Ever wonder why felines live longer than fido? Scientists have determined that the longevity of lifespan boils down to something seriously simple: personality. According to researchers, cats lead longer, healthier lives than their canine counterparts due to their solitary ways and overall aloofness.
“There is an evolutionary theory of ageing that has a lot of support that suggests that things live longer in safe conditions,” lion trainer turned biologist, Steve Austad, told The Daily Mail. “Think of cats’ solitary ways. Unlike dogs, which are pack animals, they live at low density and that tends to prevent them from catching infectious diseases.”
While loner-like tendencies top the list of lifespan differences between felines and canines, scientists also credit the incredible natural defenses (amazing agility and sharp claws) of cats.
“Cats are less susceptible to predators because they are so well armed,” said Dr. Austad. “If you have ever tried to pick up a cat that didn’t want to be picked up, you will have discovered that they have all sorts of weaponry that dogs don’t. Dogs can be fierce but they only have their mouth, they can’t hurt you with anything else.”
Rounding out the top three of length of life differences is what Dr. Austad refers to as the creation of exotic breeds. Canines, who live until, approximately, 12 years of age have undergone further species alterations than cats, who clock in an average lifespan of 15 years.
“We haven’t changed cats nearly as much as we’ve changed dogs,” said Dr. Austad. “If you look at a typical dog and compare it to a typical wolf, there’s an enormous, change in size and behaviour. There is a certain amount in cats but you don’t see cats the size of teacups and cats the size of mastiffs.”
Research on aging is an important topic, as it can assist in increasing the lifespan of pets as well as their loving owners; however, Liverpool University Researcher, Dr. Joao Pedro De Magalhaes, feels that there is no maximum longevity set for any species.
“The real question is ‘How far can we can we go?’” said Dr. Joao Pedro De Magalhaes. “Maybe a thousand years from now, you could have a dog that lives 300 years. After all, who wants to live forever if you can’t live with your best friend.”