Your data on MRCVSonline
The nature of the services provided by Vision Media means that we might obtain certain information about you.
Please read our Data Protection and Privacy Policy for details.

In addition, (with your consent) some parts of our website may store a 'cookie' in your browser for the purposes of
functionality or performance monitoring.
Click here to manage your settings.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
Send Cancel

New ‘life tables’ predict life expectancy of cats
The life tables may be useful for potential cat owners and cat rehoming centres.
Research from RVC could change how we understand companion cats.

Researchers at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) have produced the first ‘life tables’ for companion cats, raising new discoveries about their mortality.

The life tables will support scientists and veterinary surgeons with predicting the life expectancy, and probability of death, of companion cats across age groups.

To develop the life tables the researchers, supported by the National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan, analysed the records of cats under primary care from RVC’s VetCompass Programme. The statistics covered 7,936 cats which had died between 1 January 2019 and 31 March 2021.

This data was then organised by breed and sex, and formed into life tables.

Life tables cover the life span of a specific population, predicting the remaining life expectancy and probability of death as an animal grows. They can be used to better understand the lifespan of companion cats, as well as highlighting interesting statistics on mortality rates and influencing factors.

Researchers believe that the data will be particularly useful for potential cat owners and cat rehoming centres, supporting the decisions they make for cats.

Findings revealed that, from their first year of life, the average life expectancy for companion cats was 11.7 years. Female cats were expected to live 1.33 years longer than male cats.

Both Burmese and Birman breeds had the longest life expectancy, with a predicted 14.4 year life span. This was followed by crossbreeds, at a predicted 11.9 years, and Siamese cats, who are expected to live 11.7 years.

Meanwhile the Sphynx had the shortest life expectancy, at just 6.8 years from the age of 0.

The most significant factors relating to feline mortality were being purebred or of a non-ideal bodyweight, both of which contributed to a shorter life expectancy.

Dan O’Neill, associate professor of companion animal epidemiology at RVC, said: “Since the early civilisation of man, predicting the future has been one of our greatest fascinations.

“These new life tables finally enable owners of cats to do just this and to predict the future life expectancy for their cats based on novel scientific methods and the power of Big Data.”

Image © Shutterstock

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Reporting service for dead wild birds updated

News Story 1
 The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has updated its online reporting service for dead wild birds.

The new version allows those reporting a dead bird to drop a pin on a map when reporting the location. It also includes a wider range of wild bird species groups to select from when describing the bird.

The online service, which helps APHA to monitor the spread of diseases such as avian influenza, can be accessed here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
NI chief vet urges bluetongue vigilance

Northern Ireland's chief veterinary officer (CVO) has urged farmers to be vigilant for signs of bluetongue, after the Animal and Plant Health Agency warned there was a very high probability of further cases in Great Britain.

There have been 126 confirmed cases of bluetongue virus serotype 3 in England since November 2023, with no cases reported in Northern Ireland. The movement of live ruminants from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is currently suspended.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the virus is most likely to enter Northern Ireland through infected animals or germplasm (semen or ova) being imported.

Brian Dooher, Northern Ireland's CVO, said: "Surveillance for this disease within Northern Ireland has been increased to assist with detection at the earliest opportunity which will facilitate more effective control measures."

Farmers should report any suspicions of the disease to their private veterinary practitioner, the DAERA Helpline on 0300 200 7840 or their local DAERA Direct Veterinary Office.