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How Long Do Tortoiseshell Cats Live on Average? Average Lifespan Data & Facts

As a cat owner, you often wonder what the average lifespan of your feline pal might be. A Tortoiseshell cat isn’t precisely a breed of cat but refers to a color pattern, meaning that a Tortoiseshell cat’s average lifespan depends on its breeding.

In this article, we’ll discuss the average lifespan of Tortoiseshell cats and the breeds they come from.

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What’s the Average Lifespan of a Tortoiseshell Cat?

The average lifespan of a Tortoiseshell cat is around 12 years. However, depending on its lineage, it could live much longer.

Dilute Tortoiseshell cat with yellow eyes
Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

Why Do Some Tortoiseshell Cats Live Longer Than Others?

As with any other breed, some Tortoiseshell cats live longer than others. There are a few possible reasons for this, and we’ll examine them below.

1. Nutrition

Nutrition is a key reason that some cats live longer than others. If you’re feeding your Tortie high-quality, protein-filled food, the cat will probably live longer than a cat that is fed low-quality food or snacking on table scraps.

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2. Environment & Conditions

Tortoiseshell Pattern
Image Credit: andy-holmes, Unsplash

The environment your Tortie lives in has a lot to do with how long they live. A cat that’s been pampered and kept inside at all times is likely to live longer than a cat that is allowed outside or a stray that lives on the streets.

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3. Housing

Providing a clean home for your Tortie and keeping it inside will improve the likelihood of a long life. Outdoor cats risk getting hit by cars, attacked by dogs or wild animals, or even catching diseases they usually wouldn’t be exposed to.

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4. Sex

Regarding Tortoiseshell cats, sex can indeed contribute to how long they live. Male Torties are rarer than females; some are born with rare genetic diseases that could lead to problems as they age. If you have a male Tortie, you should talk to your vet about Klinefelter Syndrome and determine if your Tortie shows any signs of the condition.

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5. Genes

dilute tortoiseshell
Credit: Jenna930, Shutterstock

Genetics can have a big impact on the life expectancy of any cat. The parent’s history, if it’s available, may help you determine if your Tortie is vulnerable to any health issues. It is possible for your Tortie to develop serious or minor conditions from their parents, and this can affect how long your Tortie lives.

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6. Breeding History

The breeding history of your Tortie can determine how long they live as well. Reputable breeders who test for genetic diseases, vaccinate and deworm their litters, and know the medical history of their cats are likelier to produce healthy Tortoiseshells.

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7. Healthcare

Tortoiseshell and White Norwegian Forest Cat
Image Credit: ELENA PETRUNEVA, Shutterstock

Healthcare is crucial if you want your Tortie to live to a ripe old age. Cats that aren’t given proper health care or taken to regular checkups with their vet are apt to die sooner than cats that visit the vet at least once a year.

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The 4 Life Stages of a Tortoiseshell Cat

As with any cat, the Tortoiseshell cat has four life stages. We’ll talk about those stages below.

Kitten- Birth to One Year

The first stage of your Torties life is the kitten stage, from birth to 1 year old. You can expect your kitten to be active and playful during this time. It’s also the perfect time to get your Tortie used to grooming, vet visits, and teeth brushing.

tortoiseshell kitten
Image Credit: travelarium.ph, Shutterstock

Young Adult- One year to 6 years

Kittens enter the young adult stage at age 1 and continue in that stage until they are 6 years old. When Torties reach sexual maturity as adults, you’ll have to prevent them from escaping your home if they are not fixed.

Mature Adult- 7 to 10 years

When your cat becomes a mature adult, between 7 and 10 years of age, the playing will start to decrease, and your cat will begin to slow down. This is also when many cats start to gain weight. Keep up those regular vet checkups to ensure your cat remains healthy and happy.

tortoiseshell cat
Image Credit: Mrdidg, Pixabay

Senior- Over ten years

Once your cat reaches 10 years, it’s considered a senior cat. This is when playtime begins to slow down or cease, and your cat may have problems getting around. Your senior cat needs to visit the vet at least once every 6 months so that the vet can keep it healthy for the rest of its years.

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How To Tell Your Tortoiseshell Cats’ Age

There are a few ways that you can tell how old your cat is.

  • Ask your vet to check the cloudiness in your cat’s eyes
  • Watch their grooming habits
  • Look for wear and tear on your adult cat’s teeth
  • Take the cat to the vet for a checkup

It’s important to note that a cat’s age is only an educated guess made by you and your vet. Unless you have had the cat from birth and kept up with its age, there’s no way to know its exact age.

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Tortoiseshell cats are more of a color pattern on cats than a specific breed, so being able to determine how long they live isn’t an exact science. It’s thought that most Torties live for 12 to 14 years on average, but that depends on their lineage.

You can help your little Tortie live a long, healthy life by following the tips above, ensuring that you take your cat in for regular checkups, keeping it indoors, and feeding it high-quality food.

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Featured Image Credit: Didi S, Pixabay