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

PetMD Editorial
April 16, 2014
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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