Which cat breeds live the longest?


By AGENCY

Living and health conditions play a decisive role in a cat's longevity. Photo: AFP

Cats are often said to have nine lives, but that doesn’t mean they’re immortal. Researchers at Britain’s Royal Veterinary College and the National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan have studied the life expectancy of these small felines. They found that some breeds stand the test of time better than others.

The academics analysed data from several British veterinary practices on 7,936 cats who died between 2019 and 2021. It emerged that cats have an average life expectancy of 11.7 years. Females tend to live longer than males, with a lifespan of 12.5 years versus 11.2 years.

Crossbred cats, i.e. those born to parents of different breeds, have a longer life expectancy than those with a purer pedigree. They reach an average of 11.9 years before death, compared with 10.4 years for pedigree cats.

In their paper, published in the Journal Of Feline Medicine And Surgery, Dr Kendy Teng and colleagues rank the breeds most likely to live longest.

The Burmese breed tops the list, with an average life expectancy of 14.4 years. The Siamese breed has a lifespan of around 11.7 years, compared to 10.93 years for Persian cats.

The Burmese breed tops the list of cats that live the longest, with an average life span of 14.4 years. Photo: 123rfThe Burmese breed tops the list of cats that live the longest, with an average life span of 14.4 years. Photo: 123rf

But the breed least likely to live to a ripe old age is the Sphynx. The life expectancy of this atypical-looking cat is no more than seven years.

That’s almost two years less than the Bengal, a slender, very muscular breed that lives an average of 8.5 years.

However, it’s important to bear in mind that these figures are only averages. Living and health conditions play a decisive role in a cat’s longevity.

On the other hand, the Sphynx has the shortest life expectancy of just seven years. Photo: 123rfOn the other hand, the Sphynx has the shortest life expectancy of just seven years. Photo: 123rf

Apartment cats, for example, tend to live much longer than strays. Similarly, cats with access to the outdoors have a shorter average lifespan. They are exposed to many potential dangers, such as road accidents, but also infections, poisoning and attacks from other animals.

Nevertheless, these estimates may be useful for people wishing to adopt or buy a cat.

“Knowing the expected lifespan of their cats, we’re not just raising awareness, we’re helping the owners to make ‘pawsitive’ decisions for their cats,” said study lead author, Teng, quoted in a news release.

But some cats defy the odds and live far longer than anyone could have imagined.

The longevity record for a cat is held by a tomcat named Creme Puff, according to Guinness World Records. This cat, originally from Texas, the United States, died in 2005 at the age of 38 – equivalent to a “human age” of 168 years! – AFP Relaxnews

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