Shortest (and Longest) Living Cat Breeds

November 2, 2017 by Cheyenne Buckingham

Source: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek / Shutterstock.com
Dogs may be our best friend, but cats are vying for the title as well. Cats are the second most common pet in the U.S., despite their somewhat unsociable behavior and cool demeanor. They undoubtedly hold a special place in many people’s lives.

For cats, like any living thing on this earth, existence is merely temporary — despite the myth of their nine lives. While one breed can live as long as 20 years — three years more than the longest living dog breed, the Schipperke — other breeds’ lives can end around 8 years.

To determine the cat breeds with the longest and shortest lives, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the average life expectancy for the 42 cat breeds recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association. The CFA only recognizes cat breeds with purebred ancestry. We retrieved the average life expectancy for each breed from CatTime, a site that specializes in cat research.

Click here to see the shortest and longest living cat breeds.

Just like humans, it’s hard to predict how long a cat will live, which is why we provided a range of years a breed can typically live, according to the findings at cattime.com, an authority on the pets.

Interestingly enough, cats actually mature at an accelerated pace. According to a report from cable channel Animal Planet, cats mature quickly during their younger years. For example, a 2-year-old cat has undergone the level of maturation equivalent to a 24-year-old human. Each year after, the rate at which they age slows down, but not by much. A 12-year-old cat has lived to the equivalent of 65 human years — if only cats could receive a senior discount.

To identify the cat breeds with the shortest and longest life expectancies, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from CatTime. The organization’s website provides data on breeds listed on the Cat Fanciers’ Association, the world’s largest registry of pedigreed cats. The data includes breed characteristics, weight, and life expectancy. The CFA currently recognizes 42 cat breeds. Information related to each breed’s personality and physical attributes came from the CFA’s official website. For the few breeds CatTime did not provide weight information for, we used other breed authorities.

Source: SV_zt / Shutterstock.com

42. Sphynx
> Avg. life expectancy: 8-14 years
> Avg. weight: 6-12 pounds
> Coat type: Shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Active, affectionate

This hairless wonder may give homage to ancient Egypt, but it was bred right here in North America. And what it misses in fur, it makes up in personality. The Sphynx loves to be the center of attention, whether with humans or other pets.

[in-text-ad]

Source: everydoghasastory / Shutterstock.com

41. Manx
> Avg. life expectancy: 8-14 years
> Avg. weight: 8-12 pounds
> Coat type: Long- and shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Quiet, gentle

This cat may be lacking a tail, but that doesn’t mean it’s not strong and mighty. The Manx has a robust body and round, jowly cheeks. There are two varieties of this breed, longhair and shorthair, both of which have plush double coats.

Source: Kanjanee Chaisin / Shutterstock.com

40. Exotic
> Avg. life expectancy: 8-15 years
> Avg. weight: 7-12 pounds
> Coat type: Long- and shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Sweet, quiet

A Persian look-alike with a bit of a twist, the Exotic is a quiet and affectionate cat that doesn’t get bothered by noises around the house.

Source: dezy / Shutterstock.com

39. Maine Coon
> Avg. life expectancy: 9-15 years
> Avg. weight: 9-20 pounds
> Coat type: Longhaired
> Defining characteristics: Easygoing, active

Any guesses as to why this cat is named Maine Coon? It just so happens that it was first recognized as a breed in Maine, where it was also named the official cat of the state. The Maine Coon does well in the winter time, with its thick coat and ability to wrap its shaggy tail around its body.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: dien / Shutterstock.com

38. Japanese Bobtail
> Avg. life expectancy: 9-15 years
> Avg. weight: 6-10 pounds
> Coat type: Long- and shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Intelligent, affectionate

The Japanese Bobtail is quite the character. Bubbly, athletic, and an aficionado of the game fetch, this breed has got a unique personality … and appearance. It’s not uncommon for these cats to have two different colored eyes, primarily one blue and one green, and their tail can be anything from a nub with short hair to one with a smooth mane.

Source: Veera / Shutterstock.com

37. Devon Rex
> Avg. life expectancy: 9-15 years
> Avg. weight: 5-10 pounds
> Coat type: Shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Curious, enjoys people

If you love dogs but always considered yourself a cat person, don’t stray from the Devon Rex. This playful cat is intensely loyal, craves company, and can easily learn tricks.

