Northern Ireland cat Sasha could be world's oldest at 31
A cat that was badly treated and abandoned when she was young could be on her way into the record books - as the oldest feline in world at the age of 31.
Sasha, who is the equivalent of more than 160 human years, may not have had the best start in life, but for the past 25 years she has had plenty of love, care and attention bestowed upon her.
Owner Beth O'Neill from Newtownabbey discovered Sasha in a very forlorn state at stables near her home in 1991 and took her to the local vet to have her checked out.
Battered and bruised, Sasha was estimated to be five years old when she came to live with Beth, and came to rule the roost.
Beth has contacted the Guinness Book of Records because it is believed Sasha could be the oldest cat in the world.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Beth explained: "I was up at the stables one day and saw this wee cat, crying and crying.
She could hardly walk or move and a Jack Russell that was at the stables was looking to maul her and she hadn't even the ability to get out of the dog's way. She had a big dent on her side, but I was scared to bring her home in case she had cat flu and knew she didn't belong to anyone.
"She was checked by the vet who said there was nothing wrong with her and the dent was an old injury from when someone had either kicked her or she was hit by a car, but it was doing her no harm. In fact, he said it would only put her through more pain by trying to fix it because it was an old injury, so she was left with the permanent reminder of whatever had happened her.
"He put her age at five years plus and her sniffle was just a sniffle and not cat flu, so me and my daughter brought her home. I believe whoever had her was bad to her, but she has a fantastic nature.
"Having said that, she was always able to put my two dogs in their place and she still can. If they don't heed her, she puts her claws out and shows them who the boss is.
"She has lived a full life, and often took herself off for adventures in the neighbourhood, sometimes for days at a time - but she always came home."
The average lifespan for a domesticated cat is between 13 and 17 years, and Sasha isn't the only cat reaping the benefits of being cared for by Beth.
"My daughter's cat Nico lives here too. Nico is 24, so we must be doing something right.
"Sasha is an old lady now and can't hear any more but she isn't doing too bad. She has had a operation at the vets and she came through that. While she was at the vets they mentioned that Sasha could be the oldest cat in the world. A cat in Texas was the oldest, but it died last year. It would be fantastic if Sasha does get the record.
"Who would have believed that that battered moggie who walked into the stables all those years ago could end up famous?"
By coincidence, the vet from Vets4Pets in Newtownabbey who operated on Sasha is called Sasha Frazer.
Beth said: "It's simply fantastic to have Sasha home thanks to the amazing skills of Sasha (the vet), and it's lovely when she calls out to check I'm there or to ask for food.
"She sleeps most of the time now, but on sunny days still takes herself into the garden to enjoy the warmth. She isn't as agile as she used to be, so climbing the fence to see the neighbours is beyond her. I don't know how many lives she has left, but she's definitely made the most of her 31 years and who knows how many more she has left?"