How Long Do Tabby Cats Live? – Pet Parenting 101

Written by

Amy Sawy

Veterinarian. DVM


Joseph M. Plummer

Veterinarian, DVM, MVZ

how long do tabby cats live

Tabby cats are among the most friendly and incredible fur buddies to have as pets. Due to their special marking, tabby felines can be easily spotted in many households, making them one of the most popular pet choices.

But how long do tabby cats live? Just like other cats, if properly taken care of, a tabby’s lifespan can be up to 10-20 years. In today’s article, we will discuss this matter further to have a better insight into these fur friends.

What Is a Tabby Cat?

Tabby is not a cat breed.

The word tabby is merely used to refer to the coat pattern and marking of the animal, which has nothing to do with its lifespan or healthcare. In other words, tabby is a design; while several cat breeds don’t necessarily present ‘tabby,’ they have the tabby gene.

Besides the distinctive coat pattern, you may find an M-shaped marking on the forehead of the animal, which is known to come from their wild cat ancestors, to tell right away that it’s a tabby cat.

A tabby feline generally carries multi-color striped and dotted patterns on its face, legs, and tail; other body parts may have more distinct markings like swirls and lines.

How Long Do Tabby Cats Live in Human Years?

Generally, an average tabby cat lifespan is estimated at 10-16 years. It can live as long as 20 years when taken good care of.

It is not the pattern that decides a cat’s longevity. An orange tabby lifespan can be as long as a brown tabby cat lifespan, with a proper diet and care.

How Long Do Neutered Tabby Cats Live?

People get their kitty ‘fixed’ for many reasons.

Considering the matter we’ve been discussing, the reason why you should get your tabby neutered is because of the extended life expectancy of a tabby cat.

That’s right; research has shown that fixed male tabby cats will live 62% longer, whereas the rate for spayed female tabby cats is 39%.

Factors Affecting Tabby Cats Life Spans


Many other factors have an impact on your domestic tabby cat lifespan: diet, exercise, or genetic conditions, just to name a few.

Depending on the variable conditions, a tabby cat’s lifespan may be longer or shorter than others. So, how long do ginger cats live? Below are some of the factors to have a direct influence on the longevity of your tabby cat.

1. Genetics

Genetics is one of the core elements determining your tabby cat life expectancy.

  • Some breeds are born weaker than others, like Sphynx or Selkirk tabbies. Typically, they can only survive for 8 – 14 years.
  • On the other hand, Bengal, Siamese, and British Shorthair tabbies have a greater lifespan than most tabby breeds.

They tend to have better health and are less likely to suffer from health issues. You can see some of them living up to 25 years, with an average lifespan of 18 years.

  • Mixed cat breeds like American shorthair also have long life expectancies due to the diversity in their genes which protects them from hereditary health problems. These round-faced fur balls can live up to 20 human years!

2. Living Environment

Outdoor cats last less long than indoor ones for obvious reasons. They are prone to regular catfights, diseases, accidents; you name it. A cat raised indoors has a chance of surviving for up to 18 years or more.

Due to the potentially life-threatening reasons mentioned, outdoor cats might have a lifespan 3 – 5 years shorter than indoor ones.

Indeed, a little fun outdoors won’t hurt, as long as it’s under your watch. In these situations, a safe cat enclosure or leash is recommended.

3. Diet

Nutritious diets play an essential part in expanding your tabby’s longevity.

A two-meal diet is typical for an adult cat. An optimal diet should contain wet food and raw fat, which are nutrition-rich.

Do not overfeed your cat! I know it can be tempting sometimes when you look at their big, round, shiny eyes. However, you should know that an obese cat is more likely to die between 8 – 12 years old than a healthy cat.

When you give them too much food, their heart eventually becomes weaker, causing fatal illnesses like cancer or arthritis.

Whenever you give them treats, remember: treats only make up less than 10% of their daily diet and should be given in moderation. Consequently, change your kitty’s diet every once in a while to prevent stomach issues.

4. Proper Medical Care

Another way to extend your ginger cat lifespan is to pay periodic visits to the vet.

You know that they say one can never be too careful, especially regarding your cat’s health. Some medical conditions can be treated with early detection.

Therefore, take your cat to the vet for annual check-ups and as soon as they show behavioral changes.

5. Exercises

Cats are just like humans. They need exercise to keep them in good health, thus increasing their life span.

These little fur friends may feel down and neglected when you don’t spend enough time with them, so it is best to have quality playing time with your tabby.

Play with them for at least 10 minutes or more, and keep it going two or three times a day. Also, invest in a cat tree and other interactive toys such as lasers and a tower of tracks.

When a cat is not in their best mental spirit, it is likely to hide from you and skip meals. For that reason, owning more than one cat is quite common among pet owners; they can accompany each other when you aren’t around.

FAQs About Tabby Cats


Are Tabby Cats Aggressive?

Despite their fierce appearance, tabby cats have a rather friendly personality. They warm up to you pretty quickly and eventually become affectionate and calm around you.

However, cats are quite reserved with strangers, explaining why some would act aggressively out of stress or feeling of being threatened.

We suggest you socialize your newly adopted kitten with other pets and humans as soon as you get them to prevent any behavioral problems (e.g., aggression towards little kids).

Cat enthusiasts have observed that grey/white tabbies are not as calm as those with grey, white, and black fur. This is because a tabby’s aggressiveness is determined mostly by the breed and fur color.


Welp, this is it.

By now, you should have an answer to the question we raised at the beginning of today’s article, how long do tabby cats live? If you own a tabby as a pet, you are one lucky pet parent.

Tabby felines, especially orange ones, are super affectionate and sweet. They will thrive and live a happy life should you give them appropriate care and love.

Thank you for reading, and don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with us!

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