Japan's pets living longer than ever, study finds
It’s not just people who are living increasingly long lives in Japan: their pets do too, according to a new report.
The longevity of pet cats and dogs in Japan has soared to record heights, with the average cat reportedly living to 11.9 years and dogs 13.2 years.
The latest figures reflect how the longevity of pets have steadily increased in recent years, with the average lifespan growing 2.3 times for cats and 1.5 times for dogs in the past 25 years.
In contrast to the current figures, in 1990, the average lifespan of cats was 5.1 years and for dogs, it was 8.6 years, according to Kyodo News.
Pets in Japan are enjoying longer lifespans, according to the study
The figures came to light in a new study conducted by the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology alongside the Japan Small Animal Veterinary Association.
Researchers calculated the average longevity based on a 2014 survey of 5,977 dogs and 3,288 cats which died in 192 veterinary hospitals across Japan.
A growing number of pets being kept indoors, good quality food and increasingly sophisticated medical treatment were among the key reasons behind why the lives of Japanese cats and dogs were increasingly in length.
Other factors included a general increase in vaccinations as well as a drop in the number of deaths caused by infection diseases - from 30 per cent in 1990 to 2.5 per cent in 2014 for dogs, and from 25 per cent to 12 per cent for cats.
Meanwhile, researchers also found that mixed breed dogs also lived longer than purebred canines, while male cats were often outlived by their female counterparts, according to reports.
Japan is famously home to one of the world’s most sophisticated pet industries, with countless innovations and services devoted to all things pet-related, with the more innovative ranging from cat aromatherapy and dog dance classes to petfashion shows.
Testimony to this was Pusuke, a Japanese Shiba dog who was the world’s oldest living dog for the 12 months until her death in December 2011 at the age of 26 years and eight months, according to the Guinness World Records.
The increasingly long lives of Japanese cats and dogs reflects a general trend towards longevity among Japanese humans, with the pet study coinciding with new figures revealing that the number of Japanese people over the age of 100 is also soaring.
The number of Japanese centenarians hit a record 65,692 this month, marking an increase of 4,124 from a year ago, according to the new figures released by the Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry.
Advanced medical treatment and healthy diets are among a number of factors fuelling longer lives among Japanese citizens, with the number of centenarians steadily increasing since 1971.
Japan is not the only place where pet lives are getting longer: in the United States, the average pet lifespan has soared to 12.9 for cats and 11.8 yeas for dogs, according to the recently published 2016 State of Pet Health report from the privately-owned Banfield Pet Hospital which operates veterinary clinics across the country.
Meanwhile, British pets are also enjoying lengthy lives, with cats reportedly living until around 14 years, while the Royal Society for the Protection of Cruelty Against Animals states that purebred dogs live on average 11.9 years and crossbred 13.1 years.