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December 15, 2015 11:19 AM   Subscribe

The caretaker of the oldest cats in the world shares his methods for cat longevity: love, home cooked breakfasts, and nature documentary screenings.
posted by jamaro (41 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
 
This man is my hero.

I have a glorious Old Lady Cat who just turned 17. I don't know if she'd much care for any of his recommended methods, though, but Chubby Cat could probably benefit as she is only 6.
posted by Kitteh at 11:27 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


We had a cat for around 25 years.
Our method- we fed him, and let him do whatever he wanted- inside, outside...
He was just lucky. (If you consider being a 25-year -old cat lucky- not so much towards the end.)
Then one day he ran out the door like we hadn't seen him move in a year, as if to say 'Bye', and he didn't come back.
posted by MtDewd at 11:31 AM on December 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


Now I feel guilty. Should I be leaving the TV on for my kitten at home with some nature movies on?
posted by cacofonie at 11:38 AM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I used to leave CBC Radio One on for our cats until Shepherd pointed out that they weren't probably paying attention to the programming anyway. They are engaged when they watch TV with us on the couch though. I could swear Chubby Cat has a fondness for Agents of SHIELD.
posted by Kitteh at 11:40 AM on December 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


cacofonie-- my cat is a huge fan of the the cartoon 'Archer', so I wouldn't limit yours to strictly nature documentaries.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 11:41 AM on December 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Our cat Nancy seems to be overly fond of old Noir movies on TCM. Many times I've had on The Third Man or Casablanca or The Maltese Falcon or $OTHERTITLE and have found her in meatloaf position in the middle of the living room floor actively looking at the television.

Rocky doesn't give a shit what is on television -- he just cares that a human is sitting still and can be used as a heat source.
posted by hippybear at 11:48 AM on December 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


I am NOT feeding my bitey, manic, jumping bean of a Siamese mix ANY amount of coffee.

I do cook my cats their wet food though.
posted by angeline at 11:50 AM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Our cat doesn't really like video of any kind, but then she doesn't like much - she hates the musical stylings of Leonard Cohen and Owen Pallett, for example, which creates regular conflict at our house. I should see if I can find something for her to kill - she likes that.
posted by Frowner at 12:10 PM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Should I be leaving the TV on for my kitten at home with some nature movies on?

Paul Dinning's YouTube channel.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:12 PM on December 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Bellatrix LOOOOVES the opening credits of Game of Thrones
posted by supermedusa at 12:14 PM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


One of the cats we had when I was growing up was obsessed with cows. We lived out in the country and she'd accompany my mother out to the end of the drive to pick up the mail, and watch the cows in the pasture across the road for a while if they were in that part of the field at the time.

She never showed any interest in the TV until one day when I rented a copy of Top Secret. When the scene with the cow in boots showed up, she sat up and stared at the TV, riveted. The scene cut away and she lost interest. The cow returned, and she was fascinated again.

I often thought about trying to find a video of cows to show her, but it was the 80s and I had no idea where to get one.
posted by telophase at 12:19 PM on December 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


More than anything else, my large and violent boy cat would watch Hannibal along with us...with intense focus.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 12:43 PM on December 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


she hates the musical stylings of Leonard Cohen

i had this problem myself. i can't stand his voice. try buying her a copy of The Spice-Box of Earth instead.
posted by echocollate at 1:05 PM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Do cats like broccoli? Is that a thing? is it healthy for them?
posted by rebent at 1:27 PM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am... skeptical. My wife and I have worked in veterinary medicine for over 30 years combined now, and we've never seen a cat older than 26. I have seen a fair share of 20-year-old cats, but there's no way I'd put money on any of them making it to 30, much less 38. I mean, he seems like a delightful guy, and I'm glad he loves his cats so much and has done so much for them, and I'm generally a credulous guy, but I'd need to see some pretty solid evidence before I believe they are living well into their 30s.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:33 PM on December 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


First, there was their daily diet: on top of dry commercial cat food, a home-cooked breakfast of eggs, turkey bacon, broccoli, coffee with cream, and—every two days—about an eyedropper full of red wine to “circulate the arteries.”

I wonder how much of this amounts to having a lot of daily comforts to look forward to.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:55 PM on December 15, 2015


My eldest girl, Bella, is 15 now. She seems to be doing pretty okay, though does dodder around a little bit, and can be a bit scrowly with the other cats. She's had a decent life, I hope, always fed good food and given love when she wants it and left alone when she prefers to be left alone.