[in-text-ad]

Source: Eric Isselee / Shutterstock.com

36. Balinese
> Avg. life expectancy: 9-15 years
> Avg. weight: 5-10 pounds
> Coat type: Longhaired
> Defining characteristics: Vocal, active

The Balinese looks like it descended from royalty with its lush, flowy coat and sapphire eyes. The breed gets its name from the graceful dancers of Bali. Long haired and long bodied, the Balinese is a gorgeous cat that also has an endearing playful side.

Source: Seregraff / Shutterstock.com

35. Abyssinian
> Avg. life expectancy: 9-15 years
> Avg. weight: 6-10 pounds
> Coat type: Shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Affectionate, active

Although its name suggests it originated in Ethiopia, once known as Abyssinia, the Abyssinian breed actually hails from the coast of the Indian Ocean and parts of Southeast Asia. It is one of the oldest known cat breeds. Understood to be active and intelligent, the almond-eyed Abyssinian is definitely considered a people pleaser.

Source: mdmmikle / Shutterstock.com

34. Selkirk Rex
> Avg. life expectancy: 10-15 years
> Avg. weight: 10-15 pounds
> Coat type: Long- and shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Curly coat, quiet

This curly-coated cat was bred to be larger than its other Rex counterparts. While typically heavier than most cats, the Selkirk Rex is naturally soft and can be used as a living, breathing teddy bear.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Kamil Martinovsky / Shutterstock.com

33. Russian Blue
> Avg. life expectancy: 10-15 years
> Avg. weight: 8-12 pounds
> Coat type: Shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Graceful, playful

The Russian blue is utterly striking with its sparkly, silver blue coat and dazzling green eyes. Unlike a lot of domestic pets, this breed doesn’t incessantly shed, so sweeping and vacuuming cat hair doesn’t have to be a daily chore. The Russian blue is also a very affectionate cat and likes to snuggle up beside you on the couch.

Source: Eric Isselee / Shutterstock.com

32. Persian
> Avg. life expectancy: 10-15 years
> Avg. weight: 7-12 pounds
> Coat type: Longhaired
> Defining characteristics: Sweet, affectionate

The Persian is an eye-catching breed, with an extremely thick, voluminous coat and a pansy-like face. The way a Persian’s cheeks droop down the side of its face and the innate wide-eyed expression it wears make it seem like it’s constantly bewildered. The most popular type of the Persian is the the Himalayan, a mix between a Persian and Siamese.

[in-text-ad]

Source: mdmmikle / Shutterstock.com

31. Oriental
> Avg. life expectancy: 10-15 years
> Avg. weight: 5-10 pounds
> Coat type: Long- and shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Affectionate, active

Vibrant in coat and in personality, the Oriental can be found in over 600 colors, patterns, and coat length. Rooted from the Siamese breed, this elegant and adventurous cat is one of the CFA’s most popular types.

Source: dien / Shutterstock.com

30. Ocicat
> Avg. life expectancy: 10-15 years
> Avg. weight: 6-15 pounds
> Coat type: Shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Social, strong

This cat is a hodgepodge of breeds, specifically of Abyssinian, American shorthair, and Siamese. The Ocicat has a distinctive appearance. With spots spattered all over its coat, it looks quite similar to a leopard. The breed even comes in 12 different colors, so there’s likely a color for even the pickiest of cat enthusiasts to adore.

Source: Linn Currie / Shutterstock.com

29. LaPerm
> Avg. life expectancy: 10-15 years
> Avg. weight: 5-8 pounds
> Coat type: Long- and shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Affectionate, gentle

Originating in a farm close to the ancient hunting and fishing grounds of the Wishram Native Americans, the LaPerm is unique in personality and appearance. Gentle and affectionate, this cat is people-oriented and craves human contact.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Gino Santa Maria / Shutterstock.com

28. Korat
> Avg. life expectancy: 10-15 years
> Avg. weight: 6-10 pounds
> Coat type: Shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Energetic, affectionate

This eye-catching cat is noticeable for its silver-blue coat that shines in the light. Discovered in its namesake Thailand province of Korat, this breed is considered one of Thailand’s good luck cats, according to an ancient “Cat-Book of Poems” that is now held at Bangkok’s National Library.

