers are the reason why cats now suffer from obesity and diabetes. The majority of kidney diseases are caused by insufficient fluid intake. Some cats even develop food allergies. As in humans, such diseases are responsible for premature aging and reduced life expectancy.
A healthy lifestyle
Do you want your cat to have outdoor access? Of course, this question must be answered by the individual cat owner. Free-rangers move more, can live out their hunting instincts and live in a more species-appropriate way. On the other hand, they are exposed to more risks. Cars and poison bait pose deadly hazards. Injuries can occur during turf wars. Therefore, outdoor cats often die at a lower age than house cats.
How do cats get enough exercise indoors? Playing, running and climbing are important. Play with your cat every day. A good cat tree offers opportunities for climbing, scratching, jumping and hiding. You can also teach her to walk with a leash and harness – exercise is good for you and keeps you fit and healthy into old age.
Stress harms cats just as it does humans. You can help your cat to live a relaxed life. Create opportunities for her to play and retreat. Cats relax best when they have the overview at a lofty height. A scratching post that reaches up to the ceiling or a climbing wall with several retreats offer your cat variety and rest periods.
The right care
As a responsible cat owner, you’ll want to keep an eye on your senior pussycat’s weight. Decreasing urge to move often leads to senior cats being overweight in senior, especially if the food is not adjusted. Being overweight causes problems with joints and diabetes in cats.
At the vet, you should have a preventive checkup at least once a year. Besides the necessary vaccinations, you should always keep an eye on your cat’s teeth. This is generally important to avoid FORL (dental disease in cats). It is even more important with an older cat that may also have bad breath. Because bad teeth often lead to other diseases and thus shorten the cat’s life.
For free-rangers, regular deworming and tick protection are also part of the process to give them the best possible protection and allow them to live a long life.
How old is my cat in human years?
You must have heard many times that a cat has nine lives. However, this has very little to do with the conversion of cat years into human years. There is no real rule of thumb. This is because the calculation of cat age changes over the course of a cat’s life. The aging process proceeds at different speeds in different phases of life.
This cat age corresponds to
1 cat month
6 cat months
12 cat months
4 Cat years
10 cat years
15 Cat years
18 cat years
19 Cat years
20 cat years
25 Cat years
= 6 man months
= 10 human years
= 15 human years
= 31 human years
= 55 human years
= 75 human years
= 87 human years
= 91 human years
= 95 human years
= 115 human years
What age means what phase of life?
As you can see, the development of a cat is not linear. It differs depending on the phase of life. In the following, we will take a look at these in more detail.
At 0 – 6 months of life, a cat is considered a kitten. She is growing fast and learning a lot about her environment and people. In that six months, she learns as much as a human child learns in the first ten years of life.
The junior phase follows and continues until the second birthday. During this time, cats grow to their full size and playfully learn everything they need to know about hunting. They go through puberty and become sexually mature. A two-year-old cat is equivalent to a 24-year-old human.
The maturing stage for cats is from 3 to 6 years. They are at the peak of their physical health and fitness. While they are very strong and mobile, the cats already have some experience and are no longer too cocky.
Cats are considered mature from 7 to 10 years of age. Here you can see the first signs of aging, many slow down and gain weight. If your cat has lived a very healthy life, you probably don’t notice its age.
From eleven years, a cat is already considered a senior and therefore old. Now you will notice changes even in very healthy cats. A 12 – year old cat is roughly equivalent in fitness to a 65 – year old human. Almost everything is still possible, but perhaps not as quickly and perfectly as before. At this age, changes are normal and easy to observe. If you are still concerned, ask your veterinarian for advice.
Cats that live 15 years and older are called super seniors. Many cats do not reach this age at all, because accidents or diseases end their life too early. If your cat has lived to be 15 years old, you have given it a long and healthy life.
How can I tell that my cat has grown old?
Old age weakness actually manifests itself in cats in much the same way as it does in humans. Mobility decreases, temperament and sensory abilities such as the sense of smell diminish. The cat becomes quieter, hears, smells and sees worse. Muscle mass and strength degrade, eyes become cloudy.
The state of health becomes more fragile and the energy demand decreases.
Symptoms such as increased vocalizations and disorientation may indicate dementia. The veterinarian should also be consulted in case of increased thirst to rule out adult-onset diabetes or chronic renal insufficiency. If the cat loses weight despite eating more, a tumor could be claiming the nutrients.
In fact, cats die most often from cancer, accidents, cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Older cats should therefore rather be presented to the veterinarian twice a year for a preventive check-up. And listen to your gut when doing so. Better go to the vet once more if you aren’t happy with something about your senior cat, don’t just blame it on age. For many diseases, the earlier they are detected, the better they can be treated.
The recipe for a high cat age
Love, care, nurturing and good food, with a little help from the vet, can give a cat 20 years or more on earth. You have it in your hands to provide your furry friend with the best possible care. However, occasional small exceptions do not hurt and time for cuddling and stroking must absolutely remain. Cats, by the way, are not loners, but solitary hunters, house cats especially benefit from having another cat.