I was never a cat person until Bella showed up. In fact I had been raised by my father and brothers to hate them, irrationally. An ex I was living with said "let's get a cat" and I said "let's not" and I came home from work and this little kitten was there. So tiny and I loved her right away. I remember one time we had put her on the bed and were just playing handsies with her and she started to do a big wee and I panicked and didn't know what to do so I figured a good idea would be to tip her on her side and so I did that and she kept weeing.

She does seem to be hungry all the time now, and is permanently at the lowest end of her acceptable weight range. We've had her checked by multiple vets and none of them report any obvious reason for it. All her tests come out ok, no worms. Just a thing? I don't know. I don't want her to go but I know she will one day.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:12 PM on December 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


More than anything else, my large and violent boy cat would watch Hannibal along with us...with intense focus.

My cat likes it when the squeaky rats eat the corpses on Criminal Minds.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:15 PM on December 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


My last two are 17 year old siblings. Both are healthy for their ages and history, but Rudy the male has early indications of kidney failure and is in a special diet and Sybil has had respiratory problems her whole life. At one time we had 10 indoor cats, all problem cats in one way or another. Living alone now, so no more large families, but I can't imagine living without cats.
posted by jgaiser at 3:03 PM on December 15, 2015


One of our cats, who I adopted in 2004 when my mom died, is at least 19 years old. (She was with my mom for at least seven years and was at least two when my mom rescued her.) Neither my husband or I like her, partly because she is the stupidest cat either of us has ever met (e.g. although she always enters and leaves through the same door, she can't remember which side it opens on), and partly because she is a pee machine. We do not share our dislike with her -- we pet her, talk to her, and pamper her. But not so secretly we keep hoping she will die sometime soon. We saw a ray of hope months and months ago, when she was diagnosed with kidney disease, but her special food for cats with kidney disease, which she loves, seems to have given her a new lease on life.

During her time with us we have lost beloved cats and dogs who received the best of veterinary and personal care. This cat continues. I cannot bear the thought that she'll be with us for ANOTHER 11 years. I'll just have to hope the falsity of our love, the absence of nature screenings except the real life ones she sees outside, and the dearth of home cooked breakfasts will do her in.
posted by bearwife at 3:23 PM on December 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


The article mentions that Perry had pancreatic cancer but is now free of it? Guy has some serious mojo working.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 3:32 PM on December 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Some of it must be due to the fact that this guy would notice instantly if something was different about one of the cats, right? Different sleeping position, different set to the ears, anything. Cat goes to vet, problem nipped in bud.

This is especially impressive given that these were apparently shelter cats and therefore not related, though. Family longevity is supposedly the best predictor of lifespan in humans by some dramatic margin, far better than diet, exercise, etc.
posted by ostro at 3:51 PM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I feel you bearwife. My roommate has an 18+ year-old cat - I've known the dude for 18 years and I'm pretty sure he's had her (the cat) the whole time - and... Well it was bad enough when she would just perch at the edge of the litter box and pee off the side but in the last few months it has become a literal crapshoot whether she uses the box at all. Not to mention the puking. And while obviously her owner has been my friend for a long time he's really not the guy you'd want responsible for an incontinent cat. Anyway this morning I got an exasperated call from my distaff counterpart telling me there had been an unprecedented downstairs - that's where we live! - diarrhea attack. The smell woke her up! And then I saw this.

So, uh - does anyone know a humane way to guarantee that a cat will not make it to 30? Or have experience with kitty diapers?
posted by atoxyl at 4:04 PM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's seriously ruining cats for me. I used to really like cats!
posted by atoxyl at 4:07 PM on December 15, 2015


he's really not the guy you'd want responsible for an incontinent cat.

That guy has a lot of seriously bad news about aging coming his way.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:31 PM on December 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


atoxyl, see if you can convince your roommate to take his cat in for a vet visit, the onset of persistent vomiting and diarrhea in elderly cats can be a symptom of larger health issues (such as hyperthyroidism or pancreatitis).

The cat might also need a shallower litter-box, they get arthritic as well and she might just not be up for balancing on a 4" high ledge to do her business anymore. A litter-filled cookie pan works well for elder cats.
posted by jamaro at 4:33 PM on December 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


And also, Cat Attract litter, which will help her dimming senses find the litter box. Few of us—cats and people—age gracefully, it's worth exploring ways to alleviate the issues that are making both the household and the cat uncomfortable rather than taking it all as par for the course.
posted by jamaro at 4:42 PM on December 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


I should explain that our disliked cat has NEVER been willing to pee in a litter box, no matter how clean, convenient or well placed. It isn't a function of age with her. She is especially fond of peeing on my husband's clothes.

