Life expectancy study reveals longest and shortest-lived cats

life expectancy of cats
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Pathobiologists in the UK, working with a colleague from Taiwan, have created a life expectancy chart for approximately 8000 domestic cat breeds.

In their paper published in Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, the team at The Royal Veterinary College with their colleague at National Chung Hsing University, outlines their findings and offer some insight into why some cats live longer or shorter lives than others.

Prior research and anecdotal evidence suggest that some cat breeds have longer or shorter lifespans than average. The research team sought to more specifically categorise life expectancy in domestic cats by creating a chart showing the average lifespan of thousands of house cats.

The work by the team involved pulling death certificate data from the VetCompass program, for the years 2019 to 2021. In so doing, they were able to learn the details of 7936 cat deaths in the UK, which they then used to create a chart listing cat breeds in order of life expectancy from longest-lived to shortest.

In looking at their data, they found that life expectancy for the cats overall was 11.74 years and that males lived on average 16 months less than females. They also found that the Burmese breed was the longest-lived, with a life expectancy of 14.42 years, and that the Sphynx, was the shortest, with a life expectancy of just 6.68 years.

They also found that, like humans, lifestyle had an impact on longevity—overweight cats, for example, tended to not live as long. They also found that the types of breeding that have been done to generate new or different types of breeds have had an impact on life expectancy as well.

Such breeding, they note has been linked to common birth defects in cats, such as heart defects, eye disease and weaker than normal muscles. The Sphynx breed, they note, is a prime example of breeding that has led to a popular but unhealthy pet.

The hairless cats (bred to allow people with fur allergies to have a cat) have an increased risk of several different types of diseases, many of which can lead to an early death.

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