How Long Do Outdoor Cats Live?



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Cats are indeed one of the most wonderful animals on earth. They’re loyal and intelligent and can be trained to do tricks! Caring for them is fulfilling, whether they’re outdoor or indoor cats.

Outdoor cats tend to live shorter lives than indoor cats in the US. The average lifespan of an outdoor cat is 2 to 5 years, but it can sometimes be longer in the US. However, in the UK, where there are fewer natural predators and less traffic, outdoor cats can have longer lifespans than outdoor cats in the US.

How Long Do Outdoor Cats Live. Fluffy grey cat with a white chest walking on grass with a dark background.

How Long Do Cats Live Indoors?

The average life expectancy of an indoor cat is between 10 and 15 years, with many living well into their teens or even twenties. The oldest recorded cat lived to be 38 years old. Life expectancy will depend on many factors, including genetics, diet, exercise, and mental stimulation.

Why Do Indoor Cats Live Longer Than Outdoor Cats?

Whether indoor cats live longer than outdoor cats is tough to answer – many factors can influence a cat’s lifespan, including genetics, diet, exercise, and environment. In the US, an outdoor cat will encounter more predators than an outdoor cat in the UK, so location also plays a part in a cat’s longevity.

In the US, studies have found that outdoor cats have much shorter lives; however, in the UK, have no conclusive evidence that outdoor cats live shorter lives than indoor cats, which would suggest that location plays a crucial role in a cat’s longevity.

Indeed, my first cat was an outdoor cat and lived into his 20s, and my current cat, who is also an outdoor cat, is 12 years old (2023). We live in the UK, and our cat has few natural predators to put him at risk. Mr. Pickles is very healthy and enjoys both inside and outside time.

Most outdoor cats spend their days hunting and exploring. As a result, they tend to be more active than indoor cats and have more mental stimulation.

Feral cats face more dangers than their domesticated counterparts. They have higher disease rates because they don’t receive vaccines or medical attention under normal circumstances, are exposed to more parasites and diseases, and can get hit by cars, poisoned, or injured by other animals or humans.

Indoor cats may live longer because they are not exposed to natural predators or the risk of being hit by vehicles. However, an indoor cat must be provided adequate stimulation and exercise to stay healthy.

What Do Outdoor Cats Do All Day?

Cats are curious and independent creatures who can spend their days engaged in various activities. From exploring the outskirts of their home to hunting small prey, outdoor cats can lead exciting and fulfilling lives.

They may climb trees and fences, bask in the sun, observe their surroundings, and interact with other cats, birds, and animals. Something that indoor cats may miss out on unless they have something similar provided for them indoors.

Exploring the Outskirts

Outdoor cats enjoy exploring the outskirts and investigating different smells and sights.

They learn about their immediate environment by smelling and interacting with other cats, plants, insects, and animals in the area. Doing so exposes them to new experiences and stimulates their senses.

Exploring the outskirts also allows them to practice their observation and problem-solving skills to find their way around unfamiliar areas. Through exploration, cats can also locate food and water sources and find safe places to rest and hide.

Hiding Spots

Outdoor cats are possessive about their hiding places, and you’ll often encounter them sleeping in weird positions if they populate your neighborhood.

They often have special hiding spots or places to sleep, which they return to multiple times a day. These spots offer them a safe and secure environment while also allowing them to explore their surroundings and engage in activities that help keep them agile, sharp, and alert.

Such activities can also help them release excess energy and give them a sense of satisfaction, which benefits their physical and mental well-being.

Sun Bathing

Outdoor cats may also take advantage of the warmer weather and spend time grooming and playing. In addition, they may spend time sunbathing, which provides them with a source of Vitamin D and helps keep their fur clean and healthy.

Practice Their Predatory Skills

Outdoor cats can take advantage of the outdoors by engaging in activities like chasing and pouncing on prey or playing with various toys. They can use the environment to hone their predatory skills by chasing and pouncing on small animals such as mice, birds, and lizards.

They can exercise and stay active, which helps them stay healthy and fit. Moreover, outdoor cats benefit from stimulating their environment and enjoying the sights and sounds of nature.


They may also take advantage of the great outdoors to socialize with other nearby cats and animals. This interaction can provide companionship and help them feel safe and secure in their environment.

Socializing with other cats and animals also allows them to build relationships and form bonds with other creatures, which can help enrich their lives and improve their overall well-being.

Adopting a Feral Outdoor Cat

Some feral outdoor cats are naturally fond of humans, while others are cautious around you. So if a stray cat keeps turning up on your doorstep, consider leaving your door open to see if it comes inside.

Transitioning from feral outdoor to indoor life isn’t always hard. First, equip your home with the necessary items: cat food, a litter box, and toys. Next, schedule a vet checkup for your new pet vaccinations, flea and worm treatments, and sterilization.

You don’t necessarily need to adopt one. Instead, you can make your patio the cat’s comfortable space. Provide a cozy shelter, food and water bowls, and a litter box in your backyard so that it can feel safe and secure. Be aware that some predators may be attracted to the scent of the cat’s litter tray.

Final Thoughts on How Long Outdoor Cats Live

Both indoor and outdoor cats can live long and healthy lives. Indoor cats can live longer without exposure to natural predators and traffic. Outdoor cats, however, have the opportunity to explore and socialize, which can enrich their lives and provide them with outdoor stimulation and keep them active and healthy.

Whether you have an outdoor cat, provide a comfortable space in your backyard, or keep your cat indoors, you can rest assured knowing that you’re providing it with a loving and comfortable home.

Before you go, you may find these articles helpful:

Ways To Lengthen Your Cats Lifespan

When Do Cats Stop Growing? From Kitten To Adult Feline

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