how long does a cat suppose to live whats the highest age?

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Question by Brittney S: how long does a cat suppose to live whats the highest age?
my cats 4 years old how long will she live

Best answer:

Answer by justLookin
It varies – I had one that lived 17 years.


According to this site, a 12-year-old cat is considered “geriatric.”

The last decade has shown advances in preventive medicine, improved veterinary care, balanced nutrition and responsible ownership. Therefore, our pets are, on the average, living longer, healthier lives.

Aging itself is not a disease but a normal biological process that results in decreased organ function and increased susceptibility to disease. The effects of aging tend to be irreversible and progressive. The health care programs for geriatric cats attempt to decrease the rate of progression of organ failure and, in doing so, improve the quality of life for the older cat. Diseases that are easily overcome in a younger cat can often be devastating to an older cat.

Most cats are considered geriatric by the age of 12 years. This is highly variable depending upon the lifestyle of the cat. For example, neutered/spayed indoor cats tend to live longer than sexually intact outdoor cats.

In the older cat, the metabolic rate slowly declines resulting in decreased energy needs. The ability to regulate body temperature also decreases, resulting in intolerance to heat and cold. The proportion of body fat to muscle mass increases. The skin loses elasticity and the hair coat becomes dull. Grooming and litter box habits become less fastidious and there is a decrease in mental alertness. There is a greater susceptibility to disease and the occurrence of cancer increases.

The likelihood of dental disease increases with age. The buildup of tartar is accompanied by gingivitis resulting in gum recession, root exposure, decay and tooth loss. Severe periodontal disease can result in bacteria showering the bloodstream. These bacteria tend to lodge in the kidneys and the heart, causing severe disease. Cats are very sensitive to oral pain, causing a decreased appetite. It is extremely important that regular dental care be given to older cats. Regular grooming will help maintain skin health and coat luster. It is imperative that annual booster vaccinations be maintained, as an older cat with a decreased immune system is more susceptible to infectious disease.

With age, the stomach and intestines begin to lose the ability to digest and absorb nutrients, especially calcium and fat-soluble vitamins. The liver function decreases, resulting in slower metabolism of toxins and drugs. Kidney function gradually declines in the older cat, decreasing the capacity to concentrate urine. This results in increased water loss and, combined with a decreased water intake, leads to dehydration. Decreased blood volume from dehydration can overly stress an already failing heart.

The management of the healthy geriatric cat depends as much on the owner as on the veterinarian. A diet with a reduced fat content will help prevent obesity that results from a decreased metabolic rate. The fat present in the diet, however, should be highly digestible and rich in essential fatty acids to compensate for reduced intestinal function. A diet lower in phosphorus and protein will lessen the failing kidneys’ need to actively excrete phosphorus and protein waste. An increase in fiber content will help decrease calorie consumption and aid in stimulating colon contractions.

Considering all the changes going on in the geriatric cat, just simply decreasing the amount of maintenance diet fed is often inadequate. Diets specifically designed for the older cat may increase the quality and length of life. However, a decrease in the ability to smell and taste may drastically reduce appetite. The goal is to find the highest quality senior diet that the cat will eat. It is best to feed a lesser amount per meal and increase the number of meals per day. Sudden changes in diet are very rarely tolerated, resulting in vomiting and diarrhea. Water intake should be encouraged.

When dealing with a sick older cat, the veterinarian and owner must realize that a disease in one organ system may lead to dysfunction in other systems. To diagnose adequately the primary disease and identify secondary problems, the veterinarian will get a complete history and perform a thorough physical examination as well as a urinalysis, complete blood count, and biochemical profile. Often x-rays will be taken of the chest and abdomen. Without this basic information, unrecognized problems will progress, leading to little or no response to treatment.

Certain diseases occur with higher incidence in older cats, such as chronic renal failure, hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus, liver disease, and chronic bronchial disease. If diagnosed early and proper treatment initiated, many quality years can be added to a cat’s life. Tumors are more common in the dog than in the cat. However, the frequency of malignant tumors is much higher in the cat, the incidence of tumors increasing with age. Any lump should be removed and sent to a pathologist for diagnosis.

With increased owner vigilance to diet and changes in behavior, as well as good veterinary care, our cats today can live well into their teens. Very often cats twenty years old and older are enjoying a good quality of life!

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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18 thoughts on “how long does a cat suppose to live whats the highest age?

  1. I met a woman at a cat show recently who had her beloved pet for 27 years. :) That’s amazing and a testament to how well she cared for it. She said it was in fairly good health until near the end. I had a cat that was 18 when she passed and my friend’s cat was 20 when she passed. So, if they are kept indoors, fed a good cat food and get lots of love and stimulation, I think they can live happy long lives.

  2. I’ve heard of cats living until 18 or older. I can tell you that if they are kept indoors, they will live much longer, safer, healthier and happier lives than if they are allowed outside. There are lots of different dangers out there they can get into……..busy streets with lots of cars, larger animals, poisons or bad “food” in people’s trash cans. Even parked cars pose a threat as they can climb up into the engine or sleep in the shade of the tires. Keep her safe and she’ll be with you a good long time.

  3. My aunt had a cat when I was little name Pinky Lee and when I saw my aunt as an adult I asked what ever happened to Pinky Lee and she said she still had him he was 22 and doing fine. That is old for a cat mine tend to die at 18-19.

  4. I had a cat for my whole 18 years, she died recently, I also have had one of her babies for the last16 years. Cats can live up to 15-20 years if they are a house cat and taken care of properly

  5. for every vet this varies here are some ideas

    You bought up a valid point and I asked around a bit today to see what some of the other vets in my practice thought. They were hard pressed to recall an indoor/outdoor healthy cat over 15 years old. However, I have seen and know it does happen. It may also depend on where you live where it may be a lot harder for an indoor/outdoor cat to thrive!

    It may also be that cat owners of indoor/outdoor cat are less likely to bring them to the veterinarian than indoor only cats.
    Cats are kept indoors for a number of reasons most relating to health and safety. The most common reasons include minimizing their exposure to outdoor dangers, traumas, toxins and deadly exposure to infections. Cats that are kept exclusively indoors live on average at least twice as long as outdoor cats.

    Although the indoor environment may be safer, the indoor environment may not interesting to a curious cat. It is important to create an environment that is enriched, stimulating, and helps supplement what cats normally would get outside.

  6. The record of the longest lived cat is 30+. I picked up an adult stray once and had it for 20 years. Her daughter lived 18 years and died from the yearly vacinations. Now I don’t believe it is common practice to vacinate an older cat.

  7. it varies, i think the average is about 17/18, my cat called Betsy died when she was 24, which was horrible because i had known her my whole life, sounds silly but she was basically like a family member

  8. I think on average, it’s like 15… I had a cat that lived 16 years, but another that lived a shocking 21 years (he was a completely indoors one.. and that’s about 100 in human years!!). Having kitty stay indoors full time can greatly increase her life span (less threats like dogs, poisons people put out for pest [like rats], cars, mean people, etc.).

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