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

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on May 7, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

tortoiseshell cat close up

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 their breed.

In this article, we discuss the average lifespan of common tortoiseshell cat breeds.

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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 their lineage, they could live much longer.

Dilute Tortoiseshell cat
Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

Why Do Some Tortoiseshell Cats Live Longer Than Others?

Some Tortoiseshell cats live longer than others, even those of the same breed. There are a few possible reasons for this, and we examine them here.

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, they will probably live longer than a cat that is fed low-quality food or snacking on table scraps.

2. Environment & Conditions

Tortoiseshell Pattern
Image by: 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.

3. Housing

Providing a clean home for your tortie and keeping them 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.

4. Sex

Regarding tortoiseshell cats, sex can 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.

5. Genes

dilute tortoiseshell
Image 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 cat to develop serious or minor conditions from their parents, and this can affect how long your tortie lives.

6. Breeding History

The breeding history of your tortie can determine how long they live. 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 tortoiseshell cats.

7. Health Care

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

Health care 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, a tortoiseshell cat has four life stages.

Kitten: Birth to 1 Year

The first stage of your tortie’s 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 by:, Shutterstock

Young Adult: 1 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 10 Years

Once your cat reaches 10 years, they’re 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 the vet can keep them healthy for the rest of their years.

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How to Tell Your Tortoiseshell Cat’s 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 their age, there’s no way to know exactly how old they are.

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Tortoiseshell is a color pattern on cats, not a specific breed, so being able to determine how long a tortoiseshell cat can 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 these tips, ensuring that you take your cat in for regular checkups, keeping them indoors, and feeding them high-quality food.

Featured Image Credit: Didi S, Pixabay

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