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25-Year-Old Cat Heads for Record Books as World's Oldest

By Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell    April 16, 2014 / (17) comments

Do you remember what you were doing in August 1989 — before most of us had Internet and big hair was still in fashon?


Those days are becoming a distant memory, but Caroline O'Riordan of Ireland still has one big reminder of that year: her cat, Phoebe, who will turn 25 this year.


Phoebe is a pure white mixed breed who wasn’t expected to live long when she was born because she was so small.


O’Riordan is in the process of filling out the paperwork to have Phoebe declared the world's oldest living feline by the Guinness Book of Records.


"I have Phoebe's birth cert from the vet back in August 1989 but I just have to check what other criteria Guinness now require," O’Riordan told the Independent IE.


Currently, the oldest living cat is Pinky, who was born on October 31, 1989, and lives with owner, Linda Anno, in Kansas.


O’Riordan attributes Phoebe’s longevity to eating properly, not allowing her to put on too much weight, and making sure she gets regular exercise.


Jessica Vogelsang, DVM, told Pet360 these are all good things to do to keep your cat healthy and make sure it has a long life. “Like all things in life, longevity is a roll of the dice,” said Vogelsang. “Genetics plays a role, but it doesn't matter how great your cat's genes are if he's 22 pounds and walking the streets at night. Owners play the most important role in the life of a cat.”


Vogelsang offers this advice for cat parents:


  • The best ways to have a long lived cat are, first and foremost, keeping the cat indoors.


  • Make sure you stay on top of preventive care and visits to the veterinarian — many common senior feline diseases, such as kidney failure, can be managed for a long time, but only if they are caught early.


  • Lastly, keep kitty at a healthy weight to maintain the health of the heart, joints, and to avoid diseases such as diabetes.


Vogelsang said the longest lived cat she’s ever treated was 21 years old. “It's pretty uncommon to see a cat reach the double decade mark. She had a very dedicated owner who took great care of her,” Vogelsang said.


The average life expectancy for cats, according to experts, is 12-15 years. The oldest living cat on record was Creme Puff, of Austin, Texas, who lived to be 38 years old.


Editor’s Note: Photo of Phoebe, from the Irish Examiner


What is the oldest living cat you’ve ever seen?  


Article originally appeared on Pet360.com

Comments  17

Leave Comment
  • Clancy, (27 ?)
    04/18/2014 08:12am

    Years ago I rescued a long-haired red-head who I named Clancy. He was adult when I made the rescue so I was not aware of his age. Several years later, after he lost his final sense, and became blind in both eyes, having been deaf and without a sense of taste or smell for several years, He kind-of "lost it". I calmed him down and holding him in my arms the whole way, took him to my vet. He advised me that he extimatd the cat's age to be 27, and that it was the oldest cat he had ever seen. I held Clancy in my arms as the vet sent him to cat heaven.

  • 17-not long enough
    04/18/2014 01:01pm

    My best friend had a cat that lived to be 21. I have had many cats in my life, but have managed to get them only to age 17. I do all the right things-good food, regular vet visits, etc. but sadly, I have to say good bye at 17 or less. One of my cats at this time has cancer. She is around 12 and I am heartbroken. I will do what I can to keep her as long as I can as long as she does not suffer. When that times comes, I will sadly let her go. Prayers for my little Gina--please.

  • 04/18/2014 02:39pm

    Praying for your fur baby ma'am :-* if you have Facebook, you can come by my rainbow bridge page and I we all will be here to comfort, if needed.



  • 04/18/2014 04:19pm

    Don't give up hope! My "baby" (2nd oldest of 8 cats, Shadow is 16) was diagnosed with squamous epithelial cancer of the gum in March 2013. Much of the literature and my vet said it was terminal. But with a very deep biopsy (from our wonderful vet!) and only one treatment with a radiation bar from our vet oncologist, Shadow was declared cancer-free in January! I thought for sure I was going to lose her, but with tons of TLC and being careful with her meds, she beat it. Miracles do happen!

  • 04/18/2014 07:10pm

    You are probably doing everything right for your kitties. They are just like people, some have longevity, some live a shorter time. I wish the best for your baby with cancer but please don't let her linger too long. They can't always tell us when they are suffering. I lost two this year and I feel sad but they had goo lives (one 13 one 16). I think of those who still need homes. Wish you and yours the best.

  • 05/15/2014 09:33pm

    There are several natural treatments that have been shown to help feline cancer. Probiotics, and supplements or even treats with "coQ10" in them are supposed to be good. I have a cat with a cancerous growth who was starting to lose interest in food. I started giving her some Nutrivet brand probiotics I bought at the local supermarket (less than $10 a bottle). Within one dose (mixed with food) she started showing interest in food again, and was back to eating normally within one day. Within a few days the growth started shrinking and is nearly gone. I have read of other people having similar results with probiotics and also with coQ10...or both. There are many websites with items like this if you can't find them locally.

  • 05/16/2014 12:49am

    Thank you so much for this advice. Gina goes for her third chemo treatment tomorrow. I will speak to my vet about this and I will shop to find some coq10. I take it myself, so I will try to figure out the dosage for her. Thank you again.

