X: Life E(X)pectancies of Cats
I chose this for my ‘X’ word for Scooter’s Tale. Then, I felt like I was cheating. However, after perusing online dictionaries for thirty minutes, trying to come up with a true ‘X’ word that I could use, related to cats, I gave up. No, I wasn’t looking for a word for Scrabble or for a crossword puzzle. I just wanted an honest to goodness legitimate word (besides Xerox or Xena) that I could use for today.
In light of my failure, I’ll share a little information about the life expectancies of feral cats compared to domestic cats.
Although the numbers differ from site to site, what is common is that the number of years a feral cat is expected to live is much shorter than outdoor, domestic cats and vastly shorter than indoor, domestic cats.
I’ve seen this first hand. We feed several ferals at our house. Some have been showing up for a long time and we’ve even named them. But we’ve never been able to catch them. Even Tippy, who’s been coming around the longest – probably about four years now – still will not come within twenty feed of us and is cage-wise. We’ve fed her through several pregnancies, and we have a few of her babies inside. When she moves a litter, somehow she leaves one behind. As her kittens get older, she’ll bring them to the porch. They’re so skittish by then, we’ve never been able to get them either. We’ll see ‘Little Tux’ or ‘The Gray Sibling’ for awhile, but sadly, they seem to disappear.
Right now Tippy still shows up, and two black mamas. Although I think Docker’s mama showed up last week. It’s sad, seeing familiar faces and then…nothing…they vanish.
They get hit by cars. We have nearby coyotes, hawks and owls. People put out poison. Or they poison mice, which cats then catch and eat. There’s a multitude of viruses and illnesses they can get in their world.
On life expectancies of feral/colony cats, the ASPCA says:
If a community cat survives kittenhood, his average lifespan is less than two years if living on his own. If a cat is lucky enough to be in a colony that has a caretaker, he may reach 10 years. Community cats who live in a managed colony—a colony with a dedicated caretaker who provides spay/neuter services, regular feedings and proper shelter—can live a quite content life.
The Nest shares this information about the life expectancies of domestic cats.
If a cat resides indoors exclusively, the typical lifespan ranges somewhere between 13 and 17 years, according to the ASPCA. However, it isn’t uncommon for indoor cats to live to at least 20. The lifespan always depends on the individual cat. Some cats pass away well before 13, while others live long past 17. A lot of factors go into how long a cat will live.
I just wish I could see the happy little faces in my own yard a little longer. I’d be even happier if we could catch them, get them spayed/neutered, and then release them back so there’s no more little ones vanishing.