The life expenctancy of a house cat

What is the average lifespan of a housecat? I almost don’t want to know. I apologize for rambling in this, but I have to say it.

We have 4 cats, 'Stache being the oldest. We got her in 1995 and she at leat 6 months old then, so she has got to around 15 by now. And it shows. She sleeps most of the time. She wants little to do with the other cats, even Banshee who is only about a year or so younger. She’s visibly lost some weight.

When we moved back to the US last year, the vet told us that 'Stache was in good health but her age meant she might need more care in the future. My wife doesn’t want to accept it. For the last few months I’ve told her 'Stache needs to see a vet just for general purposes. She has lied to me about it. Yes, lied. I had to go away for a week in October and she told me 'Stache had a vet appointment during the time I was gone. When I got back and asked and how it went she made some off hand excuse about having to cancel it. I know my wife. She never made the appointment and only told me she did to get me to ease off.

I know she’s scared that the vet might have bad news. But other than old age, 'Stache is healthy as far as we can tell. She may need some extra care, or maybe some medicine to make her comfortable in her final years. I told myself that if the wife doesn’t take her to a vet by new years I will. Looks like I’ll be taking her. My wife doesn’t take loss easily, or at least not as easily as I do. I’ve lost a lot of pets and she hasn’t. I’ve lost my entire immediate family and she hasn’t. So I tend to not take the hit as hard. But she’s got to realize that 'Stache is not the kitten she was in '95. Heck, Banshee is only a year or so younger and she’s been in the animal hospital twice in the last ten years. (Banshee has documented health problems, but she’s ok). Jet Jaguar and Patches are realitively young.

The thing is, even if the vet says 'Stache is perfectly healthy she can’t have more than maybe, what 3 years left? And if they’re going to be painful years (I.E, she becomes sick) I’d rather put her down than have her suffer. While my wife is “closer” to the cats than I am (except for Banshee…Banshee believes I’m her mother) 'Stache means a lot to me too. She was the first cat I’ve ever had. We’ve been to Europe 3 times together in the last fifteen years. She’s cuddled with me when I was sad, made me laugh when I was angry and shown me kindness in a cat way when I thought I didn’t have a friend. I just don’t want her last years to be miserable.

I’ve had/known housecats that lived to 20ish.

The problem with cats is that they can often hide their health problems until they’re simply unable to keep up the charade any longer. I can understand not wanting to hear bad news, but surely your wife wouldn’t want a cat in pain from something fixable who was concealing that there was anything wrong.

Indoor cats can live to be 20+ years. I want to say with minimal pain but I’m not sure about that. Older cats are at a higher risk of [del]nephritis[/del] [del]nephron[/del] kidney diseases and she may require specialized diet food. Take her to the vet at least once a year and follow their instructions. If they say she’s pain-free, then I’d think you’re good to go.

Our longest lived outdoor cat was around 19 years old. I think that is relatively typical.

The slowing down and losing weight are troubling. My cat is 15+ and the only time he loses weight is when he gets worms from eating little critters. He’s still quite the hunter.

Well 15 to 20 years is the normal range, but it depends on breeds and such.

My neighbors have an older dog (like 12) and a young dog (he’s about 1.5 years) and the older guy will play with the young dog for like 10 mintues then if the young pup tries to continue to play, the old guy will snarl at him as if to say “OK enough is enough!” Then he goes and sits by the gate and watches the world go by. The old dog would do this 12 or more hours if you let him. He’s content to watch the world go by.

I understand where your wife is coming from - I’m sort of the same way. I convince myself bad news doesn’t exist if I don’t have to hear it. :slight_smile: And like your wife, I have never had to deal with death, whether of a family member or a pet (or at least, not a pet I was very attached to) so I’m absolutely dreading the day I have to say bye to my cat. And she’s only 3!

Sad thing is that your wife’s denial could result in kitty not living as long. Modern veterinary has progressed so much, that along with much improved diet, many cats live much longer than they used to.

My Manfred has come back from death’s door thanks to some not-at-all intrusive or elaborate vet care. He is pushing 16 and is still with us. Get the cat to the vet.

