Scientists Reveal Which Cat Breeds Live the Longest

You may think that all cats have nine lives, but it turns out some breeds live longer than others, scientists have found.

A prospective owner’s decision on which cat breed to pick can depend on a variety of factors, from its appearance to its temperament. But before now it was difficult to choose the pet based on life expectancy. This is because no specific research had been done in this area, even though previous data suggested that life expectancy varied from breed to breed.

A team of pathobiologists from the U.K.’s Royal Veterinary College and Taiwan’s National Chung Hsing University decided to rectify this. They assessed nearly 8,000 domestic cat breeds in the U.K. as part of the study and published their findings in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.

A study found that Burmese cats, like the one at left, live the longest of all breeds, while the sphynx, right, has the shortest life span.

nickpo / Nelly Senko/Getty

They discovered that the Burmese cat lived the longest, with an average life expectancy of 14.42 years. The sphynx had the shortest life span, only 6.68 years. They reached these findings by looking at cat death certificate data from 2019 to 2021. From this, they acquired specific details about how all the cats died.

Researchers put the cat breeds in a chart to categorize them clearly. They then listed the breeds in order, from longest life span to shortest.

It is thought that sphynx cats have such a short life because they are purebred, the study reported. Researchers found that breeding overall played a key role in life expectancy across all cat breeds.

For example, sphynx cats, while popular, sometimes experience birth defects due to the genetic mutation that makes them hairless. For this reason, they have an increased risk of disease and illness.

“The present study shows that purebred cats lived over 1.5 years less than crossbred cats and suggests that some breeds, such as Sphynx and Bengal, had a particularly short life expectancy,” the authors wrote in the study. “Further epidemiological studies on the mortality and morbidity of various cat breeds are warranted. “

Burmese cats are crossbred, as are Birman cats, which had the second longest life span, 14.39 years, the study reported.

Regardless of breed, cats lived on average for 11.74 years, the study reported. It also found that males typically had a shorter life expectancy than females.

The cats’ individual life expectancy also seemed to depend on their lifestyle and health. Overweight cats, for example, did not live as long as cats that were a healthy weight.

More research will need to be done into the exact factors that determine a cat’s life expectancy, but this study is an important step.

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