So you just adopted an adorable newborn kitten — or maybe you rescued an older cat from the shelter. Regardless of how this critter ended up in your life, it’s only natural to find yourself wondering: “How long should I expect this new member of my family to be around?”
That is an important question. In addition to the strong emotional ties you’ll build with your new feline friend, taking care of your little furball is far from cheap. In fact, according to ASPCA pet insurance, cat owners should expect to spend roughly $634 annually, or $53 per month, on their pet.
How long do cats live?
According to PetMD, most cats live 10-15 years, but this isn’t set in stone. The length of your pet’s life depends on a number of factors, including healthcare, diet, and environment.
According to the Blue Cross, domestic cats can live up to 20 years if they are well taken care of.
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How to extend your cat's lifespan
Here are some key steps you can take as a pet owner to make sure you are maximizing your kitten’s lifespan
In the first six months of your cat’s life, the Blue Cross emphasizes that it is important to get your kitty neutered. In addition to eliminating some risk factors associated with reproductive diseases, this can also keep your cat from straying too far from home while trying to find a potential mate.
The Blue Cross also emphasizes it’s important to communicate frequently with your veterinarian about your pet’s vaccination and check-up schedule.
UC Davis’s School of Veterinary Medicine points to a significant correlation between cats’ lifespans and the environments in which they live. On average, indoor cats live about 10 years longer than outdoor cats, due to a number of risk factors associated with spending lots of time outdoors.
To ensure the prolonged health of your cats, limit their outdoor time, neuter them at the right age, and have regular check-ups with their veterinarians.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How long do cats live? And some tips to lengthen their lifespan