If you own a cat, you will have seen first-hand just how remarkable they are capable of being.
From climbing up ninety-degree walls to leaping across seemingly impossible gaps, they are the ultimate athletes.
But there are also plenty of cat records which relate less to their incredible sporting ability and gymnastic agility and more to their capacity to procreate, put on weight and age!
Below are five feline records that definitely surprised me and will probably surprise you too:
The Largest Cat Litter
As a parent of one, I often look at parents with more kids than me and wonder how on earth do you manage!? One is more than I can handle, so I can only assume that two kids are twice as much work, three kids three times as much work and so on…!
So the record for the largest cat litter is something — is truly mind-boggling! Typical cat litters range between two to eight (with eight being a very big litter) newborn kittens.
So spare a thought for the elegantly named, Tarawood Antigone, owned by Valerie Gane, a four-year-old Burmese cat from Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom, who on August the 7th 1970 gave birth to an enormous litter of 19 kittens!
Sadly four of the kittens were stillborn. The remaining 15 kittens were made up of 14 boys and just one girl kitten!
This is still the largest recorded litter of kittens to date over 48 years later.
Her owner, Valerie, was a cat fanatic who kept herself extremely busy in the cat breeding world both in the UK and across the globe where she was active as both a cat exhibitor and a judge.
It seems that her knowledge and expertise in breeding cats was clearly more than just head knowledge – it was put to good use helping Tarawood Antigone set an incredible record!
The Most Kittens
We can’t talk about kittens without mentioning a very famous cat known as Dusty.
Dusty holds another feline birth related world record. She holds the record for “most kittens given birth to in a lifetime.”
Born in 1935 in Bonham, Texas, USA, Dusty gave birth to a colossal 420 kittens! And since then, no cat has yet to challenge her for the biggest litter record.
Her record estimates out to an average of twenty-five kittens a year in every single year of her life.
The average litter for most cats is around four kittens, so this means that Dusty most likely went through about 105 pregnancies! A feline pregnancy typically lasts sixty days so this equates to 17.26 of being pregnant…basically Dusty was pregnant for her entire life!
Dusty passed away in 1952 after giving birth for the last time in June of 1952 to a solitary kitten.
According to Animal Allies ID an unneutered female cat will typically produce an average of 3 litters per year if it is allowed to roam freely outside and meet tomcats. The average number of kittens per litter is four or five. So in only two years, a female cat and her offspring could produce 225 cats!
Imagine then how quickly Dusty and her many many offspring could have multiplied!
Given how prolific Dusty was and how fast cats breed then there is an incredibly high chance that your cat can be traced back to Dusty, mainly, if you live in the USA, although I’m sure by now (over 60 years later) her genes have spread across the globe!
This highlights the importance of ensuring that you get your cats neutered as soon as possible. Fail to do so, and you could very quickly be overrun with cats!
The Heaviest Pet Cat
Domestic cats are not known for their size, cats have very light skeletons which is part of the reason why they will weigh less than a dog of a similar size, their body structure is low density in comparison.
Typically a healthy cat will weigh around 4-5kg. Maine Coons, one of the larger breeds of domestic cat, may grow as big as 8-9kg which is very big for a cat!
However, even the biggest of Maine Coons is tiny in comparison with a cat called ‘Himmy‘ who lived in Cairns, Queensland, Australia.
Himmy weighed in at a colossal 21.3kg (almost 47lbs) at his heaviest!
Himmy was a desexed cat who didn’t have the best of diets. Himmy enjoyed living in the limelight following setting a Guinness World Records for being the world’s heaviest cat. Sadly, the lifestyle didn’t do him any favors and he passed away at the age of only ten years old as a result of respiratory failure which was caused by his excessive weight.
Himmy’s sad demise serves as an excellent reminder to all of us who keep cats, don’t believe them when they meow at you telling you they are starving when you gave them their dinner only thirty minutes ago.
Many cats will quite happily eat themselves to death if given a chance, so keep your cat’s diet balanced and healthy.
While it may seem like a fun idea to have a huge cat its not good for them and will cause all kinds of health problems which are likely to reduce their quality of life and ultimately significantly shorten the length of their life.
In fact, Guinness World Records now no longer record details about the fattest cats (or pets of any kind) to discourage people from deliberately overfeeding their pets.
The Oldest Cat
Cats on average live to be about fifteen years. A well-looked after indoor cat not exposed to the harsh outdoor world may live slightly beyond twenty years at a push, but you don’t hear of too many cats reaching those sort of ages.
Step forward Creme Puff.
Creme Puff lived in Austin, Texas with his owner Jake Perry. He was born on the 3rd August 1967 and died a colossal 38 years and 3 days later on the 6th August 2005!
The previous record holder was a cat called Granpa Rexs Allen who lived to the venerable age of thirty-four years and two months old. Granpa famously once graced the centerfold of Cat Fancy Magazine. Possibly the most fascinating fact about Granpa Rexs Allen was that he was owned by the very same Jake Perry who owned Creme Puff!
Jake Perry and his cats were featured in a short documentary called “South Paws“.
The secret to his cats living long lives may well be related to the unusually varied (and quite delicious sounding) diet he fed them which consisted of eggs, bacon, broccoli, asparagus and even coffee with thick cream added to it!
While not many vets will recommend feeding your cat a diet like them, there’s something to be said for it!
The Oldest Cat To Become A Mum
Becoming a mum is hard work at any age, but if you’re a 30-year-old cat, it can’t be easy at all.
A 21-year-old cat is said to be the equivalent of 100 human years old, so a 30-year-old cat is an equivalent to 126 human years old!
This is how old Kitty, owned by George Johnstone of Staffordshire in the UK, was when she set a world record by giving birth. Smashing the previous record, held by 28-year-old Smutty, by two years.
Cats are clearly very different physiologically than humans, as a 126-year-old human giving birth is completely unthinkable!
Again, this serves as another reminder to get your cat neutered.
No 30 year old cat wants to be having kittens. They should be seeing their twilight years peacefully, relaxing in front of a nice, warm fire.
About the Author
Daniel is a cat lover who owns a four-year-old black and white rescue cat called Whisky. He loves writing about cats, stroking cats, feeding cats catnip and playing squash (also known as racquetball in some parts of the world).