Meeting the World's Oldest Pets
Most animal lovers have heard wild and crazy stories about pets who have lived well past their life expectancy. Some of us may have even met or owned the odd twenty-year-old dog or cat and called ourselves lucky, but how long can our common companions really last? Join me on a journey across the globe in search of only the most geriatric of pets. Here we shall meet some truly shocking record breakers.
World's Oldest Dogs
When I started looking into this record, I thought for sure the winner would be a Jack Russel or some other type of little dog. Actually, the current record holder for the world's oldest dog goes to an Australian Shepherd named Bluey. Bluey lived on a farm in Australia after he was born on the 7th of June, 1910. From here he went on to live a long life with owners Les and Esma Hall, happily herding sheep for over twenty years, until his death on the 14th of November, 1939. Even then he didn't die naturally in his sleep, as you would expect, he passed after being put to sleep. He was a grand twenty-nine years and 160 days old. There may have been other dogs even older but Bluey holds the record because his birth and death could be verified. I have spent some time trying to find who the current living oldest dog is, but this seems a heated and contentious issue with many of the runners-up being adopted from shelters without verifiable birth dates, all being around twenty-two years of age. Besides this, I couldn't find anything more current than 2010, which is not by any means current. So, who has the oldest living dog? This question will have to go unanswered for today.
World's Oldest Cats
If you thought the world's oldest dog was impressive, then you simply must meet the world's oldest cat. He was a domestic mix named Crème Puff. Crème Puff got to witness a great deal of history in his unusually long life. He was born August 3, 1967, and died thirty-eight years and three days later on August 6, 2005. He was owned by Jake Perry, who got to enjoy the limelight of his very special cats for several years more, owning what at the time was the world's oldest living cat, Granpa. Granpa did not break his playmate's record, but he did make it to the ripe old age of thirty-four and some change. Both cats enjoyed eating a great deal of people food including broccoli, asparagus, cream, and even coffee. Is this what made both last so long? Or was it in the water? All we know for sure is it wasn't genetic, as they were not related. The current living oldest cat seems to go to another Texas resident named Scooter, who is a Siamese enjoying his early thirties. Not only is he a record holder, he's also an animal of great intrigue, having traveled to 45 of the 50 United States. He's reportedly an active cat who loves people and visiting nursing homes.
World's Oldest Rat
This record has been on the books for quite a while, since 1995, so I am surprised it hasn't been broken yet. Fancy rats generally live to be around two years of age. Many years ago I raised these wonderful little beasties, and my record was a neutered male I got from the shelter who lived to be four. Four was still several years short of Rodney the Rat, currently listed in the Guinness Book of World Records of having lived to be seven years and four months! Rodney was not a pet but a lab animal, although I have not been able to find what he was being used to research.
World's Oldest Hermit Crab
Hermit crabs are terribly odd things to even have in the pet trade. Most people look at them like they're little more than moving rocks. As such, most do not live long in captivity, but Johnathan Livingston Crab of Florida has changed all that. He, well she, really, is in her forties now and still going strong, having outlasted her cage mate of thirty-five years. Her owner, Carol Ann Ormes, is in her eighties now and is a legend herself within the hermit crab community. She allows her unusual pet a great deal of freedom, allowed to run around her house in a pretty free-range situation. She also takes her out visiting, and on special occasions, allows her companion to eat lobster tail—apparently only the shell of which is worth munching on if you're a hermit crab. With a life like that, I think Johnathan Livingston Crab will probably be around for quite a bit longer!
World's Oldest Goldfish
I know what you're thinking, goldfish don't live that long, especially if you buy them from Wal-Mart—they last what? Three weeks? But actually kept in the right environment, goldfish can last a long time. Tish was one of those very special fish. He was won as a prize in a fair game in 1956. From here, it was Hilda Hand who took care of him for the next forty-three years. Tish had another fishy companion in the beginning, Tosh, but outlived him by several decades as Tosh died at nineteen years of age. Tish lived in a bowl in Yorkshire England and actually went gray with age turning from a vibrant orange to a gentlemanly silver. He died of natural causes and his owner, not surprisingly, says she has no intention of ever trying to replace him. The current oldest goldfish is probably Splash, another fish won at a British fairground in 1977. The last mention of him I could find was when he was celebrating his 38th birthday. No word if he's still alive or if he beat Tish's record . . .
World's Oldest Parrots
Parrots are notoriously long-lived but also horribly difficult pets. This means that although there are rumors of parrots living into their 100s, these birds likely went through a lot of owners; proving their age is nearly impossible. So for now, the record goes to a somewhat younger bird, Cookie the Cockatoo, who was one of the original animals at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago when it opened in 1934. She outlived all the other animals and died at the age of 83 after a brief illness.
World's Oldest Horses
This particular record breaker, if true, has to be one of the most stunning I have come across. Most horses live to be between 25-30 years old when they're allowed to reach their natural end. However, a stallion by the name of Old Billy didn't get that memo. He was a barge horse in Woolston England that died in 1822 at the astonishing age of sixty-two. It does not appear he enjoyed a life of luxury, instead, it seems as if he was worked well into his twilight years past the time his "bones exuded from his skin." He was, however, a local celebrity and still has a bit of a cult (or is it colt?) following because his head and skull were preserved and are still on display today at the Warrington Museum and Art Gallery. Currently, there is a lot of dispute on who has the oldest living horse but most contenders are in their early fifties.