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Life tables of annual life expectancy and risk factors for mortality in cats in the UK

O'Neill, Daniel; Kendy Tzu-yun, Teng; Dave C, Brodbelt; David B, Church


Daniel O'Neill

Teng Kendy Tzu-yun

Brodbelt Dave C

Church David B


Teng Kendy Tzu-yun

Brodbelt Dave C
Project Member

Church David B
Project Member

O’Neill Dan G
Project Leader


ObjectivesThe aims of the present study were to generate the first life tables for the UK companion cat population overall as well as broken down by sex and breed status, and to quantify associations between mortality and traits such as sex, neuter status, breed status and body weight in relation to mortality.MethodsLife table construction and modelling included data on 7936 confirmed deaths in cats under primary veterinary care at clinics participating in the VetCompass Programme in 2019. The life tables were built for cats overall, female and male cats, and crossbred and purebred cats. Multivariable generalised linear regression models were generated to explore the risk factors for a shortened lifespan.ResultsLife expectancy at age 0 for UK companion cats overall was 11.74 years (95% confidence interval [CI] 11.61−11.87). The probability of death at each year interval increased with age from year interval 3–4, with the probability value not exceeding 0.05 before year 9. Female cats (12.51 years; 95% CI 12.32–12.69) had a 1.33-year longer life expectancy than male cats (11.18 years; 95% CI 11.01–11.38) at age 0. Among the 12 breeds (including crossbred) analysed, Burmese and Birman had the longest life expectancy at year 0, showing 14.42 years (95% CI 12.91–15.93) and 14.39 years (95% CI 12.87–15.91), respectively. Sphynx had the shortest life expectancy at year 0 among the analysed breeds at 6.68 years (95% CI 4.53–8.83). Being entire, purebred and with a non-ideal body weight were significantly linked to a decreased lifespan.Conclusions and relevanceThe life tables presented here for companion cats in the UK overall, by sex, and by crossbred and purebred cats can contribute to a better understanding of the life trajectory of cats, helping with evidence-based decision-making for cat owners and the veterinary profession. We have also provided an updated life expectancy at age 0 for various cat breeds for 2019 and showed evidence of the association between non-ideal weight and a decreased lifespan.


O'Neill, D., Kendy Tzu-yun, T., Dave C, B., & David B, C. (2024). Life tables of annual life expectancy and risk factors for mortality in cats in the UK. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 26(5), 1098612X241234556.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 6, 2024
Online Publication Date May 8, 2024
Publication Date May 8, 2024
Deposit Date May 8, 2024
Publicly Available Date May 8, 2024
Journal Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
Publisher Herpetological Conservation and Biology
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 5
Pages 1098612X241234556
Publisher URL
Additional Information VetCompass research area


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