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    Feline Lifespan: Insights into Factors Influencing Cat Longevity

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    Kitten with his paw raised
    Kitten with his paw raised

    How long do cats live? For cat lovers, understanding the lifespan of their feline companions is more than just trivia—it’s about knowing what to expect and how to provide the best care throughout their lives.

    cropped shot of woman carrying cute scottish fold cat
    cropped shot of woman carrying cute scottish fold cat

    Recent studies shed light on factors that can significantly influence a cat’s longevity, offering valuable insights for pet owners who wish to optimize the health and happiness of their cats.

    Norwegian Forest Cat, 5 months old, sitting in front of white background
    Norwegian Forest Cat, 5 months old, sitting in front of white background

    A comprehensive study examining necropsies of over 3,000 cats between 1989 and 2019 at a single veterinary medical teaching hospital revealed key findings about cat mortality and lifespan.

    Young bengal cat or kitten clawing at the air while looking upwards towards some food
    Young bengal cat or kitten clawing at the air while looking upwards towards some food

    One striking result was the median age of death, which was found to be approximately 9 years for the studied population.

    Ginger cat
    Ginger cat

    However, this median is likely influenced by the referral nature of the institution, where more severe cases may be seen, possibly leading to a shorter average lifespan than what might be expected in the general pet cat population.

    Portrait of the cat on the floor
    Portrait of the cat on the floor

    Cancer emerged as the most common cause of death in the studied cats, followed by renal disease, feline infectious peritonitis, and cardiac disease, collectively accounting for over half of all deaths. This highlights the crucial need for continued research and preventative care in these areas to improve feline health outcomes.

    Bengal cat in light brown and cream looking with pleading stare at the viewer with space for advertizing and text
    Bengal cat in light brown and cream looking with pleading stare at the viewer with space for advertizing and text

    Interestingly, the presence of renal disease was noted in a high percentage of cases, but it was the direct cause of death in only a fraction of them, which may indicate the need for further investigation into its contribution to morbidity and overall quality of life.

    British Shorthair cats, 1 year old, lying in front of white background
    British Shorthair cats, 1 year old, lying in front of white background

    The effects of spaying and neutering on longevity were also significant. Neutered cats lived longer than their intact counterparts, with the study suggesting a strong association between reproductive status and lifespan.

    Lovely red cat on wooden table
    Lovely red cat on wooden table

    This aligns with the general understanding that spaying and neutering can prevent certain health issues and mitigate risks associated with reproductive behaviors, such as roaming and fighting.

    Kitten portrait with white paws lying on a floor.
    Kitten portrait with white paws lying on a floor.

    Environment and housing conditions played a role as well, with cats living strictly indoors showing longer median lifespans than those with access to the outdoors. This could be due to the myriad of risks outdoor cats face, including traffic, predators, and increased exposure to infectious diseases.

    gray scottish fold cat lying on sofa and looking at laptop
    gray scottish fold cat lying on sofa and looking at laptop

    It’s important to note that these findings, while informative, are specific to a particular subset of the feline population and may not apply universally.

    Black & white cat
    Black & white cat

    Factors such as diet, access to veterinary care, and lifestyle also play critical roles in a cat’s longevity and were not the primary focus of this study.

    Cat above white banner
    Cat above white banner

    For pet owners, these insights underline the importance of regular veterinary checkups, preventative healthcare, and thoughtful decision-making about a cat’s living environment.

    Two cute tabby kittens walking towards camera. Studio shot again
    Two cute tabby kittens walking towards camera. Studio shot again

    Understanding that neutered cats tend to live longer, and that indoor living can offer a safer, more controlled environment, are tangible factors that cat owners can consider to enhance their pet’s lifespan.

    Golden shaded British shorthair, 7 months old, sitting against white background
    Golden shaded British shorthair, 7 months old, sitting against white background

    In conclusion, this data reinforces the multi-faceted nature of feline health and supports the notion that a combination of medical care, lifestyle choices, and perhaps a touch of luck, can influence how long our feline friends will grace our lives.

    Relevant articles:
    How long do cats live?, bluecross.org.uk
    ​Seven Common Habits That Can Shorten Your Feral Cat’s Life, undercoverpethouses.com
    🐈 Optimal Nutritional for Cats 🐈, pandosyvet.com
    Longevity and mortality in cats: A single institution necropsy study of 3108 cases (1989–2019), National Institutes of Health (NIH) (.gov), by MS Kent · 2022 · Cited by 9

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