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Ask A Vet: How Long Will My Cat Live?

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Every cat lover who has that special cat wants to know how long they will have their feline friend. The oldest living cat in the world (according to Guinness) is a cat named Corduroy. Corduroy is 26 years old.  The oldest cat on record lived to be a ripe old 38 years, but this is not typical for the domestic cat. Average cats can live into their 20s, though.

Longevity for cats is affected by many factors. There is no one answer that can account for all of them, but here are some basic guidelines for knowing how long you will have with your feline friend (and what you may be able to do to help insure a long life).

What is your cat’s lifestyle? Indoor cats do seem to live longer on average, but if being indoors inclines your cat toward obesity, the negative effects can offset some of the positive ones. Cats that are inside and observed on a daily basis are shielded from environmental hazards, like being hit by a car, being attacked by a predator, and exposure to certain infectious diseases is minimized. At the same time, cats allowed outside are easier to keep entertained, getting mental and physical exercise and staying fitter.  Enrichment toys and puzzle games are a great way to help indoor cats stay mentally and physically fit and making sure that cats allowed outside have safe places to hide can help keep them safer.

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Regardless of your cat’s lifestyle, it is critical to be watchful of overall demeanor, so you can be aware when something is wrong. Including your veterinarian in preventive care and diagnostics is one of the best things that you can do to ensure a long and healthy life for your cat. Your vet needs to know your cat’s lifestyle, also, so that he/she can choose which vaccines and parasite products are most appropriate for your individual cat. Addressing issues early can make a huge impact on quality and quantity of life.

What kind of cat is she? Certain breeds of cat are known for their longevity, like Siamese cats. But certain types of cats have breed-associated diseases that could shorten their lives, like Maine Coon cats seem to have a genetic predisposition to heart disease. If you have a mixed breed cat, she might have inherited genes to predispose her to long life too, so it is hard to predict. There isn’t much you can do about your cat’s genes, so focusing on a safe environment and excellent preventive care are your best means to impact how long your fur-friend can be there to make you smile. (Of course, smiling can help you live longer too!)

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