Here is a spreadsheet listing the oldest living and deceased domestic cats as at 2023. I have to come clean right away and say that this list although very comprehensive might not be completely current as things obviously change and quite quickly as the living elderly cats will be dying. It needs to be constantly updated! I have one update below.
Update April 28th, 2023: Recently I wrote about Rosie, a tortoiseshell living in the UK who is living at the date of the update She is unrecognised by the Guinness World Records which reminds that the official records are going to be wrong fairly often because they rely on reporting. A lot of people don’t bother to report. I have added Rosie to the list below at equal 11th place. Her picture is above this para.
From this list, Henry is the world’s current oldest living cat at 30 years of age. He lives or lived in the UK. But is this correct? I suspect not as I think the list needs updating and Henry has died.
The great difficulty, as mentioned, with this sort of list is that these very elderly, living domestic cats are at the end of their lives. The list needs constantly updating almost monthly. That’s one reason why it is in the form of a Google docs spreadsheet. I can go back to it from time to time and update it and also change the title of the article to record the current year. That’s my intention. I hope that I stick to it (I have done one at April 28th 2023). However, I’ve discovered that it is very difficult to keep this list current and accurate because there is poor reporting on the oldest living domestic cat. And this applies to the world’s record keeper of world records, Guinness World Records, as they can only come up with the oldest living domestic cat as at August 13, 2015.
That is their last effort on recording the oldest living cat. I used the search facility on their website to come up with this information. It is seven years out of date. At that time a cat called Corduroy was a recordholder at 26 years of age. Corduroy lived with his owner Ashleigh Okura in the USA. He died on October 2016 as per the list on this page.
Although they do come up with possibly the oldest living domestic cat siblings. They are: Pika and Zippo (both UK, b. 1 March 2000), who have a combined age of 44 years, as verified in Feltham, London, UK on 1 March 2022. They are twins. So that is definitely current.
THERE ARE SOME MORE RECORDS AT THE BASE OF THE PAGE.
What got me interested in this list was a story in the news today about the world’s oldest living dog as per the Guinness World Records. This dog is a Chihuahua: TobyKeith (USA, b. 9 January 2001). He is 21 years. The dog reliably recorded as having the longest lifespan is Bluey at 29 years and 5 months. She died in 1939 in Australia. The oldest domestic cat ever is the famous Creme Puff at 38 years.
What you will immediately notice is that the oldest domestic dog to live is about nine years younger than the oldest recorded domestic cat. And if you look at all the records of the lifespans of domestic dogs and domestic cats, the latter always performs better than the former. Why is this?
Another interesting aspect of this topic is that website owners struggle to answer that question. I did some research on this and the best ranked websites according to Google on this topic simply don’t really answer the question especially as dogs are generally bigger than cats. The scientists say that, in general, the bigger the animal the longer they live. So, something is bucking the trend and undermining the lifespan of domestic dogs.
I have always felt that there is one big reason for this and it is selective breeding. Another phrase for selective breeding is “artificial selection”. It is when breeders interfere with natural selection. Natural selection produces the fittest animal with the best chance of survival. Artificial selection produces the best-looking animals which are the most saleable to customers.
This objective undermines the longevity of the animal because it can only be achieved through inbreeding to fix the attractive traits. This can lead to inbreeding depression which basically means that the robustness of the animal is weakened and they become more susceptible to illness and more susceptible to inheriting congenital diseases i.e. diseases inherited from their parents because their parents carry a genetic mutation which is passed down to their offspring.
So, I’m going to throw my hat into one basket and say that the reason why the lifespan of domestic dogs is very noticeably shorter than that of domestic cat is because dogs have been selectively bred for a much longer time than domestic cats. It is thought that the grey wolf was first domesticated more than 20,000 years ago. In contrast, the earliest evidence of the domestication of the North African wildcat dates to about 9,500 years ago. So, we’ve had domestic cats for about half the time that we’ve had domestic dogs.
In addition, dogs were and still are utility animals and therefore there was a need to breed them with different anatomies in order to meet their different purposes. That’s why you see a huge range of domestic dog sizes in comparison to the fairly even sizes of domestic cats. It is the utility nature of domestic dogs which is the reason why they been around a lot longer than cats whose purpose, in general, is to be our companions and to entertain.