  • 05/16/2014 12:56am

    Going to look for the probiotics as well. If I can't find them at Shaws (the only grocery store we have) I will shop online. Thank you so much. I am willing to try anything.

  • 05/16/2014 04:00am

    You're welcome. And good luck with Gina. She's very lucky to have an owner who cares as much as you do! I hope your vet is open minded enough to consider things other than or in addition to chemo. I noticed the drsfostersmith website has something called "Perio plus Feline Bites" that contains both coQ10, and probiotics. Although I can't say for sure if it contains as much as products available elsewhere. I almost bought the "vital lipids" and "celloquent" from the "Vitality Science" website. The Celloquent contains probiotics and coQ10. But their stuff is kind of pricey, so that's why I decide to go with the "cheap" stuff I could find locally. I wish you and Gina the best!

  • 05/16/2014 11:08am

    Forgot to mention you might also want to consider switching over to a grain free diet if you have already done so. I think two of the better brands are "Wellness" and "EVO". A little expensive but worth it. And also available online if you can't get it locally.

  • 05/16/2014 01:24pm

    Thank you again. I am going to try all of your suggestions. I plan on speaking to my vet this morning about the probiotics and coQ10 when I bring Gina in for her chemo. I have been feeding all of my cats on the Wellness diet--except when a prescription diet is needed for one problem or another. I am so thankful to have this information. I am willing to try anything and everything. I'm not rich, but I'll pay anything--just using a credit card and I'll pay what I can. Thank you again.

  • Beloved Blue
    04/18/2014 01:06pm

    I just this past October 2013 sent to heaven my beloved Blue Jasmine Elliott, I got the from the Free to Live in Edmond OK in 1989 she was 8 weeks old. Blue and I have traveled and enjoyed soooo many experiences. She was the most loving cat ever. Blue lived a wonderful full life. She was never sick a day in her life. Got arthritis in 2011 and Adequin and Kitty massages kept it at bay. Doc said at 24 she was the oldest patient he had. Her kidney's didn't start to go until she was 23 and in one year she just needed a rest from being the BEST CAT IN THE WORLD.

    Blue and I wish Phoebe best of luck with the book of records and that she live pain free and happy as long as she is here on earth.

    Love to all the Kitties in the world!

  • My Sophie is 20
    04/19/2014 06:19am

    Sophie is a blue/red tortie (with a tortie attitude : ) ) born in 1994. She is an indoor cat with balcony privileges (relax, at her age she just loves to lay in the sun)— I attribute her being an indoor cat to her longevity, plus the fact that she eats mainly wet food. A dry-food-only diet is very bad for their kidneys. She was diagnosed with kidney disease over 5 years ago, but I have kept her on a high-quality, high-protein diet (mostly wet) since then, and she also gets a holistic daily tonic mixed into her wet food that consists of chinese herbs that is very good for kidney heath. Good appetite, feisty spirit, no other health problems. Beyond that she probably has very good genes—and I think she knows she is very loved! She is my best friend.

  • Kitti
    04/24/2014 01:31am

    My Kitti passed away earlier this year in February. She was 23.

  • Miss Panda - 22 1/2
    05/14/2014 01:22am

    My cat, Miss Panda, was a mix between a Burmese male and a long haired mixed breed. She was my only cat for over 10 years and was my best friend. She was an indoor cat but I had a fenced in back yard and every afternoon after work she would go out and walk along with me around the yard and sometimes would lay beside me as I sat in the swing. But she always went inside with me and was never what I consider an öutside cat. After she was getting older I took in an abandoned litter of 3 because I was afraid I couldn't bear to lose Miss Panda. She continued to be the Queen of the household and she actually outlived two of the three boys. She lived to be 22 1/2 years old and she is still greatly missed. She was a calm, graceful, wonderful companion.

  • TC - The Oldest SurfCat!
    05/14/2014 05:08am

    TC, a feral alleycat I rescued, was with me for 22 years. I assumed he was at least a year old when I finally caught him, but he could've been older. It didn't take long for me to tame him, even though my vet never thought it was possible, and he adapted to living first in my truck, on the road camping for a year with my then puppy. We upgraded to my rv when I adopted my lab/pit/Great Dane mix, Ojo, who just celebrated his 15th birthday last month. TC would hang his head out the window when I drove the rv, and he would walk on or off leash, side by side with my two pit bull mixes when we went for walks, '& my friends called him CatDog. At the tender age of 17 years old, TC started surfing. I didn't even have to teach him; I just put him on the nose of my 10 ft board, paddled out, and that was that. He loved it, and surfed for the next three years, when he had a series of inexplicable seizures. The seizures stopped after a few months, and although we tried to find the cause, they stopped as suddenly as they started. I was very fortunate that TC was never sick a day in his life, up until the day before I put him down. He stopped eating one day, and because of his age, I knew "this was it," so I took him on a tour of his old stomping grounds, took him to say goodbye to all the local surfers at our home break, San Onofre, and put him down the next day. TC was one in a million. Kudos to this owner for marking 25 years!

  • Gelf the Ancient is 26
    05/31/2014 04:54am

    Our British Short-Hair, Gelf the Ancient, who I consider my "kitty-in-law" just turned 26 in April. She was one of the 2 cats he brought with him when we got married 4 years ago and she is the grand dame of the household!