Source: Eric Isselee / Shutterstock.com

27. Havana Brown
> Avg. life expectancy: 10-15 years
> Avg. weight: 6-10 pounds
> Coat type: Shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Outgoing, friendly

This cat can be anything from outgoing and playful to lackadaisical and sleepy. One minute the  Havana brown will be sprinting around the house and the next it will be passed out in a deep slumber. Much like its variance in physical activity, this breed also has two different personalities: affectionate and mischievous.

[in-text-ad]

Source: fotoliza / Shutterstock.com

26. European Burmese
> Avg. life expectancy: 10-15 years
> Avg. weight: 6-10 pounds
> Coat type: Shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Intelligent, loyal

Although its name suggests otherwise, the European Burmese actually hails from the Far East. What makes this cat different from its Burmese counterpart is its refined appearance. While the Burmese is round and compact, the European Burmese is an elegant, medium-sized cat.

Source: JE Jevgenija / Shutterstock.com

25. Burmilla
> Avg. life expectancy: 10-15 years
> Avg. weight: 8-10 pounds
> Coat type: Long- and shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Adventurous, clumsy

The Burmilla is a cross between a Burmese and chinchilla Persian. The breed officially entered the Cat Fanciers’ Association Miscellaneous Class in February of 2011. Cats of this breed are quite affectionate and gentle, but don’t be mistaken. They are actually more extroverted than the typical Persian and also incredibly clumsy to boot. Hide your nice chinaware when this kitty is on the loose!

Source: dezy / Shutterstock.com

24. Tonkinese
> Avg. life expectancy: 10-16 years
> Avg. weight: 6-12 pounds
> Coat type: Shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Vocal, enjoys people

Tonkinese cats are both amiable and playful. These cats actively seek attention — unlike the anti-social stereotype of cats — and prefer not to be left alone or ignored. The breed is quite vocal and has a muscular stature.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Seregraff / Shutterstock.com

23. Burmese
> Avg. life expectancy: 10-16 years
> Avg. weight: 8-10 pounds
> Coat type: Shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Muscular, affectionate

Aptly named Burmese, this elegant cat breed hails from Burma, also called Myanmar, a country located in southeast Asia. The Burmese have large, captivating eyes and a short, silky coat. They prefer to perch atop their owner’s warm lap and be gently stroked.

Source: Shvaygert Ekaterina / Shutterstock.com

22. Bengal
> Avg. life expectancy: 10-16 years
> Avg. weight: 8-15 pounds
> Coat type: Shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Active, intelligent

Bengal tiger? While this breed can surely look like one, your life won’t be in danger if you domesticate one. These cats are quite curious and like to persuade their owners to play with them. The Bengal also has a fondness of water — some will gladly watch the water run from the faucet as you brush your teeth, while the bolder ones may even try to hop in the shower with you!

Source: Rinaki / Shutterstock.com

21. Scottish Fold
> Avg. life expectancy: 11-14 years
> Avg. weight: 8-13 pounds
> Coat type: Long- and shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Affectionate, laid back

Some Scottish fold cats almost resemble an owl, with their ears folded down on the top of their head and their big eyes. Not all cats of this breed inherit the folded ear gene, though. Some have straight, normal ears. The Scottish Fold is very sweet and plays nicely with children and other pets in the home, even dogs.

[in-text-ad]

Source: Nikita Bersenev / Shutterstock.com

20. American Bobtail
> Avg. life expectancy: 11-15 years
> Avg. weight: 8-13 pounds
> Coat type: Long- and shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Loving, intelligent

The American Bobtail is known for both its antics and comforting nature. It will happily show off its ability to swat and capture insects flying in mid-air, and, on the same day, will be at your beck and call if you need comfort.

Source: Olivia Lorot / Shutterstock.com

19. Chartreux
> Avg. life expectancy: 11-15 years
> Avg. weight: 7-16 pounds
> Coat type: Shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Acrobatic, silly

Often pegged as the “potato on toothpicks,” the Chartreux has a round body, broad shoulders, and deep chest. The breed is said to have originated in ancient Persia. A pastime of the Chartreux involves watching things in motion even on a television screen or sitting in front of a window, where birds and other wildlife can be seen roaming about.

