Cats make loving and compassionate companions, and some cats can live a very very long time! Cats can routinely live beyond two decades, with some even getting much further up there.
The current world record holder for the oldest cat was a Burmese, who achieved a lifespan of 35 years! Most cats aren’t going to reach these heights, but this is something that feline owners strive for. That’s why so many people consider which are the healthiest breeds of cats they can adopt. Cats have different life expectancies depending on a few factors, but some breeds have an advantage over others. Why is it that some cat breeds are expected to live longer than others?
Well, cat breeds have less hereditary problems than you would find with dogs. However, it is still a factor. Because of breeding and their genetic makeup, some cat breeds are born with a higher risk of developing certain conditions. This is by no means a guarantee that this particular cat breed will live longer than another, but it does give us some hints.
As well as breeding, health and wellbeing are important for a cat. A healthy diet, exercise, and even some luck, all factor into a cat’s lifespan. It isn’t just their genetic makeup. More so than dogs, a cat’s lifestyle will decide how healthy they are. If you’re absolutely devoted to the task of ensuring you get a cat with the longest possible lifespan, you need to manage those other needs. Regular check-ups, a good diet, dental care, and exercise will ensure your cat stays healthy. However, you can also try to go for a cat breed that is specifically healthy. Some breeds are predisposed to live for a lot longer than others, because of a genetic resistance to particular health problems.
Why Do Some Cats Live Longer?
The question of why some cats live longer is a common one, but it has quite a few answers. For some cats, it comes down to luck or environment. Plenty of cats have worse health because of factors outside of their owner’s control, like what they get up to outside the home. The number of cats killed on roads every year is pretty depressing, and it can highlight how breed-specific life expectancies aren’t the most important thing for keeping your pet healthy. Equally, catfights and run-ins with other animals can also cause them problems.
To avoid these problems, some owners go for an indoor cat. However, these pets have their own set concerns. They often develop problems with a sedentary lifestyle if they don’t have enough exercise.
These things are all really important for how long a cat lives for. However, when it comes to which cat breeds live the longest there are some specific reasons why some breeds are healthier. Outside of a cat’s individual health, these are factors that apply to every cat of a particular breed.
When you’re after a pedigree pet, there are risks. There simply aren’t as many pedigree cats around as mixed breed. This means the cats you can partner up to breed are considerably more likely to be related (in some distant way) than a mixed breed cat. A pedigree cat that is going to be bred will be matched with another pedigree, usually one close by. Given how hard it can be to find pedigrees of particular breeds of cats, some inbreeding is a common accident that can happen in the process.
Inbreeding in specific cat breeds can reoccur further through generations of cats. This is a problem for keeping a cat in a healthy state. Over time, this is going to give a particular breed of cat a predisposition to certain conditions and diseases. This makes these breeds less healthy than others.
Do Mixed Breed Cats Live Longer?
Different pedigree breeds have widely different life expectancies, but what about mixed breeds. Mixed breed cats are an entirely different subject really. Overall, the generally held belief that they’re healthier tends to hold true.
This is because mixed breed cats essentially have the opposite position for breeding than pure breeds. Since it doesn’t matter which cats are the parents of a mixed breed, there is a lot more variety. This significantly reduces the chance of any inbreeding and results in healthier cats.
Having a mixed breed pet also cuts out other problems with pure breeds. Pure breed cats can have an appearance or a characteristic breed into them which causes health problems. These problems won’t be present in a mixed breed cat because of the variety of their breeding. If you’re looking for a cat that is going to live a long time and be healthy, a mixed breed cat might be your best choice.
Which Cat Breeds Are The Healthiest?
Outside of a mixed breed cat, there are still some choices you can make to get a healthy pet. Of course, the biggest choice that affects your pet’s health is their lifestyle. A healthy diet and regular exercise will go a lot further for having a long-living pet than just picking the right breed. Although, there are some cat breeds that are predisposed to be healthier than others. There is enough variety within to get a cat of any sort of description and still have a healthy pet. These are the healthiest cat breeds in terms of life expectancy:
The Burmese cat has the record for being the longest-lived cat! Although, there are a few mixed breed cats that claim to live longer. A lack of proof means a Burmese still holds that record at the age of 35. However, you can’t actually expect your Burmese to quite live to their 30s! Instead, most of these cats will average 18 to 20 years. This is really quite old compared to most pets! They’re also affectionate pets that love the company of people and plenty of attention. This is a great choice if you’re looking for a really long-term companion.
The defining feature of a Manx is their strange stubby tails. Most might assume that this kind of genetic difference would mean they’re predisposed to health problems, but it doesn’t seem to have done much harm to them! These cats usually live to at least 15 years old. There is a caveat to this breed though. They’re prominently bred by less trustworthy breeders. An improperly bred Manx can end up with muscle and skeletal problems because of their tails. This can lead to health problems, so ensure you’re dealing with someone reputable if you’re looking for a Manx cat.
These cats can sometimes look like a strangely marked mixed breed cat, but they are their own specific breed. These cute cats routinely live beyond 20 years, with some even reaching 25! Not every pet owner is going to be this lucky though, as the general lifespan is 15-25 years. These cats are well suited to being indoor cats with a friendly and relaxed temperament. They can be very affectionate towards their owners too.
A Persian cat is often the first thing that jumps to people’s minds when they think of a pure breed cat. These pets can live quite a long time too, regularly reaching 15-20 years. With the right exercise and diet, this can be a long and loving relationship. On the other hand, that’s an awfully long time to spend brushing a cat’s hair! These cats are a great choice for a long-living companion.
A Sphynx cat can be a bit odd-looking! Their lack of fur makes them strange creatures when pictured next to a long-haired cat. It is worth considering the health problems posed by having no fur though. Cats with no fur can suffer problems from the cold in winter and damage to their fragile skin from the sun in the summer. If properly cared for, a Sphynx cat can live quite a long time. However, you have to be prepared to work around their genetics to keep their skin in great condition.
Siamese cats can be a bit divisive! Some people find these pets slightly creepy or exotic compared with your average mixed breed. However, these pets routinely live to 16-20 years. This is pretty old for a cat. They are a sociable pet that enjoys the company of other pets and people. Contrary to what cartoons may have taught you, they don’t have to live in pairs. On top of this, they’re known for being effective communicators! They’re not afraid to speak their minds, which is nice for a pet you’ll be with for this long.
What Makes a Healthy Cat?
Along with mixed breed cats, those are the healthiest cat breeds that you can get. However, it is important to keep this in perspective. Your pet’s overall health matters a lot more than the life expectancy of their breed. Take good care of your cat from when they’re a kitten to when they’re old, and you can be sure that they will live a long and happy life, barring accidents. This is much more important than choosing a breed with great genetics, although it can be helpful to know the limitations of a breed. These life expectancies aren’t set in stone, but they can give you an idea of what you can expect if you take good care of your pets.