The median longevity for a house cat is 14 years. But an in-depth study of cats shows two peaks in mortality: the first at one year of age and the second at 15 years. The reasons why may surprise you.
A UK study that used data from over 100,000 cats at 90 different practices in England showed that age one is a peak mortality year. The cause? Trauma due to injuries, including being struck by a car, which accounted for 47 percent of deaths due to trauma in this age group. In fact, trauma remains a leading cause of death for cats in general, according to the Royal Veterinary College.
“This suggests that cats pass through a period of relative high risk about one year [of age], but those who get through this time have a good chance of living well into their teens,” observes one blogger, SkeptVet.
Naturally, the best way to protect your cat from fatal injuries is to keep them indoors.
The study also found that crossbred cats had a “high medium longevity” compared to purebred cats. Cats who died at the advanced age of 15 and 16 were most likely to succumb to renal disorders, or kidney failure, according to the study authors. “For cats over 5 years of age,” notes SkeptVet, “kidney disease was the leading cause of death, accounting for 13.6% of the deaths evaluated.”
For more information, check out this Petfinder article, “Should You Let Your Cat Go Outdoors?