Source: Birute Vijeikiene / Shutterstock.com

18. Cornish Rex
> Avg. life expectancy: 11-15 years
> Avg. weight: 6-10 pounds
> Coat type: Shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Soft, curly coat

The Cornish Rex is not your average kitty. This peculiar-looking breed has short curly hair that’s incredibly soft to caress. Additionally, the cat has an egg-shaped head with pronounced cheekbones and perky ears that shoot straight upward. Cats of this breed also like to play fetch and catch — they actually like to use their paws to pick up and toss small objects.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Voraorn Ratanakorn / Shutterstock.com

17. Siamese
> Avg. life expectancy: 11-15 years
> Avg. weight: 6-10 pounds
> Coat type: Shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Vocal, active

Much like the two cats in Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp’’ who sing “We are Siamese if you please,” the breed has extraordinary blue eyes and chiseled facial features. This elegant breed originated in Siam, the former name of Thailand.

Source: Mila-Ru / Shutterstock.com

16. Siberian
> Avg. life expectancy: 11-15 years
> Avg. weight: 8-17 pounds
> Coat type: Longhaired
> Defining characteristics: Attentive, loving

Not to be confused with the tiger, the Siberian cat may look fluffy but don’t let that fool you — this cat is incredibly mighty with impressive physical strength and balance. Siberian cats are treasured by people in Russia, having been documented in Russian fairy tales and children’s books. Siberian cats also love playing in water, so bath time (if you even feel the need to bathe your cat) isn’t necessarily cumbersome.

[in-text-ad]

Source: Krissi Lundgren / Shutterstock.com

15. Singapura
> Avg. life expectancy: 11-15 years
> Avg. weight: 4-8 pounds
> Coat type: Shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Demanding, sweet

The Singapura is a small, bony cat that is curious, outgoing, and playful. Singapura is the Malaysian word for Singapore, which is where the breed originated. This cat, the lightest feline on the list, has a ton of energy, spending most its day running around and finding things to play with.

Source: Mikkel Bigandt / Shutterstock.com

14. Somali
> Avg. life expectancy: 11-16 years
> Avg. weight: 6-10 pounds
> Coat type: Longhaired
> Defining characteristics: Active, agenda-driven

This breed looks like a miniature lion with its bushy mane around the neck. The Somali is an ambitious and curious little cat. Some of its favorite pastimes include playing fetch and opening cupboards. The Somalis are extroverts to say the least, so they like to play and receive lots of attention from their owners.

Source: Jolanta Beinarovica / Shutterstock.com

13. Egyptian Mau
> Avg. life expectancy: 12-15 years
> Avg. weight: 6-14 pounds
> Coat type: Shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Spotted coat, athletic

With a coat freckled with spots similar to that of a cheetah’s, the Egyptian Mau is an eye-catching breed. Intelligent and incredibly loyal, this cat likes to be an integral part of the family, though it likes things to happen in its favor. Both gentle and sensitive, the Egyptian Mau is known to idolize its owner(s).

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Seregraff / Shutterstock.com

12. American Curl
> Avg. life expectancy: 12-16 years
> Avg. weight: 5-10 pounds
> Coat type: Long- and shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Energetic, affectionate

Adorned with perky ears that curl back in a graceful arc, and expressive eyes, the American curl naturally looks alert and curious. This kitty has an adventurous spirit, and can be found climbing on the countertop just to nap in a large empty salad bowl. This breed is exceptionally faithful and people-oriented, with ambitions to be by their owners’ side at all times.

Source: Borkin Vadim / Shutterstock.com

11. Birman
> Avg. life expectancy: 12-16 years
> Avg. weight: 6-12 pounds
> Coat type: Longhaired
> Defining characteristics: Sweet, affectionate

Light blue eyes paired with a gentle demeanor give this kitty a delightfully charming character. The Birman’s true origin has yet to be determined. However, most of them in the U.S. today are said to have derived from England, France, Australia, and Germany. Whatever their origin may be, one things for certain — they are great companions. These cats like to attach to your side when you read the newspaper, work on the computer, fold the laundry, and load the dishwasher.

[in-text-ad]

Source: Vecta / Shutterstock.com

10. Bombay
> Avg. life expectancy: 12-16 years
> Avg. weight: 6-11 pounds
> Coat type: Shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Playful, lap cats

Cat or miniature panther? While the latter may likely be assumed upon first glance, the Bombay is 100% a hybrid cat breed. Crossed between a black American shorthair and a sable Burmese, Bombay cats exemplify a laissez-faire attitude — entertaining themselves when their owner is busy, yet eager to hop in their lap when welcome.

