Editor's note: Sadly, Nutmeg passed away on Aug. 29, 2017. He was about 32 years old. "He kept outliving all of his nine lives," wrote the Westway Veterinary Group on a Facebook post. This story was written as a tribute to his longevity on his 31st birthday.
* * *
Meet Nutmeg. At 31, he may very well be the oldest cat in the world. And at the equivalent of around 140 human years old, Nutmeg, "rules the house and is absolutely gorgeous," at least according to his humans.
Nutmeg wandered into the backyard of Liz and Ian Finlay's home in England back in 1990. He befriended Spice, the Finlays' cat at the time, and had some medical issues that needed attention. So Liz and Ian took in the sweet cat and brought him to their local animal rescue center where they were told that he was definitely an adult cat and likely around 5 years old. They also cleared up the abscesses that were on the cat's neck.
That was 26 years ago and since that time, the Finlays have celebrated Nutmeg's birthday in March every year — commemorating the day that he wandered into their yard. If he were really 5 years old when they found him, that would make him 31 now, easily the oldest cat in the world. Even if he were only two when they found him (which he likely was in order for the veterinarian to declare him an adult) he would be 28, still much older than 26-year-old Corduroy, the cat who currently holds the Guinness World Record as the world's oldest cat.
Nutmeg celebrates his 31st birthday with veterinarian Laura Gilles and owners Liz and Ian Finlay. (Photo: Westway Veterinary Group/Facebook)
There's only one catch in certifying Nutmeg as the new, world's oldest cat. In order to qualify for Guinness World Record status, the Finlays need to provide documentation verifying their cat's age. And that's difficult to do since he was a stray. For starters, they are trying to dig up the records from the animal rescue center where they took him 26 years ago.
The Finlays thought they might lose Nutmeg last September when the tabby suffered a serious stroke. But the staff as Westway Veterinary Centre in Newcastle gave him the life-saving treatment he needed to survive.
"We have no children so he is our baby," the Finlays said in an interview with the Daily Mirror. Even if we go away, we have people come in and look after him. He had a lovely brown coat when we got him and now he is going grey, but he is doing well for his age."
So what is Nutmeg's secret to staying young and healthy?
"He is not our cat, we are his humans and he never lets us forget that. Maybe that is the secret to his long and happy life," said the Finlays.
In order to claim the title of the world's oldest cat of all time, Nutmeg will need to live a little longer. That title is held by a cat named Crème Puff from Austin, Texas, who lived for 38 years and three days.