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How Long Do Calico Cats Live, With 5 Important Factors

How Long Do Calico Cats Live, With 5 Important Factors

Calico cats are recognized for their amazing three-color coats which usually include the combination of black, white, and orange.

This isn’t a separate breed, but rather just a description of the cat’s fur coloring, meaning that these cats differ in personality and behavior. However, they’re all awesome in their own way!

Now, if you find the calico pattern appealing for your future pet, another important thing you certainly want to know is the calico cat’s life expectancy.

So, how long do calico cats live? Let’s find out this answer, as well as some important factors that can affect these cats’ lifespan.

What Is A Calico Cat’s Life Expectancy?

A calico cat’s lifespan will depend on its breed, as well as some other factors we’ll introduce later in the text.

Since different breeds can feature a calico coat, differences among their lifespans are possible. Take a look at the expected life expectancy for the breeds that can feature a calico coat.

American Shorthair15-20 years
British Shorthair14-20 years
Cornish Rex12-16 years
Devon Rex9-15 years
Exotic Shorthair8-15 years
Japanese Bobtail9-15 years
Maine Coon10-13 years
Norwegian Forest Cat14-16 years
Persian15-20 years
Scottish Fold14-16 years
Turkish Angora12-18 years

It can be estimated that a calico cat will usually live a life similar to that of an average cat, which means it’s likely to reach the age of 12 to 15 years.

Of course, not all calico cats will be fortunate enough to live to an old age. On the contrary, rare felines are happy to set some new records and live far longer than anyone would expect!

Take a look at the video below showing the story of the amazing calico cat named Sweetpea that lived an astonishing 27 years.


5 Factors That Can Affect A Calico Cat’s Lifespan

Besides the breed, there are also several essential factors that can affect a calico cat’s lifespan.

Let’s look at them and find out what steps are important to have your calico cat by your side as long as possible.

1. Nutrition

calico cat is standing next to a bowl of food

Quality nutrition is one of the prerequisites for any cat’s health and well-being.

Your calico needs to eat well to live to old age. Felines are obligate carnivores, meaning that your calico cat’s diet should be based on animal protein.

An ideal food for cats includes a high amount of protein, a low amount of carbs, and a moderate amount of fat.

Some cats are prone to obesity and you’ll even have to figure out how to make them stop begging for food.

On the other hand, some cats are too picky and you’ll have to change their diet a couple of times to find the ideal one.

In any case, you can always ask a vet for advice on the best type of diet for your calico.

2. Exercise

calico cat is playing with the nest

Exercise is another important factor that can affect a calico cat’s life expectancy.

Regular exercise provides a calico cat with entertainment, joy, and diversity. This is crucial for your cat to feel happy and satisfied.

Of course, exercise is also an essential step in maintaining a healthy body weight. Obesity can make it challenging for a calico cat to move or groom itself. It can also lead to additional health problems and overall decrease a cat’s quality of life.

Furthermore, a play session is a great form of exercise for felines. This means that, by playing with your cat, you’re both spending some quality time with it, and also keeping it fit and healthy.

Therefore, exercise is multifunctional and incredibly beneficial for a calico cat’s health.

3. Living Environment

calico cat is lying against the doorpost

Whether your calico cat lives indoors or outdoors can also significantly impact its lifespan.

Anyone can easily conclude that there are both pros and cons of both living options. But, which one is a better choice when it comes to a cat’s longevity?

As Rachel Foreman-Worsley and her associates [1] explain, there is a correlation between feline obesity and an indoor-only lifestyle. Indoor cats also face a higher risk of reduced physical activity, increased food consumption out of boredom, and a lack of enrichment.

On the contrary, outdoor cats are exposed to road-traffic accidents, fights with other cats, and diseases such as parasites and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). Also, they’re more likely to ingest toxins.

Considering all this, it’s definitely safer to keep a calico cat indoors. If your concerns are obesity problems and boredom, there are ways to handle these.

Just be careful not to overfeed your calico. Don’t leave food available to it at all times, limit the cat treats, and don’t share your food with your feline friend.

Keeping a cat entertained indoors nowadays isn’t so challenging. There are many options like interactive toys, tall cat trees, and scratching posts to keep your cat exercising and amused.

There is also an additional option – adding another cat to your home, provided that your calico is up for some animal company.

4. Veterinary Visits

a vet examines a calico cat

Veterinary visits should be a part of your regular care routine for your feline companion.

Taking a cat to the vet once a year is a basic rule for all of them, regardless of their breed or age.

However, you should be aware that veterinary visits aren’t only meant for emergencies and concerns. 

Even if your calico seems to be fine and healthy, you should never skip a regular veterinary visit. Preventive care is crucial for your calico cat’s longevity.

If there is some medical problem, knowing you have caught it early increases the chance of your cat’s full recovery.

5. Health Issues

portrait of a calico cat

Every calico cat can develop certain health problems specific to their breed.

There is one health issue related to the gender of calico cats.

An amazing fact about calico cats is that they’re almost guaranteed to be females. A cat’s coat color is linked to its genetics and determined through the X chromosome. While females have two X chromosomes, male cats have XY chromosomes.

This means that a female cat can express both orange and black coats simultaneously. Males are typically able to express only one coat color, but there are some rare exceptions here. 

A male calico cat is exceptionally rare, and this coat pattern occurs in males due to a genetic abnormality known as Klinefelter’s Syndrome.

According to the Beyond Pets Animal Hospital, male calico cats are almost always sterile and can have other health issues associated with their chromosomal abnormality. 

As a result, Klinefelter’s Syndrome can significantly impact a calico cat’s lifespan.

Final Thoughts

Since calico isn’t a separate breed, but only a description of a cat’s fur, it isn’t simple to answer how long they are expected to live.

In general, most calico cats will live an average cat’s lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Of course, some of them will unfortunately live shorter lives, while others will be more fortunate and live even up to 20 years.

Quality diet, exercise, and living indoors are factors that positively affect a calico cat’s life expectancy.

Also, regular veterinary visits are crucial to monitor your cat’s health. 

The bottom line is that calicos are cats with a beautiful coat pattern that make amazing 


Providing them with proper care and a lot of your love and attention can help increase their life expectancy.

[1] Foreman-Worsley R, Finka LR, Ward SJ, Farnworth MJ. Indoors or Outdoors? An International Exploration of Owner Demographics and Decision Making Associated with Lifestyle of Pet Cats. Animals (Basel). 2021 Jan 20;11(2):253. DOI, Retrieved November 23, 2023.