My husband’s cat is about 14, and she sounds a lot like 'Stache - she’s skinny (although the vet says she’s the perfect weight for a cat - most cats are a little pudgy). We’ve added wet food to her diet now on the vet’s recommendation, and she does sleep most of the day now - she has arthritis, we’re pretty sure, which is slowing her down and making her cranky, but other than that, she seems healthy and happy. I think taking 'Stache to the vet for a check-up is a good idea, if nothing else than to re-assure yourselves that she’s as healthy as can be expected, but if she was healthy when you took her in last year and she hasn’t had any changes except losing some weight, I wouldn’t be too worried, especially when you’re a multiple-cat household. Does 'Stache get any wet food? Since we started adding wet food, I feel better about Jim’s cat getting more of the wet food she loves, because my cat always gets more of the dry (little piggy).

My last one lived to be 20, and didn’t really slow down until his last year. He was strictly indoors (except for the time he snuck out, and I didn’t find him for 18 days).

All four of them probably eat better than I do. They get wet and dry food twice a day. I don’t think 'Stache is sick. but I’d rather be sure. Like I tell my wife, she can’t talk so she can’t say “I don’t feel that good”. Plus 'Stache is kind of proud. I don’t think she’d show discomfort unless she had to. We call her the “Queen”.

It’s shorter at lissener’s place.

When one of our cats was around fifteen she started getting listless; she was eating but seemed to be losing weight. When she ignored the leftover tuna salad I put down for her, which was always one of her favorite snacks, we decided to take her to the vet. It turned out that she had a thyroid problem, and the vet prescribed medication for it instead of surgery because of her age. Later, she did end up getting the surgery, and lived several years after that. So I’d say take 'Stache to the vet and get her checked out. It may just be age, but better safe than sorry.

Don’t be a jerk, don’t ask. This gratuitous slam at another poster is completely inappropriate in this thread.

Knock it off.

twickster, MPSIMS mod

I can understand where you both are coming from. My wife and I are much like you and yours; I’ve dealt with death and loss, and while my wife has, it hasn’t been quite as much. Plus, she becomes much more attached to people and pets than I do. Not that it doesn’t hit me, but I can deal with it. Her, not so well. We had four cats until about two and a half years ago when our oldest (coincidentally named Patches) was diagnosed with kidney disease and passed away. My wife took it pretty hard, as Patches was hers, and had her before she met me. But she must have been at least 13 at the time, and prior to succumbing to the effects of the disease was quite playful, and that let my wife forget that there could be a problem with her.

However, I have known cats who lived past 15; one of our friends had a cat who was 18, though she had trouble with her eyesight and didn’t get around so easily anymore, but was still healthy. Matter of fact, here’s a post from yesterday from someone who has a healthy 18-year-old.

If she’s sick but can be brought back to full health then I would say your cat could have a few more years left yet, but I’d get her checked out by a vet. It’s better to know and deal with it than not know and have 'Stache suddenly fall visibly ill and worry you and particularly your wife. I suspect she’d feel much better knowing 'Stache was ill but something was being done about it than suddenly finding out when it’s too late and knowing nothing can be done.

My apologies but it isn’t intended as a “slam” it is a comment I would make if lissener and I were involved in the conversation that constitutes this thread. I would expect lissener to laugh. If he didn’t and told me he thought I was a dickhead so be it.

You may notice I never bought into the whole “lissener spawn of satan” vibe of the other thread(s), I could see where he was coming from with the initial OP.

Not sure what constitutes typical, but a lot of outdoor cats don’t live as long as those kept indoors. Even if they’ve had shots, they can pick up various infections and diseases. That’s been my experience, anyway.

My late cat Elvis lived to 19, and was a free-range kitty for all but the first two of those years (when I was living in an apartment, prior to moving to a house).

In my experience outdoor cats don’t live as long on average - because some of 'em get killed, mostly by cars.

However, if they survive traumatic death, they can live just as long as indoor cats - or longer.

The reason is that, unless one is assiduous about exercising one’s cat, some indoor cats have a tendancy to get indolent and obese; just as with people, this can significantly shorten their lives. I’ve seen several indoor cats develop weight and health problems this way.

The benefit of being outdoor is exercise, which offsets the threat of infections. Of course an indoor cat can be just as exercised as an outdoor, if the owner works at it.

My cat (my wife’s cat, originally, but she’s mine now too) will turn 21 in a couple of months. She was an outdoor cat - born in the streets, in fact - until 6 years ago, when we moved to the city.

Health-wise, she’s skinny, she can’t jump much higher than the sofa, her sight and hearing are almost gone, she throws up more than she should, and, as our son says, “she isn’t very fun.” Still, she looks good - her fur looks great - and she doesn’t seem to be suffering from anything too severe.

Four years ago we decided that any future trips to the vet would be strictly one-way; whatever happens, happens. We try to keep her happy until the Big Cat in the Sky calls her home