Opening your home to a cat is a long-term commitment, usually meaning years of enjoying your favorite feline's companionship. Cat lovers know that time can pass quickly and that it's always too soon to say goodbye to their friends. If you're looking for an especially long-lived cat breed, consider the Siamese, Russian blue, Bombay or American shorthair.
Siamese, If You Please
Long and lean, the Siamese cat is an easily recognized cat who has been winning Best in Show awards for more than 100 years. She's available in two body types: the show, which is a tubular body with long legs, a long tail and a wedge-shaped head sporting large ears, and the traditional, which takes a more rounded appearance in body and head. The Siamese coat comes in different colored points, which is color on the face, legs, ears and tails. Common Siamese color points include seal, chocolate, lilac and blue; silver, smoke, cream, red and tabby are also point colors.
The Siamese is a curious cat, happy to explore and tell you exactly what's on her mind. With some time and training, she's often game to learn walking on a leash or tricks, such as playing fetch. A 15-year life expectancy is normal for a healthy Siamese, though bladder stones, eye and heart problems and cancer is sometimes present in the breed. Show type Siamese may be more vulnerable to dental and respiratory issues than traditional types of Siamese.
The Cat Fancier's Association states that the Balinese is a spontaneous mutation of a Siamese cat. The Balinese shares many of the same physical traits of the Siamese, including body type and color, but she parts ways in coat length, wearing a long, silky coat that sheds minimally. This is an affectionate, intelligent cat who gets along with other animals and children. The home who welcomes this cat should be prepared for an energetic climber and take care to store valuables well out of reach. The Balinese is a generally healthy breed with a life expectancy reaching 18 to 22 years.
The American shorthair is a solid choice for a long-lived family cat. As her name implies, this girl has a short coat in a wide variety of colors and patterns, including white, blue, red, brown, black and silver colors in tabby, calico and solid patterns. Her history goes back to the 1600s when her ancestor, the British shorthair, kept homes and farms rodent-free. She evolved to be a working cat, able to withstand frigid winters and hot summers and today is a robust, healthy cat who enjoys a life span ranging between 15 and 20 years. You may be more interested in her personality than her hunting prowess. If you like an easygoing, loyal cat who doesn't talk back, the American shorthair won't disappoint.
Other Long-Lived Cats
The Bombay cat is a beautiful cat who will put you in mind of a panther with her sleek black coat and shining gold eyes. The Russian blue shows off a shimmering gray coat and bright green eyes that may bring her unwanted attention from strangers, who she's generally a bit reserved with. Both cats often enjoy a 15 to 20 year life span.
Living for Longevity
There's no guarantee that a cat breed with a long life expectancy will reach her maximum life potential, nor is it a given that a cat with a shorter life expectancy won't exceed what's anticipated. The The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals states that the life expectancy for an indoor cat is between 13 and 17 years. You can help your cat reach -- or exceed -- her potential by taking good care of her. That means feeding her a nutritionally complete diet and ensuring that she sees her veterinarian regularly. Regular vet visits will help keep her parasite-free and allow the vet to monitor her health for potential problems, such as dental issues, and common conditions cats are prone to developing as they age, such as hypothyroidism and kidney disease.
Keeping your cat indoors greatly increases her chance of living out her natural life expectancy. Outdoor cats are vulnerable to disease, predators and injury, leading to a vastly decreased life span of approximately two to five years.