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How Long Do American Shorthair Cats Live? Average Lifespan, Data & Care

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

American shorthair cat

American Shorthair cats are generally healthy. They were originally “working” cats, which means that they were largely bred for practical purposes. This led to much of the breed’s health problems being bred out. After all, a sickly cat can’t keep mice out of the barn. This has led to a healthy feline today.

In general, American Shorthairs can live for about 15 years. This assumes that they are well taken care of, eat a quality diet, and receive all the proper vet care.

Of course, there is much that goes into a cat’s lifespan. Despite being American Shorthairs, some cats are simply more prone to diseases than others. This is especially true of kittens that were not bred by breeders, since they are more likely to come from unhealthy parents.

Therefore, if you want an American Shorthair that will live to be 15 years or more, it is important that you invest in a healthy kitten and do the proper work to keep the cat healthy throughout their lifespan.

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What Factors Affect an American Shorthair’s Lifespan?

Many different factors may affect an American Shorthair’s lifespan. Many of them may be completely out of your control.

1. Genetics

Some American Shorthairs were more carefully bred than others. Typically, breeders only breed the healthiest cats, relying on health testing to ensure that they aren’t carrying any genetic conditions. Kittens not bred in this manner are more likely to develop a problem, which could shorten their lifespan.

If your cat is the result of a random, unplanned litter, the parents likely did not undergo health testing. This means they could pass on genetic problems to their kittens, which may end up with shorter lifespans than their carefully bred counterparts.

Kittens bred by breeders are usually expensive, but you’re paying for better health odds.

Two tabby American Shorthair
Image Credit: ANURAK PONGPATIMET, Shutterstock

2. Exercise

Just like people, cats need exercise. American Shorthair cats are extremely active, but they weren’t made to lie around all day either. Generally, you should aim to help your cat exercise appropriately. You don’t want to forcibly make your cat exercise because this can cause other problems. But you should plan on giving your cat plenty of toys and engaging in playtime as often as possible.

Without proper exercise, cats may develop a range of health problems that can shorten their lifespan. One of the most common is obesity, which can cause all sorts of other health problems. Obese cats typically won’t live their full lifespan.

3. Nutrition

What your cat eats is an important part of their health. They won’t age well if they eat a lower-quality food. It is important to ensure that your cat is getting complete nutrition, which may mean cutting back on the treats.

You should also ensure that you’re feeding your cats the proper amount. Too little will cause malnutrition, which can lead to many different health problems. At the same time, feeding too much can cause obesity. You should keep an eye on your cat’s body condition to ensure that they are getting the right amount of food throughout their life.

Proper nutrition may be particularly important when a cat is younger and developing. If a cat does not get enough nourishment while they are growing, they could end up with permanent health defects.

All cats have different nutritional requirements depending on their age, sex, and activity levels. Senior cats are often less active and will need less food, for instance. They may also benefit from a senior food that supports any of the particular health problems that they are experiencing.

American shorthair cat eating
Image Credit: Apicha Bas, Shutterstock

4. Environment

Where the cat lives also matters. Indoor cats tend to live longer than outdoor cats, simply because their environment isn’t as dangerous. Indoor cats aren’t likely to get hit by a car, for instance.

Because cats are small, they can be more affected by pollutants and other chemicals. Cats groom their fur with their tongue, which means that they are more likely to ingest toxins that they come across in the environment. If you use any sort of fertilizer, pesticide, or insecticide, then your cat may easily come into contact with them.

Typically, these chemicals are most often found outdoors. People often spray their grass with them, for instance. Therefore, outdoor cats are exposed more to these chemicals, which may affect their lifespan.

5. Healthcare

Some cats may live to be 15 years old without any sort of vet care. However, achieving this is difficult. Preventative vet care is around for a reason. By dealing with potential health problems before they happen, your cat is likely to live longer and have a more comfortable life.

For instance, vaccinations are used to prevent certain diseases, so your cat can skip potential health problems that could significantly shorten their lifespan. Flea and tick prevention also helps cats avoid diseases from these parasites.

Cats are notorious for hiding their health problems. They may go undetected for a long time before the cat finally starts to be obviously sick. By this time, the disease has often progressed considerably. Annual vet exams can catch these illnesses before they become huge problems, so your cat can be treated earlier and complications can be prevented.

American shorthair cat
Image Credit: Thanakorn Kosalakorn, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

The average lifespan of an American Shorthair is about 15 years. However, many factors go into this. Just because you own a cat of this breed doesn’t mean they will reach that age.

Luckily, many of the factors involved are controllable. For instance, keeping your cat indoors will likely lead to them living much longer than cats that are allowed outside. This is simply because the outdoor world is far more dangerous. Cats can be injured more easily and exposed to toxins, which can limit their lifespan.

Your cat’s medical care, diet, and exercise routine all play a role in their life expectancy. If you want your American Shorthair to live their full life, it is important to pay attention to these factors.

Featured Image Credit: Clement Morin, Shutterstock

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