How Long Do Tabby Cats Live? Find Out Here!

How do you feel about cats? Tabby cats are among popular breeds in the world. They’re also one of the oldest, with evidence that they were domesticated as early as 4400 BC to Europe from South West Asia! These furry felines have such enduring popularity.

But how long do tabby cats live? Several factors play a role in contributing to the lifespan of a tabby cat. It can be genetic factors and exercise. A healthy tabby cat that lives indoors can live between 12-20 years or longer than that. However, an outdoor cat can live a shorter time than that. Cat markings and color do not affect how long they can live, as many people believe. 

Pet palace suggests that the life of a cat has tripled over the last 20 years. Cats are now living up to their early twenties or late teens. Outdoor cats have a short life expectancy of about five years. While you may give them the best food to keep them healthy, their lifespan remains short. This is because they may get virus infections from other cats, especially when they fight.

What is a tabby cat anyway?

A tabby cat is any domestic cat that has patterns on its coat. Most of them have M-shaped markings on their forehead while their shoulders, tummy, and body either have lined, dotted, swirled, striped, or flecked patterns. Therefore tabby doesn’t mean a cat breed but the coat on various breeds of cats.

Tabby cats are always friendly, affectionate, and pleasant to be with. Above all, they are known to be very intelligent. The ginger tabbies or red tabbies are spunky and bossy. However, their traits are associated with their color rather than the pattern.

What are the common tabby coat patterns?

There are four common types of tabby coat patterns as discussed below

Mackerel tabby

This is a very popular tabby pattern whereby the cat has broken or continuous stripes running perpendicular to the spine the way it does on a fishbone.

Ticked tabby

The ticked tabby is also called agouti. It has very thin stripes on the tail, face, and legs. However, the body has no stripes.

The classic tabby

The classic tabby can also be called blotched tabby. This cat has wide and dark stripes over the shoulders and the flanks. The shoulder blades heading down to the base of its tail also have three large stripes. It’s almost like the pattern you see on the marble cake.

The spotted tabby

This is yet another tabby cat with visible round spots against a fur background with a lighter color.

What factors affect the lifespan of a tabby cat?

As discussed earlier; tabby cats can live up to 20 years. However, not all of them rhea there, and several factors determine this. Here are some factors that affect the longevity of the lifespan of a tabby cat.

Genetics and breed

There are breeds of tabby cats with a longer lifespan than others. For example, the British Shorthair, Burmese, Savannah, and Siamese. These are the best breeds because they suffer fewer health issues compared to others. For example, the Burmese breed can live 18-25 years. Other breeds like the Manx and Rex tabbies can only live between 8-14 years.

Whether the cat stays indoors or outdoors most of the time

Cats that spend most of their time indoors or inside your home can live longer than those that live outdoors. The cats that live inside homes can live up to 20 years because they are not exposed to health risks. 

Besides that, they can be endangered due to getting accidents from speeding cars, fighting with other cats, and even get killed by dogs. If your cat has to go out, ensure that it is under supervision.

Nutrition and proper care

Does your tabby cat receive balanced nutrition? This is a crucial factor that determines its lifespan. You should as well take care of it mentally, besides physical care. It’sIt’s therefore important to feed them with veterinarian-approved meals

Be careful also not to overfeed it with treats as it may get overweight and develop health complications. Always give your cats clean water to drink anytime you feed them.

Besides that, ensure that the cat gets all the vaccination it needs and frequent checkups with the vet, like dental checkups. Since you may be keeping your tabby indoors most of the time, ensure that it stays active physically. 

A cat perch or a cat tree will be effective in keeping it physically fit. Incorporate a lot of interactive playtime for your cat with interactive toys to keep them mentally active. Some cats can be curious about tasting toxic house items. Always ensure that you keep any harmful household items away from them.

How long can fixed tabby cats live?

According to research, 80% of domestic cats are sprayed. It’s important to get your cat fixed to avoid worrying about near-monthly heat cycles in the female cats and the litters of kittens. 

You can fix your cat as early as when they are eight weeks old. This lowers the risk of getting the following issues.

  • Prostate problems
  • Cancerous breast tumors
  • Uterine infections
  • Testicular cancer
  • Running away from home to meet their mates
  • Behavioral issues

Most cats reach their sexual maturity when they are 4-10 months old. For this reason, don’t delay fixing your tabby, or otherwise, it might get pregnant or get another cat pregnant and may not have significant health benefits.

How can you keep your tabby kittens healthy?

It would help if you watched over your tabbies from the time they are young to help them have a longer lifespan. Kittens tend to have a higher risk of getting infections and sicknesses. Therefore, they need to stay with their mothers until when they are 12-14 weeks old.

 At this stage, they will be more emotionally stable and friendly and adapt to their new environment. Planning to adopt a tabby kitten? Then make sure that you take it to the vet at least around six weeks old.

Introducing solid food

You can introduce solid food to your tabby kitten by giving it food in small quantities of food rich in protein at 4-5 weeks of age. Mash the food and dad milk/water on the food to make it smooth. 

You can later adjust the consistency until the cat gets used to eating solid food. Giving tabby kitten food is almost thethe same as what you do to small children when they are weaned off. It’s all about gradual transition until the cat gets used to eating adult food. Give your cat a balanced diet and refrain from giving it a dog or human food.

There are varieties of wet cat food that your tabby cat can enjoy. However, ensure that it is based on meat ingredients and is also free from grains. Don’t give your tabby excess food as it may end up being obese, and this might lead to conditions like diabetes.

Proper grooming

Besides diet and pets visits, proper grooming is also essential to help your cat stay healthy. Comb the fur of yoru cat regularly to avoid matted fur. Your tabby’s dental health is also crucial. Comb its teeth once a week. However, if she hates, consider doing a quick rub with a dump piece of cloth.

Physical activity

Your tabby should always be active physically and mentally. Give it toys so that it may stay engaged mentally. Let it enjoy regular playtime at least 15 minutes twice daily.

What is the average lifespan of a cat?

While cats can live up to 20 years or more, the average lifespan of a domestic cat is 14 years, according to veterinary records and research. Even though 14 years is their average lifespan, studies also show that the mortality rate in cats increases at 15 and 16 years of age. 

Generally, hybrid cats tend to have a longer lifespan than purebred cats. A study performed by the Royal Veterinary College in England revealed that purebred cats could live for 12.5 yeast while crossbred cats can live for about 14 years. Most young cats die due to trauma. However, older cats die due to kidney disease after age 5.

Is my cat sick or just old?

You might not know when your cat is sick because they can act okay when they are not. However, there are notable changes that you can spot from a sick cat. Such changes include difficulty jumping high, difficulty moving around, weight loss or weight gain, weakness, eating or drinking less, reduced or increased trips to the toilet, ungroomed than usual, and general body weakness.


If you have a tabby cat, you are so lucky because they have a long lifespan when you take good care of them. They can live to a maximum of 20 years or more. These are intelligent and affectionate pets. It’s your duty to take good care of them by having regular pet visits, giving them a proper diet, and keeping them physically and mentally active.