How long do tortoiseshell cats live

May 26, 2013

This is a common question, especially among people that have not enjoyed owning a cat before, and there are many variables involved that will determine how long your tortoiseshell cat will live.

The average length of a cat’s life is around 15 years, but there are a number of factors in play that determine whether she lives to a ripe old age or not. Some breeds of cat live for longer than others, so because tortoiseshell cats are not a specific breed then this can have an impact. Genetics can also have an influence if your cat inherits any genes that can make her prematurely ill or shorten her life.

If you let your cat outside, then she will face dangers  and hazards that indoor cats won’t face, such as road traffic, poisonous plants, other wildlife (such as dogs), and mean people that just don’t like cats. Tortoiseshell cats are very inquisitive so they do love to be outside exploring the garden and the neighbourhood – she just would not be a happy cat if we kept her locked up indoors all the time! However, if you live in a very busy, urban environment or next to a main road then you probably should keep her indoors.

If you look after your tortie and keep her in good health there is no reason that she should not enjoy a long and happy life. Some cats do live to be beyond 20 years, although this is quite rare – but if you are just bringing a tortoiseshell kitten into your home then you have many years of fun to come with her!

How old is your tortoiseshell cat? Let us know if she has lived to a ripe old age and if you have any tips for us!

Category: Torties

12 thoughts on “How long do tortoiseshell cats live

  1. I had two adorable tortoiseshell cats called Fatty & Lighty who both lived to the ripe old age of 22. These weren’t the original names given to them when I first got them as kittens but after a few years Fatty got fat & Lighty was lighter in colour & in weight. How cruel was I but I loved them to bits, they were my babies & still four years later it break my heart that there no longer with me.

  2. Our cat Cleo is 19 1/2yrs. She started having fits at the end of 2013 and we thought we would have to have her put to sleep. However we have an excellent vet and she now has Epiphen drops. She is an outdoor cat and has been on dried food most of her life. We now have to add the drops to her food so best to disguise in sardines, just a mouthful. The vet says she is otherwise a healthy cat, considering her age, and expects to see her for her annual booster in 6mths time, when she will be over 20yrs! She has also spent a lot of time in and out of the Cattery over the summer months which doesn’t seem to have affected her. We have a small tabby cat who keeps her company and she is 19yrs and in very good help despite her size.

  3. Pauline on said:

    My cat Calvin is 18 years and apart from being less energetic she is still in good health. She is a house cat, so that may explain why she has remained healthy.

    She has been on dried food (Science diet) throughout her life, but I will bear in mind the comments made in other posts if she starts to have difficulty eating.

    I have been lucky to have a very mild mannered cat who seems content at all times.

    It was nice to read that some other tortoiseshell cats have lived to their mid twenties. Hopefully my Calvin will too, as she is a big part of our family.

  4. Miranda D on said:

    My tortoise shell (Cheech) is 6 years old now. She loves to escape outside and hunts all the time. Her brother from the same litter is an orange short hair, and they were both really sick as kittens. Her mom looked just like her and her dad looked just like her brother. I found out that she has feline leukemia, probably something she never got over as a kitten, despite numerous trips to the vet. At two years old she ran away and I kept searching and searching for her. On the third day, I heard faint meows and went searching for her and found her hiding under the car with a broken back leg. I took her to an amazing surgeon to have a steel plate put on her leg so she didn’t have to have it amputated. She has had chronic problems with her teeth and respiratory infections. I decided to go the holistic route because all the times I have taken her to the vet, she has never gotten better. One even caused blunt trauma to her eye that took an entire year to heal, if it is even completely better. If you cannot tell, I love her more than anything. She is the sweetest cat and everyone that meets her loves her. She is pretty vocal but it could be from her ailments. She doesn’t fear anything unless it is a VERY load noise. Oh, and she fears the evil people in white coats (veterinarians). When our roommate’s cat or dog tries to play or attack her, she simply ignores them but is more cooperative with the dog. She snuggles my husband and I every night, and sleeps between our legs.

  5. MATTHEW NICOLL on said:

    Torties can live to a ripe old age. Pepper – our one has only recently ‘gone upstairs’ but she was 22 years old. The biggest problem we had later on was with her teeth and she struggled to eat dry cat foods so was on wet food and at the latter stages was on a special nutrient diet for associated problems. Don’t feel guilty about putting your cat to sleep when the time is right. If you feel guilty and sad about it it means that you have provided a quality life and bond with your cat which is something that is reciprocated. My wife and I think of all the great times we had and know we did not want our cat to be in pain at the end. If torties don’t like their environment they soon let you know or wander off somewhere else so safely say if they have hung around there was a good reason to. For such a small cat she was incredibly territorial and regularly saw off other cats even at the end. They are incredible characters and will really change your life and home.

  6. Judy on said:

    Our tortie is not even a year old but I looked up how long will she live, because we have never fallen for a cat like this one. She does insist on going out but she’s fenced in from other dogs than our own, and I believe she went exploring awhile back and got lost. Now she stays around the greenhouse and back door and goes and comes thru the doggie door like the mutts. She prefers to be around us and if we go in from chores, she’ll follow like she’s a dog. She is a brilliant cat, will chase and bring back rolled up pieces of note pad, she demands much loving and rubbing and scratching. If you seem to be slowing down, she closes her eyes and baby meows so cute. I tell everyone, look for a tortie to adopt. Ours found us at about 12 wks, someone probably put her out.

  7. Carol T on said:

    We have just adopted a lovely tortie but she is sick every few days. Vet can’t find anything wrong. Is this a tortie thing?

  8. Alycee Stoner on said:

    We still have ours because she is only a few months to be egsact she is 18 weeks and we all love her but at times she can be cheeky…

    She also loves her treats and had her very first christmas in December

  9. My cat regan was 14 and a half,I had to have her put to sleep 4 day’s a go,I’m absolutely devastated,my vet told me it was for the best but I feel so guilty,I miss her so much my home just isn’t the same…

  10. Sheena on said:

    My cat Sophie was 25 years old when i called the vet to my house to put her to sleep she went deaf at 23 years then one day at 25 just went blind over night she was so distressed i tried for a few days to see if she would be ok because she was healthy in every way but it was clear she was desperately unhappy.the vet that vaccinated her as a kitten put her to sleep in my arms

  11. My beautiful Sunrise lived to be 19. Unfortunately she was in pretty poor health in her last year and a bit, but up until then she was fit and active, still able to jump up on my bed :) I think she went downhill after the death of her brother, a year earlier than her. She seemed to need a lot of reassurance right after that and would snuggle as close to us as she could, even sleeping around our necks like a tortoiseshell scarf :)

  12. Paul b on said:

    My cat Ruby is now in her 21st year. She has digestion problems which means that she eats a lot of food but doesn’t digest it efficiently. Despite that, she is in good health, & has a good weight.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>