Why do cats live longer than dogs? Curiously Dr Google PhD does not provide us with a good answer on page one of their search results. However, Google presents a video on the Science Magazine website which is generally poor. And some people question whether cats do in fact live longer than dogs.
For this article, I am referring to what most people are referring to: a comparison in lifespan of domestic cats and domestic dogs in the West 1.
They are different. The domestic dog’s average lifespan is said to be around 12 or 13 years while the cat lives for 15-18 years on average.
Domestic dogs live shorter lives while bucking nature which says that larger animals live longer. Domestic dogs should live longer than cats if nature was in charge but it is not.
This is where, in lieu of a better theory, I will present mine. Far more dogs than cats are purebred, pedigree animals. I don’t know the percentages but the selective breeding of dogs has been around for around 20,000 years or more while cats have been bred formally for about 150 years. The result: more pedigree dogs than pedigree cats.
Millenia of dog breeding has resulted in the proliferation of inherited diseases which would otherwise have been invisible in recessive genes. Breeding has brought them to the fore. If you like selective breeding has switched on diseases locked into recessive genes.
These genetic conditions in dog breeds have been discussed quite extensively, recently. In 2008 the BBC ran a documentary on the health problems of pedigree dogs and they no longer present the world’s biggest dog show: Crufts. The UK’s Kennel Club has admitted their failings and tightened up breed standards but not enough.
Inherited conditions among a sizeable percentage of pedigree dogs have reduced the average lifespan of domestic dogs.
Domestic cats can also have inherited conditions but they are less frequent. The worst offenders are the pedigree cats which have been around the longest: the Siamese and Persian and associated breeds.
In conclusion, for me, the reason why cats live longer than dogs is because of the human’s intervention into nature’s way through aggressive selective breeding for appearance to the detriment of health. But for dog breeding dogs would live longer than cats on average. These are my personal thoughts. I am open to counterargument.
1. There are far more random bred dogs proportional to the overall population in Asia.
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