Cat breeds with longest and shortest life expectancy revealed

Cat breeds with longest and shortest life expectancy revealed

Burmese cats have the highest life expectancy among pet feline breeds while the Sphynx has the shortest, according to a new first-of-its-kind study of companion cat varieties in the UK.

Researchers created the first-ever “life tables” for the UK pet cat population, representing a major step towards understanding the lifespan of companion cats.

The new table, described recently in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, predicts the remaining life expectancy and probability of death across age groups in any cat population.

Understanding the remaining lifespan can help pet owners and rehoming centres predict how much longer a cat may live, scientists from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) say.

“The development of life tables for the UK companion cat population represents a significant milestone in understanding the life of cats,” study co-author Kendy Teng from Taiwan’s National Chung Hsing University said.

“Knowing the expected lifespan of their cats, we’re not just raising awareness, we’re helping the owners to make ‘pawsitive’ decisions for their cats,” Dr Teng said.

In the research, scientists assessed data on 7936 confirmed cat deaths under primary care at clinics.

The 7936 deaths included 819 purebred cats, 6998 crossbreds and 119 cats without recorded breed information.

Researchers found that the overall average life expectancy for UK companion cats was 11.7 years.

Burmese and Birman breeds had the greatest life expectancy from birth at 14.4 years, while Sphynx cats had the shortest at 6.8 years.

UK cat breeds and their life expectancy (Vishwam Sankaran)
UK cat breeds and their life expectancy (Vishwam Sankaran)

Bengal cats also had a short life expectancy of around 8.5 years.

Crossbreeds and Siamese had a life expectancy in the first year of over 11.5.

Scientists also found that purebred cats and felines with non-ideal bodyweight may have shortened life expectancy.

The study found that the odds for purebred cats dying before 3 years of age were “1.83 times higher” than crossbred cats.

“These new life tables finally enable owners of cats to do just this and to predict the future life expectancy for their cats based on novel scientific methods and the power of Big Data,” Dan O’Neill, another author of the study from RVC, said.