Belfast Telegraph

Is Newry cat Tutti-Frutti the world's oldest moggy at 23?

Co Down sourpuss doesn't look too happy about it

By Linda Stewart

Newry moggy Tutti-Frutti has embarked on a battle to be named the world's oldest cat.

The previous title-holder Poppy passed away last week in Bournemouth aged 24, after her nine lives finally ran out.

Now 23-year-old black and white puss Tutti-Frutti is hoping to take the crown.

Her owner Marie McAleavey says that unlike other cats claiming to be older, Tutti-Frutti has the paperwork to prove her venerable standing.

She has asked her pet's vet, who has cared for the animal all her life, to look into proving her claim by contacting the Guinness Book of Records.

Other challengers include Snowy, a Yorkshire cat that is said to be 27, and Gwynneth from Swansea, alleged to be 24, who is stone deaf with sensitive teeth.

Marie says her pet is remarkably healthy considering her age, putting it down to her exclusive regime of filtered water and Acai berry supplements.

Tutti-Frutti first joined the family one Halloween night when Marie's aunt was celebrating with the family.

"We had the old fashioned tradition of opening the front door and the back door to let the bad spirits out and the new spirits in.

"This kitten came through the front door – she would have been six to seven months of age, if that," Marie said.

"We asked around the area but nobody claimed her. I think because of all the fireworks she had come from a greater journey. She latched onto my aunt.

"We took her to have her neutered, and the same vet has been looking after her from then until now.

"We will probably go through him to let them know her age – he has her whole case history."

And Tutti-Frutti is a cat who knows what she wants, by all accounts.

"She loves TV, she loves anything musical like X Factor and Britain's Got Talent," Marie said.

The cat is also a big fan of Happy by Pharrell Williams, she added.

"She sits on my lap and her head goes backwards and forwards," she said.

"She doesn't like violent movies. She goes up to her bed if CSI is on and people are shooting each other."

Unlike most cats, Tutti-Frutti doesn't indulge in milk – instead she prefers filtered water and takes supplements, a regime Marie credits for her good health.

"She had arthritis, but I've been studying nutrition and I put her on a supplement programme and it's gone.

"She's got better, there's been no more lumps in her back or arthritis. I put on coconut oil after my shower and I put some on her fur. She loves it – she licks it off my fingers. She's the boss, she rules the roost here.

"She has her own room off my room, a wee en suite where her litter tray is – she's very clean.

"When you're making a snack she will come and look for a bit.

"She loves mature cheese and she loves dark chocolate."

World's oldest animals

In autumn 2006 a team of researchers found an ocean quahog, a type of clam, in Iceland that was 507 years old – the world's oldest animal.

Giant tortoise Lonesome George, of the Galapagos Islands, believed to be the last of his species, has been around for roughly 100 years, but his most famous relative, Harriet, who died in 2006, is said to have been born in 1830.

Charlie the macaw – aka Charlie the Curser – is rumoured to have belonged to Winston Churchill. His owner believes he was born in 1899.

The oldest polar bear on record is Debby, who was a resident at Assiniboine Park Zoo in Canada until her death in 2008 at the age of 42.

In 2007 researchers studying a bowhead whale near Alaska found a fragment of a hunting weapon under its blubber. It was similar to those used by hunters in 1890s, putting the whale's estimated age somewhere around 130.

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