Source: Scampi / Shutterstock.com

9. RagaMuffin
> Avg. life expectancy: 12-16 years
> Avg. weight: 10-20 pounds
> Coat type: Longhaired
> Defining characteristics: Obedient, enjoys people

The RagaMuffin does not at all reflect the definition of a ragamuffin, which typically refers to a child that’s dressed in dirty, ragged clothing. This cat breed is the farthest thing from grimy. Its plush coat and expressive eyes make it look quite delicate and elegant.

Source: ishkov sergey / Shutterstock.com

8. British Shorthair
> Avg. life expectancy: 12-17 years
> Avg. weight: 8-20 pounds
> Coat type: Shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Calm, enjoys people

This plush kitty loves to be around people in the house, but it doesn’t appreciate being held. British shorthairs tend to have acrobatic-like qualities and — ironically — are quite clumsy. Since this lovable breed is so active, it’s innately muscular and has great physical strength.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: CC0 Public Domain

7. Colorpoint Shorthair
> Avg. life expectancy: 12-17 years
> Avg. weight: 5-10 pounds
> Coat type: Shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Vocal, affectionate

The Colorpoint Shorthair comes in 16 different colors, with its tail and the shape of its head quite similar to the Siamese. This cat breed is incredibly sensitive to people’s moods and will happily snuggle under your arm when you feel you need it most. Careful, if you ignore them they will follow you around the house, complaining in a raspy voice.

Source: Liliya Kulianionak / Shutterstock.com

6. Ragdoll
> Avg. life expectancy: 12-17 years
> Avg. weight: 10-20 pounds
> Coat type: Longhaired
> Defining characteristics: Affectionate, placid

Like little kids who love to take their ragdolls everywhere, this cat breed likes to be by your side 24/7. Ragdoll cats like to follow you from room to room and even cuddle with you while you sleep. And they stay playful kittens longer than most breeds. They mature very slowly, not reaching their full coat color until age 2 and full weight until they turn 4.

[in-text-ad]

Source: Linn Currie / Shutterstock.com

5. Turkish Van
> Avg. life expectancy: 12-17 years
> Avg. weight: 10-18 pounds
> Coat type: Longhaired
> Defining characteristics: Sweet, enjoys water

This prized breed is relatively new to the U.S., making its debut just 35 years ago. The Turkish Van, originating in southwest Asia, has a distinctive appearance and is quite rare. Turkish Vans carry the piebald gene, meaning they have a white coat with colored markings exclusively on their head and tail.

Source: Elisa Putti / Shutterstock.com

4. Norwegian Forest Cat
> Avg. life expectancy: 12-18 years
> Avg. weight: 13-22 pounds
> Coat type: Longhaired
> Defining characteristics: Active, sweet

Can you take a wild guess as to where this kitty hails from? The Norwegian forest cat originated in Norway where it’s referred to as the Skogkatt. This rugged, fluffy cat fits the definition of a homebody — loves to be inside surrounded by its beloved owners. Despite loving the indoors, this breed also fares very well in the snow thanks to its waterproof double coat that evolved specifically to endure the harsh Scandinavian winters.

Source: Viktoriia Drobotova / Shutterstock.com

3. Turkish Angora
> Avg. life expectancy: 12-18 years
> Avg. weight: 5-9 pounds
> Coat type: Longhaired
> Defining characteristics: Silky coat, curious

The Turkish Angora is known to be one of the most affectionate and extroverted breeds. While they are loving and adjust well to other pets, Turkish Angoras are quick to claim their title as the dominant pet of the household.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Boyloso / Shutterstock.com

2. American Wirehair
> Avg. life expectancy: 14-18 years
> Avg. weight: 6-11 pounds
> Coat type: Shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Crimped coat, easygoing

The American wirehair has American in its name for a reason … the breed began as a spontaneous mutation in a litter of upstate New York farm cats in 1966. Also apt to its name, the coat of this breed is best described as wiry. Breeders find that this cat is relatively resistant to disease, which more than likely contributes to its longevity.

Source: Top Photo Engineer / Shutterstock.com

1. American Shorthair
> Avg. life expectancy: 15-20 years
> Avg. weight: 7-12 pounds
> Coat type: Shorthaired
> Defining characteristics: Calm, quiet

The American shorthair is known for its impressive life expectancy, charming looks, and robust health. Not to mention, this particular breed is remarkably congenial with kids and with other pets, so you don’t have to fret about this kitty playing nicely with others.