10 Cat Breeds With the Longest Lifespans

Cats

While it’s not uncommon for cats to reach 15 years old, some cat breeds stand out as long-lived companions. There’s no guarantee that your cat will live into its 20s, as nature and nurture both are determining factors. But picking a cat breed with a longer lifespan and taking great care of your cat improves your odds of having a loving feline for many years.

Tip

Since the cat’s diet is such an important factor for longevity, choosing a higher quality food from the beginning can set up your kitty for a longer lifespan. The cat food label should say “Complete and Balanced” on it. In the list of ingredients, make sure the protein source comes first on the ingredient list and is named, such as “chicken, turkey, lamb, or beef,” rather than “meat.”

Breed Characteristics

Quality nutrition, adequate exercise, and regular wellness checks will maximize a cat’s lifespan. There aren’t breed-specific characteristics about one breed or another that make them longer-living cats. Some breeds may have a higher prevalence for disease or health concerns, which could shorten a cat’s life. Quite the opposite, mixed breeds could have a greater chance of longevity for broadening the gene pool.

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However, all experts agree that the No. 1 commonality that all long-lived cats have is they are indoor cats. Cats allowed to roam outside are at higher risk of run-ins with cars, catfights, and disease. Domestic cats that are allowed outdoors have the shortest lifespan of only two to five years on average.

Siamese

10 Cat Breeds With the Longest Lifespans

Originally from Thailand, the striking Siamese is a beautiful cat breed that has fascinated people for centuries. It’s known for its lanky stature and distinct markings, along with its social and vocal nature. Some Siamese cats are prone to dental and respiratory conditions, but otherwise, the breed has no significant health concerns. Its average lifespan is 12 to 20 years.

Breed Overview

  • Height: 8 to 10 inches
  • Weight: 8 to 10 pounds
  • Physical Characteristics: Sleek body; almond-shaped eyes; wedge-shaped head

Burmese

10 Cat Breeds With the Longest Lifespans

The Burmese—originally a cross between a little brown cat from Burma and Siamese cats—is a playful, social, and adventurous feline. Although the breed is generally healthy, the Burmese does have a predisposition to cranial deformities, as well as glaucoma. Despite these health concerns, the Burmese’s average lifespan is 16 to 18 years.

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Breed Overview

  • Height: 10 to 12 inches
  • Weight: 6 to 10 pounds
  • Physical Characteristics: Round, golden eyes; compact, muscular body

Savannah Cat

10 Cat Breeds With the Longest Lifespans

The Savannah cat—part African serval and part domestic cat—is recommended only for experienced owners. Despite not being fully domesticated, Savannah cats can be friendly with people. But they tend to have unpredictable, active, and bold temperaments. The hybrid breed is generally healthy and has an estimated average lifespan of 12 to 20 years.

Breed Overview

  • Height: 12 to 14 inches
  • Weight: 20 to 30 pounds
  • Physical Characteristics: Tall, lean body; erect ears; golden coat with dark spots and bars

Egyptian Mau

10 Cat Breeds With the Longest Lifespans

Named for its presence in ancient Egyptian art, the Egyptian mau is a beautiful cat with a characteristically spotted coat. These cats are generally comfortable with people, making themselves an integral part of the family and expecting to be treated as such. While some are prone to heart disease, the breed’s average lifespan is 12 to 15 years.

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Breed Overview

  • Height: 8 to 10 inches
  • Weight: 7 to 9 pounds
  • Physical Characteristics: Long, muscular body; green eyes; large ears

Ragdoll

10 Cat Breeds With the Longest Lifespans

The easygoing, gentle ragdoll typically loves its humans and wants to follow them everywhere. It’s also notorious for going limp in relaxation when held, hence its “ragdoll” name. The breed is generally healthy, but some cats are prone to bladder stones and heart disease. Still, its average lifespan is around 15 years or more.

Breed Overview

  • Height: 9 to 11 inches
  • Weight: 8 to 20 pounds
  • Physical Characteristics: Blue eyes; semi-longhaired coat

Balinese

10 Cat Breeds With the Longest Lifespans

The Balinese likely originated as a spontaneous, longhaired mutation of the Siamese. The only significant difference between the two breeds is the coat length. Like the Siamese, the Balinese is friendly, energetic, and chatty. And it wants to be involved in the goings-on of the home. The breed’s average lifespan is around 12 to 20 years.

Breed Overview

  • Height: 6 to 7 inches
  • Weight: 8 to 12 pounds
  • Physical Characteristics: Wedge-shaped head; slender body; blue eyes
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Russian Blue

10 Cat Breeds With the Longest Lifespans

The Russian blue is a quiet and rather reserved cat that tends to be affectionate with its family but not clingy. You’ll often find this cat resting in a sunny spot or surveying its territory from the highest point it can find. The breed is prone to bladder stones and eye problems, but its average lifespan is 15 to 20 years.

Breed Overview

  • Height: 8 to 10 inches
  • Weight: 8 to 12 pounds
  • Physical Characteristics: Blue-gray coat; green eyes; wedge-shaped head

Bombay

10 Cat Breeds With the Longest Lifespans

The Bombay was bred to look like a miniature panther, and it doesn’t disappoint. These cats are generally easygoing and affectionate. They love to play, but they’re also pleased curling up in their favorite person’s lap. The breed is prone to respiratory problems due to its short muzzle and heart disease, and excess tearing. Its average lifespan is around 12 to 16 years.

Breed Overview

  • Height: 8 to 10 inches
  • Weight: 8 to 15 pounds
  • Physical Characteristics: Muscular body; rounded head; black, shiny coat
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American Shorthair

10 Cat Breeds With the Longest Lifespans

The American shorthair—the pedigreed version of the domestic shorthair—is popular for families with children because of its playful and easygoing temperament. These cats are usually good at entertaining themselves, and they don’t demand attention. But they also appreciate interactive play and socialization. Most are generally healthy but can be prone to heart disease. The breed has an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years.

Breed Overview

  • Height: 8 to 10 inches
  • Weight: 10 to 15 pounds
  • Physical Characteristics: Athletic build; short, dense coat

Sphynx

10 Cat Breeds With the Longest Lifespans

The Sphynx can be high-maintenance when it comes to care. Being hairless means these cats often need to wear something to keep warm in cool weather. And you need to bathe them usually to remove excess oil on their skin. The breed is prone to heart disease, neurological issues, and skin conditions. But it still has an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years.

Breed Overview

  • Height: 8 to 10 inches
  • Weight: 10 to 12 pounds
  • Physical Characteristics: Hairless; wrinkled head; lean build
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Breeds to Avoid

Some cat breeds fall slightly short of the average cat lifespan of 15 years. For instance, Manx cats only live around eight to 14 years on average, and Singapura cats live around nine to 15 years. Munchkin cats have an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years.

FAQ

  • How old was the oldest cat in the world?While there are many claims about this, the Guinness Book of World Records names the oldest cat as a 38-year-old Texas cat named Creme Puff.
  • Can a cat live 20 years?Yes! While most cats have a shorter lifespan—in the 15-year range—many cats do live to be 20.
  • What cat breed has the shortest lifespan?It’s kind of a toss-up among several breeds, but Sphinx cats seem to have shorter lifespans, ranging from 8 to 14 years.
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