How long does a cat live? How can I make mine live longer?

The lifespan of a cat can vary greatly depending on many factors, such as breed, genetics, diet, environment, and medical care. Domestic cats on average live between 13-17 years, with many cats living into their early 20s and some even reaching 30 years old. Indoor cats generally live longer than outdoor cats due to reduced exposure to hazards such as traffic, predators, and disease.

Here are several ways you can help your cat live a longer, healthier, and happier life:

**1. Regular Vet Check-ups:**
Regular veterinary care is essential. Yearly or twice-yearly wellness exams allow your vet to catch and treat health issues early. Remember to keep up with vaccinations and preventative treatments for parasites like fleas, ticks, and worms.

**2. Spay/Neuter Your Cat:**
Spaying and neutering not only prevent unwanted kittens but also protect against certain types of cancer and health issues. It can also reduce behaviors such as spraying, roaming, and aggression in male cats.

**3. Provide a Balanced Diet:**
Good nutrition is key to a long and healthy life. Feed your cat high-quality, nutritionally balanced cat food. Treats should not make up more than 10% of your cat's diet. Obesity can lead to many health problems, so make sure your cat maintains a healthy weight.

**4. Encourage Regular Exercise:**
Cats need regular exercise to keep them at a healthy weight and to provide mental stimulation. Play with your cat regularly using toys that stimulate their hunting instincts, such as laser pointers or feather wands.

**5. Dental Care:**
Dental disease can lead to other serious health issues in cats, including heart and kidney disease. Brush your cat's teeth regularly and have them checked by a vet.

**6. Mental Stimulation:**
A bored cat can become stressed, leading to behavioral issues and health problems. Provide toys, scratching posts, and interactive activities. Puzzle feeders can be a good way to keep your cat mentally engaged.

**7. Provide a Safe Environment:**
If possible, keep your cat indoors to protect them from dangers such as traffic, predators, fights with other cats, and disease. If you do allow your cat outside, ensure it's a safe, contained area. Regardless, always provide them with a quiet, comfortable space to retreat and relax indoors.

**8. Groom Your Cat Regularly:**
Regular grooming helps to keep your cat's coat and skin healthy, prevents matting, and can also be a good way to check for any unusual lumps, bumps, or parasites.

**9. Avoid Harmful Substances:**
Make sure toxic plants, human food, chemicals, and medicines are out of reach.

**10. Hydration:**
Always provide fresh water for your cat to drink. Hydration is especially important if your cat predominantly eats dry food.

Remember that every cat is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Your vet will be able to provide specific advice tailored to your cat's needs.