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Indoor cats generally have a life expectancy of 12 to 18 years, but can you believe that there have been cats that have lived almost twice that long? Believe it on nor several cats have lived into their late 20s or 30s! Here are a few examples of cats who have lived decades longer than expected, and tips from their owners on how to help your cat live a longer, healthier life.
Who is the World’s Oldest Cat?
The oldest cat ever was Creme Puff of Austin Texas. According to her owner Jake Perry, Creme Puff was born August 3, 1967 and died August 6, 2005, making her 38 years and 3 days when she died. That’s a very old cat! Perry also had a cat named Granpa who was born in Paris in 1964 and died in 1998, making him 34 years old when he died. Granpa was posthumously awarded 1999 Cat of the Year by Cats & Kittens magazine and broke the Guinness World Record for world’s oldest cat in 1998.
According to an interview with Atlas Obscura, Perry has adopted and rehomed dozens of cats over the years, showing some of them in cat shows. Nearly one-third of his cats have live into their 30s. Clearly he is doing something right when it comes to his cats!
What did the world’s oldest cat eat?
Maybe Creme Puff’s diet holds some secrets to her longevity. Perry admits his cats do have an unusual diet. On top of standard commercial dry cat food, some of the foods both Creme Puff and Granpa ate are eggs and bacon, asparagus, broccoli, coffee with heavy cream and a splash of red wine to “circulate the arteries”. Now, I certainly don’t recommend giving your cats wine, but the cats’ diverse diet free of too many processed foods may have helped them live longer. When interviewed, Perry’s vet told a reporter that the diet went against everything he was taught in school, and while he certainly wouldn’t advocate giving your cats caffiene and alcohol, he believes the caffiene, acting as a diuretic, may have helped prevent kidney infections. Still, experts are very skeptical about the cats’ diets, and don’t recommend you switch your cat to a diet like this until more research is done.
Other tricks to improving your cat’s lifespan
In addition to a healthy diet, Perry made sure his cats had a lot of mental stimulation and play time. Perry installed a home theater in his garage and would regularly let his cats watch nature documentaries in there.
Perry’s cats are all mostly indoor as well, again leading to fewer cases of cats getting lost or injured outside. Perry has built an outdoor pen that lets the cats go outside without being free to explore the neighborhood, but for the most part the cats have been kept indoors. The inside of his house has been described as a cat playground, with paths installed on the walls and lots of toys and activities. This encourages a lot of physical activity in the cats, which can certainly help keep the cats healthy.
Perry also has all of his cats spayed and neutered. In addition to controlling pet populations, getting cats fixed gets rid of certain infectious disease risks. Un-fixed cats also have a tendency to roam when they’re looking for a mate, which cases them to get lost, injured or killed. The average life expentancy of cats in the United States has gone up steadily in the past two decades, thanks in large part to more people having their cats spayed and neutered.
Regular vet visits are important too. Perry always took his furry friends to the vet when needed, whether just for a yearly exam for for a more serious health concern. The sooner health issues are addressed, the better.
Of course, he also showers every cat he’s had with lots of love and attention. He remembered every cat’s birthday, even inviting President Bill Clinton to Granpa’s 34th birthday party (sadly, the president could not attend but sent a card). He’s been known to pass out calendars of his cats to neighbors, and had t-shirts printed for people for his cat’s major birthdays. The cats also take part in holiday celebrations, with their own Christmas gifts, their own Thanksgiving feast and baskets filled with toys and treats on Easter.
Who are some of the other oldest cats in the world?
Many other cats, while not breaking records, have lived longer-than-average lives.
- Lucy from Llanelli, South Wales. Bill Thomas and his wife inherited Lucy when her original owner, Thomas’ wife’s godmother, died. A friend of her godmother’s came to visit and shared stories of Lucy dating all the way back to 1972. If this is correct, that would have made Lucy 39 in 2011. While there’s no definitive proof of her age, other neighbors recall seeing Lucy around town in the 1970s. An adventurous outdoor cat, Lucy has had a very active life of chasing mice. Unfortunately there don’t seem to be any updates on Lucy since 2011, so it’s uncertain if she’s still alive.
- Sarah from New Zealand. Sarah was adopted at the age of 20 by Fleur Ford. Ford was given Sarah by neighbors who were moving and couldn’t take her with them. While you might adopt a cat that old expecting to give it a wonderful last year or so, Fleur and her husband had Sarah for another 13 years, making her 33 at her time of death. According to Ford, while Sarah was deaf and had heart failure, mentally she was still very sharp and alert until the end. Sarah’s vet, Heather Remnant, had actually just applied on behalf of the Fords to have Sarah declared the oldest living cat in the world, and the paperwork arrived just 3 days before Sarah’s death.
- Nutmeg from the U.K. Liz and Ian Finlay adopted Nutmeg when he was about 5 years old. 27 years later Nutmeg died at 32 years old. Nutmeg came to them as a stray who had befriended their other cat at the time, Spice. Nutmeg had an abcess on his neck, so they took him to the vet and after that he became a part of the family. Nutmeg was very healthy otherwise most of his life until he had a stroke in 2015. He loved cuddling and eating chicken.
Who is the oldest cat alive today?
The oldest recognized cat is Rubble, a 30 year old cat from the U.K. His owner, Michele Foster, adopted him as a kitten when she was 20 years old and lonely while living alone. Her sister’s friend had a litter of kittens she was carrying for, so Foster picked a fluffy orange and white kitten to take home. Rubble celebrated is birthday at his vet’s office with a free checkup, a bit of milk, and a bowl of his favorite cat food. While he’s become a bit grumpy in his old age, Foster says at 30 she still thinks Rubble has a lot of life left in him. The only health issue Rubble currently has is high blood pressure, which he is on medication for. His vets have said that he is the oldest cat the practice has ever seen and he is in remarkable health for his old age.
Foster believes that part of the reason for her cat’s long life is spoiling him. Michele never had children of her own, so Rubble has been like her child for the past 30 years.
Here’s to many years more, Rubble!