Author: Deanna Chesnut, Author, Purrs & Promises
Last week we looked at toxic foods and fun food treats for cats and dogs. The question this week is: how much do foods make a difference to cat longevity?
First, there was Granpa Rexs Allen, a Devon Rex-Sphynx mixed breed, who turned up in the Austin Humane Society Shelter in January 1970 after escaping his vacationing Parisian owner who was visiting her daughter in the US. She called Granpa’s new owner, Jake Perry, the adopter and cousin of ex-Gov. Rick Perry, telling Jake he had her cat, Pierre. She confirmed he was born on 2/1/1964, and agreed to let Jake keep Granpa as long as he promised not to show him in the purebred show ring.
Instead, Jake registered Pierre/Granpa in the household pet category where he became Supreme Grand Master, the highest household pet division honor awarded by the International Cat Association. He was one of more than 500 cats Jake claims to have found or adopted, rehabilitated and then returned to the shelter for future adoption. Granpa was a cat, so, naturally, he had a few quirks, including his love for pink. Pink sweaters he would wear, but not blue or yellow, and he favored his little bottle of champagne on holidays. Granpa died in March 1998 of pneumonia He was later confirmed by the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest cat, at age 34, a new world record. That year he ate his last vanilla-tuna-broccoli cake at his birthday party at his vet’s office.
A few years later, another of Jake’s adopted cats, Creme Puff, succeeded Granpa as a record holder. She was born in 1967 and died August 3, 2005, at 38 cat years or about 168 human years, claiming the title of 2010 Guinness World Record holder for “oldest cat.”
Jake, now in his 80’s, is a retired plumber still living in south Austin with one cat. So what did Jake feed his cats? Prepare yourself! (I am only reporting.)
In addition to wet and dry prescription food from the vet, their daily breakfast was Eggbeaters, turkey bacon, asparagus or broccoli and…coffee. With cream.
Was it the food that kept his cats so healthy for so long? Is it the fact that they were all inside cats? Was it the daily reel-to-reel nature movies that Jake shared with them in his movie “theater?” Or was it simply the most important thing of all, the intense love and acceptance that Jake had for his adoptees, all still “living with him” in his back yard pet cemetery. You decide:
Next week: Safe & Sound (A holiday guide.)