Owning a cat not only is a major privilege, it's also a serious commitment and responsibility. After all, these fluffy beauties are living, breathing creatures. They require a lot of care that ranges from frequent feedings to scheduling of veterinary appointments. Indoor cats generally have longer lifespans than outdoor cats do.
Typical Indoor Cat Lifespan
If a cat resides indoors exclusively, the typical lifespan ranges somewhere between 13 and 17 years, according to the ASPCA. However, it isn't uncommon for indoor cats to live to at least 20.
The lifespan always depends on the individual cat. Some cats pass away well before 13, while others live long past 17. A lot of factors go into how long a cat will live.
Longevity Benefits of Indoor Cats
The "normal" life expectancy for an indoor cat is significantly longer than that of felines who live outside full-time or part-time. A cat who stays inside all the time is protected from a lot of dangers.
For example, she won't be run over by a car. She won't get into a fight with a neighborhood cat. Hazardous weather won't imperil her. She won't be snatched up by a stranger. She probably won't catch an infectious disease -- such as rabies or the feline leukemia virus -- from a stray or feral cat.
Typical Outdoor Cat Lifespan
The typical outdoor cat lifespan is nowhere near as long. According to the Willamette Humane Society in Oregon, cats who go outside usually live only 3 to 5 years. Outdoor is full of threats to cats, such as rock salts during the winter, and creatures ranging from skunks to coyotes.
Keeping an indoor cat healthy and happy for a long time depends on a lot of factors other than simply keeping her inside. A nutritious and balanced cat diet has a lot to do with it. Don't feed your cat table scraps, and never let her eat anything toxic to cats. Grapes and chocolate are just a few of the many everyday foods that are extremely harmful to pets.
Frequent brain and body stimulation, in the forms of interactive games and physical fitness sessions, also works wonders. And routine veterinary checkups are a must, from the kitten months into the geriatric years.
- The Humane Society of the United States: Peaceable Backyard Kingdom: Protecting Pets and Wildlife
- ASPCA: General Cat Care
- Willamette Humane Society: Cats -- Indoor or Outdoor
- Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society: Keep Your Cats Indoors
- Montgomery County SPCA: Cat Care
- The Connecticut Humane Society: Outdoor Cats Need Your Help in the Winter
- Janie Airey/Lifesize/Getty Images