I have heard that the average life expectancy of a domestic cat in the United states is 6.1 years. I've also heard that there have been cats that have lived for over thirty years. Is there a way to put an educated guess on how much longer my 13 year old cat will live?

She is a small (7 1/2 lb.) domestic shorthair. She showed up at our door as a kitten of less than 6 months. She had 5 litters of kittens, and then was spayed at three years of age. She has never been allowed indoors, but has free access to our large barn. She has never had any health issues, and her eyes and teeth are in very good condition. She eats whatever cat food is on sale, plus meat scraps from the kitchen and a variety of rodents. She is a very easygoing patient cat and very good with small children. She is not (has never been) extremely active, but likes to hunt, follow people around the yard, and play with toys and string.

If nothing out of the ordinary happens, I feel like she should be with us a good many years yet. Is there a way to make this more than just a feeling?

3 Answers 3


The statistic you cite affects outdoor and feral cats. If you'd like to maximize your cat's life, bring it—and keep it—indoors.

"Indoor cats now live an average of 15 years, and it is not uncommon to see cats 18 to 20 years of age. The domestic cat in the wild (sometimes called a feral cat) has a short life expectancy-about 6 years." http://pets.webmd.com/cats/understanding-your-old-aging-cat

"Do your cats live outside? Or come in and out of the house? If your cat does spend a lot of time exploring the great outdoors, there are some concerns and dangers you should be aware of. A sad statistic is that the average lifespan of an outdoor cat is half as long as an indoor cat's. In fact, according to PetPlace.com, it may be more like one-third: 5 years." http://pets.webmd.com/cats/features/how-to-care-for-an-outdoor-cat

That said, these are just statistics. I once had an indoor–outdoor cat live over 25 years; she would've hated being kept inside. My current cat is too afraid to ever go outside at all unless I take him out on a harness!

Do seriously consider allowing the cat into your home, assuming she's game. The more time she spends inside, the longer she'll likely live.


I'm honestly not sure how much longer she has. It depends on her health, how long her parents lived (probably impossible to tell, at this point, unless you could somehow find out who her parents were...) A veterinarian -=might=- be able to make a better guess, based on her heart and overall health.

How to make her life last longer...um. I would just stick with "take her to a vet every few years if she'll tolerate it, take their recommendations" - and I'd go with a vet who understands cats that live outdoors and can address those concerns, instead of a vet that deals with suburban dwellers like me who keep their cats indoors for fear of them being hit by cars (ie - very very controlled environment). Not only may they be able to alert you to any other potential out-of-door dangers, they won't keep suggesting that you make her an indoor kitty - which, at this point in her life, would probably just aggravate the heck out of her. I would be very surprised if she lived past 18, though, just because that's the point when her bones and muscles and other organs are...well, that's the human equivalent of your 80s. 18 years is a not-indecent lifespan for a cat, and a fairly good one for an outdoor-only cat.

I hope she does live at least a handful of years more! She sounds like she's doing well, it's hard to tell in detail but it sounds like she's happy.


I believe the current worlds record is something like 36-37 years old.

I HAD a 22 year old, who died on me last summer when I was away on a trip. I currently have three cats ages 16, ?? (I hope 16 because if anything she is older), and 18.

If the record is 36-37 years or so, one might think a cat could make it to 40, but I wouldn't bet on any specific cat for that feat.

The factors that reduce a cats lifespan:

  • being hit by a car
  • getting a serious disease or injury outside
  • hypothyroid
  • kidney problems
  • cancer
  • problems from food...

A cat that "seems" healthy can always develop some serious condition, it is very hard to say "how much longer will my cat live". Enjoy your time with your cat while you have it.

  • My cat is now almost 17! She's very road smart although she does cross often
    – J. Musser
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 16:43

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