I concur with amaro and others here that it sounds like your roommate's cat needs to get to the vet ASAP.
posted by bearwife at 4:51 PM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm generally a credulous guy, but I'd need to see some pretty solid evidence before I believe they are living well into their 30s.

Apparently the Guinness people require credible documentation before they'll award the record - the previous oldest cat, Granpa, was apparently pedigreed. Granpa came to Mr Perry as a stray, but was distinctive enough that his previous owner was able to identify him and provide paperwork including his birth date. That said, check out the heated fighting about Granpa on Creme Puff's WP page (the vehement assertions about the history of Sphynxes do not appear to be consistent with the current WP history of the breed, and it doesn't matter anyway, since cat breeders keep records irrespective of breed definitions.)

I don't know what the deal is with Creme Puff - she was a tabby, so probably not pedigreed - but it's not outside the realm of the probable that she could have been adopted from a litter tended by a vet, and thus had a documented date of birth.
posted by gingerest at 5:06 PM on December 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


inctive enough that his previous owner was able to identify him and provide paperwork including his birth date.

I'm not 100% confident the cat Perry found at the shelter is the same as the kitten on the paperwork, but it doesn't really matter. He's a good guy and a good friend to cats (but maybe cool it with the coffee).
posted by Rock Steady at 5:33 PM on December 15, 2015


She's been to the vet a few times and given both antibiotics and deworming meds neither of which really solved the problem. I don't know if she's been taken back again concerning the (as it seems to me) worsening incidents. It does seem like she has GI problems of unknown etiology but I think there's also an aspect of kitty dementia at this point.
posted by atoxyl at 6:42 PM on December 15, 2015


I didn't mean to turn this into Ask (though I was considering taking the question there).
posted by atoxyl at 6:43 PM on December 15, 2015


Back when she was just peeing on the (hardwood and affected as you might think but at least I'm not gonna be the one paying for it) floor I thought a larger and shallower box (a ramp?) might help and it's probably still a good idea but she's also started going in really weird places around the house. The Cat Attract stuff looks worthwhile I think it probably does have a lot to do with her senses being increasingly poor.
posted by atoxyl at 6:54 PM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


One of our cats did seem to like watching Big Cat Diary. However, we also showed him 2001, which probably took a couple years off of his life.
posted by ignignokt at 7:16 PM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is this guy a national hero, a saint, a wizard, or all three?
posted by old_growler at 7:33 PM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


When a cat loses complete control of bathroom functions, it's time. They don't want to be in that state. There is no such thing as cat diapers. Such a thing would be cruel. Cats have very delicate skin.
Coffee actually can be helpful if a cat can't urinate. I did save one of my cats using it as an emergency measure. I'm not sure I'd give it as a regular part of the diet.
I would not give a cat wine. That seems dangerous.
Home cooked meals made from cat - friendly foods? Sure! I've done that for cats who didn't feel good.
Another thing, older cats can benefit from antibiotics. My mother's cat got amoxicillin.
I gave my own cats blue cheese once a week. Seemed to do no harm.
Mainly cats like attention. Preferably positive attention.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 7:38 PM on December 15, 2015


A litter-filled cookie pan works well for elder cats.

My older cat has wet poos pretty often and doesn't like using litter then. We've worked out a system where she uses a short stack of packing newsprint paper. Before that she was using old sketchpads, which were also on newsprint. It was some of the best critique I'd ever gotten, to be fair.

I gave my own cats blue cheese once a week. Seemed to do no harm.

I think it was a bit of old soft brie-like cheese that started a downward cycle for one of my cats. It wasn't good.
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:16 PM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah it's the sort of situation where the owner is very attached, having had her since he was a kid, but doesn't really put the effort in to deal with her increasing needs. Anyway enough details about the cat sitch but thanks to everyone who is offering advice!
posted by atoxyl at 8:17 PM on December 15, 2015


I'm not convinced based on two cats. He should run the experiment one more time. Shouldn't be a problem since Ponce de Leon here has discovered the secret of life eternal: turkey bacon and watching TV in the garage. I mean with a regimen like that he'll live to 140 easy.
posted by dgaicun at 10:12 PM on December 15, 2015


One thing you can do for cats that have a problem with the box is get one of those really big Rubbermaid storage totes and cut an entrance on one side like this. It's big enough for them to move around and when they dig or spray it'll stay mostly contained.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:30 PM on December 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Why we outlive our pets.
posted by kisch mokusch at 4:07 AM on December 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


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