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 other 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 would just 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 should probably keep her indoors.
If you look after your tortie and keep her in good health there is no reason she should not enjoy a long and happy life.
Some cats do live 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!
Some stories from Our Tortie Club members
We asked our Tortie Club members how old their tortie is or how long they lived for, and here are just some of the responses:
Katy - Missy lived to the grand old age of 19yrs .. She had a good long life but an adventurous life!
She broke her first leg at 9 months, was shot with a pellet gun in another leg and severed all the tendons and ligaments in a third leg.
She had arthritis and an over active thyroid plus dementia in her old age and started to lose her senses (hearing, eyesight)
In the last year of her life so she became a house cat but would sit in the back garden and enjoy the sunshine.
Missy had serious tortitude!
Angela -My baby Asia turned 20 on August 29th 2020. I am beyond privileged to be her guardian
She’s my heart and soul.
Cameron - My Tortie, Moussey Lucy is 15 and still strong, frisky and catting around.
It seems quite a lot of our other Tortie Club cats lived beyond 15 years judging by these tales:
Carlie - Our tortie cat is an amazing 24 years old and still going strong! Camille doesn't look a day over 6years old! Very healthy, beautiful taunt skin. She has never been skinny or fat. Just Right:
Anna - My tortie Mojo lived until she was 17.
Bobbi - My first tortie passed away last June she was 16 1/2 at that time we sure miss our callie. The tortie we have now is 1 1/2 but Fuzzball is a Norwegian Forest cat so I have no idea how long we will be blessed with her.
Hannan Jarrar - My tortie Cutie lived for 16 years and 8 months. She died in 2016.
How old is your tortoiseshell cat? Let us know in the comments below.