If cats have nine lives, then Nutmeg might just have used them to the fullest. The Geordie mog was the oldest in the world, reaching a staggering 32 years, before he passed away this week.
His owners, Gateshead couple Liz and Ian Finlay, homed Nutmeg 27 years ago in 1990, when they found him in their garden. Vets estimated that he was five-years-old at the time and thus would have been 32 – or 144 in cat years – when he died this week.
“I feel as though my heart has been ripped out. He was a huge character who was dearly loved,” said Liz Finlay.
Ian added: “I can hardly put into words how much we miss him. It has left a big hole in our lives, but we still feel he is with us in spirit.
“After his death, we just had to get away for a week’s holiday, but it’s done nothing to heal the pain as he was such a special pet.”
Nutmeg wasn’t just the oldest by a few years, but was well older than the previous record breaker. At 32, he had outlasted the previous incumbent – a 26-year-old cat by the name of Corduroy.
Nutmeg baffled vets in his old age, no more so than local specialists Westway Vetinary Group.
“Having cats of 20-21 registered with the practice is becoming more and more common,” said Jason Atheron, their managing director.
“But Nutmeg was a real exception because he was 10 years older than our oldest feline patients.
“Cats are living longer thanks to better nutrition, better care and better monitoring of patients. He was clearly a much-loved family pet to have had such a long, happy life with Mr and Mrs Finlay.”
The Finlays always afforded Nutmeg the finest of care.
“He was checked over by Cat Protection, who said the condition of his teeth made him at least five years old and we owned him for 27 years,” said Mr Finlay.
Cat Protection allowed the Finlays to keep Nutmeg after they presented him to them when he wandered into their garden. They offered the needy cat some food and he never left.
“He knew where he was going to be well off and he particularly loved my wife. He was not our cat – we were his humans and he never let us forget that. I think that was the secret to his long life,” added Mr Finlay.