Sasha, 32 year old cat! Photo: thebestcatpage.com
How long does the average cat live? For cat lovers, the answer is always: not long enough!
But vets tell us the typical housecat - if well-fed, exercised, and given medical attention - should bring us joy (and captured mice) for about 12-15 years.
Some cats, though, far exceed the average expected lifespan. They are the superaged. The centenarians of the cat world!
Let's look at a few of the world's oldest living cats and see if your cat might be in line to join them.
Some of the world's oldest living cats.
The Guinness Book of World Records tells us that the oldest cat ever was a Texan named Creme Puff who survived for 38 years and 3 days, succumbing to old age in 2005. Her human parent, Jake Perry, also cared for the previous world record holder, Grandpa Rex Allen, who died at the age of 34.
The longest-lived cats among us today still have a shot at beating that record. Some of today's most venerable felines include:
Rubble - Living with his human family in Exeter, Devon, UK, Rubble just celebrated his 30th birthday. According to his human mom Michele Foster, “He’s a lovely cat, although he has got a little grumpy in his old age." Michele got Rubble when he was a baby and she was 20. Though today Rubble takes medication for his high blood pressure, his vet says he's in tremendous physical condition especially for being the equivalent of 137 years old in human years.
Sasha - This 32-year-old moggie makes her home in Northern Ireland. Nowadays, Sasha enjoys a modicum of fame for her longevity, but Sasha's life wasn't always easy. In 1991, Beth O'Neill heard a kitty crying in a nearby stable. The cat had an old injury as well as a being weak, feeble, and trying to hide from the stables' dog. Beth took Sasha home, and the rest is history - a long and loving history.
Boo - Living with his family in New Zealand, this 24-year-old Maine Coon still enjoys tracking down a rat and sleeping outside. In fact, he prefers life out of doors. Boo showed up when the Clarke family began building a house on the property he had claimed. Before long, he'd also claimed a place in their hearts and a spot at the foot of one of their kids' beds.
Signs your cat will live a long life.
Vets consider 21 years to be the feline equivalent of a human living to age 100. What are the signs your cat has what it takes to be a centenarian?
Playfulness - Long-lived cats enjoy jumping, playing, and darting after laser dots far into their golden years. Make sure your cat is adequately stimulated with toys, gadgets, and games.
Weight - Cats who see their 20th birthdays typically maintain their ideal weight. Exercise and a sensible feline diet can keep your cat from packing on the pounds after her metabolism slows down at middle age.
Appearance - Thick fur, clear eyes, and normal-looking nails all signal good health. If you notice changes in your cat's appearance, consider making a trip to the vet to rule out any medical concerns.
Sensitivity - Cats who age well tend to retain their sight, hearing, taste, and smell. While a blind or deaf cat can live a happy life well into their twenties, make sure to modify your home and lifestyle so cats with disabilities can access food dishes, toys, and litterboxes.
How you can help your cat live a long and happy life.
As they do in humans, genetics play a role in feline longevity. It may be just 20%-30% of what determines how long your cat lives though. Exercise, diet, socialization, and environment could all play a much larger role.
Breed - The Domestic Shorthair, the Siamese, and the Russian Blue often top the list of longest-lived cat breeds.
Exercise - Help your cat stay active with chasable toys and regular playtime. Exercise remains important even though a senior cat enjoys more sleep than he used to.
Diet - Creme Puff, the world's oldest-ever kitty, regularly dined on bacon and eggs, asparagus, broccoli, and coffee with heavy cream. This diet may not be prescriptive for a long life, however! Check with your vet or feline nutritionist about the best menu for your cat.
Environment - An enriched environment with climbing spaces, places to hide, a scratching post, and toys to hunt can keep your kitty engaged in life - and more likely to stick around for a few more years of it.
Socialization - People whose cats live to be unusually old often report a very close relationship between themselves and their cats or between their cat and another household pet.
Cats are living longer and enjoying their golden years more today than ever before. With healthy diets, plenty to do, and a lot of love, there's no reason your cat can't expect to relish a long and happy life with you, too.
Do you have a senior cat? Send us a picture on social media! We love seeing our older friends enjoying their Modkats.