Second Chance: The Cat Span Issue

Second Chance: The Cat Span Issue

My name is Mango. I wanted to share reason #782 about why you should adopt a cat rather than a dog. (Like you really needed another reason… I mean come on just look at those drooling beasts!)


Another way that cats are superior to dogs is that we tend to live longer. So there you have it – adopt a cat for a longer and more meaningful relationship.

What is the average life span of a feline? Well, as with most things in life, there is not one simple answer. Several factors play significant roles. While genetic factors do influence the average lifespan of a cat, many other lifestyle variations are even more important — which is actually good news, as it means you can do a lot to help your kitty live a long and happy life.

In the wild, the average lifespan of a cat is anywhere from two to 16 years. A house cat has a longer average lifespan of 12 to 18 years, though it’s not uncommon for domestic kitties to live into their 20s. According to Guinness World Records, the oldest cat ever, his name was Creme Puff, lived to 38 years old.

Certain cat breeds seem to live longer than others but on the flip side, much like humans, some cats simply get unlucky in the genetic lottery and are more susceptible to diseases that shorten their lifespans, like diabetes, heart disease or cancer.

But what’s more important than breeds or genetics in determining the average lifespan of a cat? The care that cat receives, including nutrition, veterinary care and plain old TLC. One of the most significant factors in extending the average lifespan of a cat is whether he or she lives indoors or outdoors.

An outdoor cat’s average lifespan is significantly decreased. That can be due to trauma (hit by car, predators, etc.), nutrition (if the cat is expected to be a hunter) or lack of veterinary care (no vaccinations, etc.) leading to disease and dental problems.

Things like regular veterinary checkups to help catch and treat chronic diseases in advance, vaccinations, and of course good nutrition are vital to supporting a lengthy, happy and healthy cat lifespan. That means feeding your cat a diet that’s low in carbs, high in protein and minimally processed.

And like humans, getting enough physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight (obesity is a major factor in not fulfilling a cat’s potential lifespan) and good dental care also impact lifespan.

Another biggie – because it saves lives in many different ways – is whether your pet is altered. Pets who are neutered or spayed early on have a longer life expectancy than those who are sterilized later in life or not at all.

But the most rewarding and enjoyable way to help extend the average lifespan of a cat is simply via attention and cuddles. Like humans, cats thrive when they’re given plenty of affection and loving care. And don’t forget that having a pet in your life also extends your lifespan as well.

Which is a great segue, as I am looking for a person whose life I can enhance and extend (while my life is being enhanced and extended and the synergies goes on…) I am a quiet and gentle four-month kitten, who found myself all alone at a very young age. But now I am enjoying the pleasures of being a kitten with friends to play with, belly rubs to receive and humans to love. Now I just need a home of my own…


As does my friend Jango if you are the dog loving type. Jango is a five-year-old male Dobermann who is the gentlest giant. Sadly, he was recently surrendered to Second Chance due a change in housing. Jango also has had some damage to his spine, so he will need pain management along with a little extra love and attention. Despite his medical condition, Jango loves to go for long walks and absolutely loves human attention. Jango has a smile that will brighten your everyday.

Vetting the Vet: Dr. Michelle Dally, DVM, J.D. is Medical Director of Second Chance Humane Society. She also has a private practice, Dally Veterinary Medicine, 333 S. Elizabeth Street, Ridgway, Colorado. Her service area is  San Miguel Mesas, Placerville, Ridgway, Ouray, and Montrose. For more on Dr. Dally, go here.

Michelle & Wallowby

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