Faithful Companions: Meet the World's Oldest Cats and Dogs Still Alive Today

From the Texas tabby cat who lived for nearly four decades to the pup who just turned 31, learn about some of the oldest cats and dogs in history — and some possible reasons for their longevity.

By Matt Benoit
Jun 29, 2023 7:00 PMJul 6, 2023 3:09 PM
Tabby cat
(Credit: Pavlina Popovska/Getty Images)

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Out of all the hundreds of millions of cats and dogs alive on the earth, only a rare few live well beyond what’s considered their species’ average lifespans.

For cats, that’s generally considered to be 12 to 15 years, with a fair number of felines making it to between 17 and 20. For dogs, it’s usually 10 to 13 years, with great variability given a dog’s breed and particular circumstances.

But whether it’s a quirk of genetics, a perfect blend of diet and exercise, or the undying love of an owner, some of these furry friends have nearly doubled those numbers.

Here are some of the world’s oldest cats and dogs:

Oldes Dogs On Record

In November 1939, a female Australian Cattle Dog named Bluey was euthanized at the age of 29 years and 5 months. For decades, Guinness World Records (GWR) considered this livestock-chasing pooch the world’s oldest dog.

Others came close: a Labrador Retriever named Adjutant reached 27 years and 98 days in 1963, while a Welsh Sheepdog named Taffy was 27 years and 211 days old when it died in March 2003; both were raised in the United Kingdom.


Read More: Why Do Small Dogs Live Longer Than Large Dogs?


Who Is the World's Oldest Dog?

In 2023, Bluey’s long-standing record was smashed by a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo from Portugal. Named “Bobi,” the dog was officially awarded the title of world’s oldest dog by GWR in February, just before its 31st birthday on May 11. The dog’s birthday party attracted around 100 human guests.

According to GWR, Bobi has lived his entire life in the rural village of Conqueiros, eats only human food (with pieces of meat dipped in water to remove seasonings) and has never been chained or leashed. Bobi’s owner, Leonel Costa, told GWR that his longevity might well be attributed to their peaceful environment, as well as the frequent socializing he has had with other dogs. Bobi also drinks copious amounts of water.

Despite issues with walking and eyesight, the elderly pup continues living his best life with Costa, now 38, who was just 8 years old when Bobi was born.


Read More: How Often Should You Take Your Dog to the Vet? Full Guide


The World's Oldest Cat Was a Texan

The world’s oldest cat has a lot to do with the Lone Star State — and not just because its owner, Jake Perry, was from Austin, Texas.

Born in 1967 — during the presidency of Texan Lyndon B. Johnson — a mixed tabby cat named "Crème Puff" passed away in 2005 during the presidency of former Texas governor George W. Bush. When he died, Crème Puff was three days past his 38th birthday.

Perry, a plumber, had another cat who ranked among the oldest alive. His part Sphynx, part Devon Rex, named "Granpa Rex Allen," was also among the world’s oldest cats when he died at age 34 in 1998. Perry even invited Bill Clinton to the cat’s 34 birthday party; a card from the president, expressing his regret at being unable to attend, later arrived in Perry’s mail.

Only one other cat allegedly exceeded Crème Puff’s age. In 2011, a feline named Lucy was recognized in British media for being 39 years old, but GWR still recognizes the Texan kitty as the certified record holder.


Read More: Cat Lifespan Demystified: How Long Do Cats Live?


The Oldest Cat In the World Today

There's a fair bit of uncertainty over the world’s oldest living cat today.

In Nov. 2022, GWR certified "Flossie" — a brown and black British kitty with diminishing eyesight and no hearing — as the world’s oldest living feline at 26 years, 316 days. The cat has since celebrated its 27th birthday.

Like Bobi the dog or Crème Puff, Flossie is certified because her age can be absolutely confirmed by veterinary records. It's been claimed that other animals, however, are even older.

Take "Great Grandma Wad," a Siamese cat living in Thailand, who's allegedly 36 years old and still going strong, save for some bad teeth, according to a 2021 Yahoo article. Similarly, a British tortoiseshell cat named Rosie is believed to be 32 years old, having recently celebrated a birthday with a small salmon cake.

GWR has yet to certify either cat.


Read More: 8 Do's and Don'ts for Communicating with Your Cat


Why Did These Pets Live So Long?

In a 2015 Atlas Obscura profile, Perry said that of the hundreds of cats he’d adopted and re-homed since the 1980s, roughly a third lived to be 30 years old. In the article, Perry’s veterinarian said he believed at least a half dozen of the man’s cats reached that age, but had little clue as to why.

Perry said their unusually long lives stemmed at least in-part from their diets: dry commercial cat food supplemented by “a home-cooked breakfast” of eggs, turkey bacon, broccoli and coffee with cream. Every two days, Perry also gave his cats an eyedropper full of red wine. It was, he insisted, to help their arteries and blood flow.

Despite the fact that caffeine, alcohol and human food are not recommended to be the cornerstone of any cat’s diet, it didn’t seem to negatively affect Crème Puff and Granpa Rex Allen.


Read More: Do Pets Have a Positive Effect on Your Cognitive Health?


Other Reasons for Their Longevity

Perry also made sure his cats kept busy. He converted a garage into a home movie theater and played nature documentaries — complete with previews — just for them. Perry’s home was also allegedly filled with tracks along its walls, enabling the cats to run around “like hamsters in tubes,” a neighbor said.

Perry also made sure all his cats were spayed. In the Atlas Obscura piece, Jessica Hoffman, a biologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, posits that sterilizing animals might help extend their life spans. While a PhD candidate at the University of Georgia, she dug through over 40,000 dog death records and found spayed dogs lived one to two years longer than those that weren’t. The research was published in the journal PLOS One in 2013.

Still, even that doesn’t fully explain house cats living twice as long as normal. But what is certain is that while these pets have lived unusually long lives, their owners might be even luckier — having reaped the benefits of unconditional love from their furry companions.


Read More: What To Do If Your Pet Is Struggling With Anxiety


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