Indoor Outdoor cats live longer than you say

Our question this week was:

Hi there. Lovely site but for one thing. Perhaps it’s different from country to country but you seem confused about something (I’m from the UK). You get FOUR kinds of cats, indoor, indoor/outdoor and outdoor, then feral/unowned. Indoor/outdoor cats have a far longer lifespan than you have stated, as millions of us know, since we have taught our animals about cars and dogs and people.

ALL my indoor/outdoor cats have lived beyond 15 years and I am no exception. Your estimation is out. My cats are all in perfect health and don’t go wandering in other people’s gardens – I know since I am at home the whole time. You need to re-look at this, since your pages are not reflecting correct life spans. People tend to give that as lifespan and ignore reality so as to encourage indoor cat life, but please don’t skew reality to try and encourage that. If you got the numbers from a vet, the same applies, even more so since we generally have the cats have ALL their shots, whereas indoor people think it’s not necessary. That’s generally the lifespan for an outdoor-cared or a feral/unowned cat – don’t generalize them please, since there is a really big difference. Like ten years or more. Apart from that, lovely site. Keep it up, but do keep an open mind when your info isn’t quite right.

Thanks, Lisa


Hi – thanks for your email. I appreciate your thoughts. I agree that many well cared for indoor/outdoor cats can have a long lifespan. This is the exception however in my experience.

You bought up a valid point and I asked around a bit today to see what some of the other vets in my practice thought. They were hard pressed to recall an indoor/outdoor healthy cat over 15 years old. However, I have seen and know it does happen. It may also depend on where you live (I’m in Miami) where it may be a lot harder for an indoor/outdoor cat to thrive!

It may also be that cat owners of indoor/outdoor cat are less likely to bring them to the veterinarian than indoor only cats.

I’m going to look into this more. I agree that the information on our site is pro-indoor only cats or very responsible ownership of indoor/outdoor cats. The outdoor cat traumas that I see break my heart as they are so awful that I have become a proponent of keeping cats in. But also for those that do, I think environmental enhancement is VERY important to keep cats interested and happy.

I think for highly responsible cat owners, in the right environment, they can offer an indoor/outdoor cat a great life. It sounds like you do a great job with your cats.


Dr. Debra

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