About 11.5 years is the average lifespan of domestic cats in the UK and USA (infographic)

About 11.5 years is the average lifespan of domestic cats in the UK and USA
About 11.5 years is the average lifespan of domestic cats in the UK and USA
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The studies:

  1. Teng KT, Brodbelt DC, Church DB, O’Neill DG. Life tables of annual life expectancy and risk factors for mortality in cats in the UK. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. 2024;26(5). doi:10.1177/1098612X241234556
  2. Life expectancy tables for dogs and cats derived from clinical data. Link: https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2023.1082102

Comment: The average lifespan for domestic cats looks short but it is an average. Researchers use the word ‘mean’ rather than average but it is the same thing to all intents and purposes.

RELATED: Impact of size, head shape and sex of purebred dogs on lifespan

The issue here is that some cats live short lives for a wide range of reasons and conversely many domestic cats both purebred and non-purebred live long lives sometimes exceptionally beyond the age of 20 but the average as mentioned is around 11.5 years according to these studies, the first of which was published this year, 2024 and is therefore pretty current.

Obesity is a lifespan shortener which is unsurprising as is being male. My guess is that the male cat lifespan average is reduced by the young males allowed outside unsupervised where due to inexperience they are killed on the roads or by other means. Females are likely to be more cautious and travel less far from the home, their den.

Male cats of all species have larger home ranges. This exposes indoor/outdoor male domestic cats to more dangers.

There’s a strong link between feline obesity and various health issues that can shorten a cat’s lifespan. Here’s how excess weight puts a strain on their bodies:

  • Inflammation: Fat tissue produces inflammatory hormones, leading to chronic low-grade inflammation throughout the body. This inflammation contributes to many diseases.
  • Strain on organs: Excess weight puts stress on organs like the heart, lungs, and kidneys, making them work harder and increasing the risk of failure.
  • Increased risk of specific diseases: Obese cats are more prone to diabetes, arthritis, urinary tract problems, and certain cancers.

It’s important to note that some studies suggest a complex relationship between weight and lifespan. In some cases, very lean cats might also have health problems affecting longevity. However, maintaining a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise is generally considered the best course of action for promoting a long and healthy life for your feline friend.

The shorter lifespan of male domestic cats compared to females likely results from a combination of factors:

  • Hormones: Sex hormones play a role. Male cats (toms) typically have higher levels of testosterone, which might suppress the immune system and increase some health risks.
  • Behavior: Intact male cats (not neutered) tend to roam outdoors more than females. This exposes them to dangers like fights with other cats, car accidents, and contracting diseases.
  • Genetics: There might be some underlying genetic differences that influence lifespan between male and female cats, but more research is needed in this area.

It’s important to consider that neutering your male cat can significantly improve its lifespan. Neutering reduces testosterone levels, decreases roaming behavior, and lowers the risk of certain cancers.

Overall, while gender plays a role, lifestyle choices and neutering have a much bigger impact on a domestic cat’s lifespan.

RELATED: Shocking results. Lifespan statistics of 11 purebred and non-purebred cats (UK).

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