There’s a nice story in the online media about a Swedish cat who will be aged 30 this spring. Her name is Missan. She lives in southern Sweden. Her caretaker, Åsa Wickberg, says she found her as a kitten in 1985. She contacted Guinness World Records because she had read an article about another cat who was supposed to be the oldest in the world. Perhaps she was referring to Tiffany Two, in San Diego, California who is much younger at 26 years of age. Then there is Poppy from Bournemouth, UK, a British cat who was named the world’s oldest living domestic feline who died at the age 24.
It is likely that Missan will reach the age of 30 and beyond because she is still quite healthy. She’s a loner and a bit shy but likes dogs. She’s a farm cat and maybe there is something in that lifestyle terms of longevity. It is a very natural life for a cat. Perhaps the best kind of life because you get the best of both worlds: naturalness and some care from the guardian.
Guinness World Records will award Missan the title of the world’s oldest cat once it has been proven. But how do you prove it? There are no birth certificates for cats unless the cat is a purebred cat registered with a cat association.
The only way you are going to get evidence regarding the age of the cat is in a statement, perhaps an affidavit (sworn statement), from the cat’s caretaker or perhaps from the cat’s vet’s records. There may be other people who also know the age of the cat from personal experience. However, these are all bits of evidence from people who may have a vested interest in their cat becoming the world’s oldest. I am not suggesting that this is happening on this occasion. It is a general problem with the process.
In addition, it may be impossible to disprove what the owner says and therefore the adjudicator has to decide on the veracity of the statement, acting like a judge. The point that I am making is that the process is very difficult and therefore I would guess that it is often inaccurate. Perhaps Guinness World Records will not allow a record to stand unless they can verify the age from independent records.
There’s another aspect to this which is that many people live with very old cats who could well be the world’s oldest but do not come forward because they are disinterested in the process or have no knowledge of it.
Therefore, we have to conclude that the title of the Guinness World Records oldest cat is a bit of a joke, if I’m being brutally honest.
Source of Missan story: Telegraph online.