The Scotsman newspaper online (Aug 12th, 2022) has an article currently on their website which states with extreme confidence that some cat breeds live longer than others and they set out the top 10 cat breeds with the longest lifespan. The whole thing is made up. It is pure fiction. There is no hard information about the lifespan of purebred cats. You can dig around and find some oblique information on this topic but there has been no scientific study on it to the best of my knowledge. You can’t go to a list from a well-respected scientist which backs up what The Scotsman state. They provide no references.
You can get an inkling as to which cat breeds live longer than others by checking out the number of inherited illnesses they have. But this is far from precise. You are still guessing. I’ve always stated that the Siamese cat is the unhealthiest bred and therefore you could argue that they will have shorter life spans. I suspect that they do but I can’t be sure. Persians are pretty unhealthy to with 35% having PKD (polycystic kidney disease). They probably have shorter than average lifespans too.
The Maine Coon cat, an incredibly popular cat, suffers from HCM, a heart disease (as do some other breeds). I just written an article which states that 41.5% of European Maine Coons have the disease. It is caused by one genetic mutation which affects the construction of the heart muscle during the development of the cat. And I’m sure in America a substantial percentage of Maine Coon cats will develop hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and have consequentially shorter life spans. But we don’t have data on it. There is no automatic connection between developing HCM and dying younger although it is likely or probable.
Update: Pet insurance data obtained from a study during years 2003–2006 in Sweden puts the median lifespan of the Maine Coon at > 12.5 years. 74% lived to 10 years or more and 54% lived to 12.5 years or more. This is good to know but it is one small section of the Maine Coon population and it is badly out of date. The source is “Mortality of life-insured Swedish cats during 1999–2006: Age, breed, sex, and diagnosis”. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
I just think that we have to be sensible and realistic. I know it’s boring, and internet users seek quick and convenient anwers, but website owners have a duty to present accurate information and if they can’t present it, they should admit it.
Purebred versus non-purebred
If you compared purebred cats with non-purebred cats you could probably argue that the latter have a longer lifespan than the former. That’s a reasonable suggestion because non-purebred cats are less likely to have inherited diseases. This is because they are random-bred as opposed to selectively bred.
When cats are selectively bred by breeders, they have foundation cats and if a genetic mutation causing a disease is present one of the foundation cats or in a cat introduced into the bloodline, they are going to spawn offspring which carry that inherited genetic illness. That’s why inherited illnesses are perpetuated in purebred cats.
For example, a Maine Coon cat that looks fantastic and is huge may carry a genetic mutation which causes HCM but the breeder decides to keep breeding from that cat because of their appearance which allows him to sell more cats. Or win cat show prizes. Selective breeding is artificial selection. Random-bred cat procreation is governed by natural selection as laid out by Charles Darwin.
Natural selection automatically, over time, generates individuals who are the most likely to survive and therefore have the longest life spans. I have gone off topic but this is what is behind lifespan not some fictional stuff cobbled together on a quiet news day.
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