Bill Clinton was still in his first term as president of the United States, Oasis and Radiohead ruled the music charts, and millions of people were taking their tentative first steps onto the internet via noisy modems and a service called AOL.
That’s the world Flossie the cat was born into in 1995, and you can imagine her sitting by a fire with some wide-eyed kittens, telling them that back in her day humans didn’t stare at those silly little phone screens all day and the concept of gourmet cat food didn’t exist.
“You kittens today with your snobby grain-free wet food and your doting human parents,” Flossie might say. “Back in my day all we had was Fancy Feast, and if we didn’t eat it, we didn’t get dessert!”
At 26 years and 316 days old as of Thanksgiving Day, Flossie has been verified as the world’s oldest cat by Guinness World Records. That makes the tortoiseshell, at a little more than a month shy of her 27th birthday, the equivalent of 120 human years old.
Flossie is deaf and her vision is deteriorated, but veterinarians say she’s otherwise in good health. Her human, Vicki Green, said she’s surprisingly energetic for her age as well as “so affectionate and playful, [and] especially sweet when you remember how old she is.”
The super senior kitty hasn’t lost her appetite either.
“She never turns her nose up at the chance of a good meal,” Green told Guinness.
Flossie began her life as a stray and has outlived two owners. She lived in a cat colony on the grounds of the now-defunct Mercyside Hospital near Liverpool and was adopted some time in her first year of life. Her human died in 2005, and Flossie was taken in by her human’s sister, who cared for Flossie until her death in 2019. The woman’s son took Flossie and looked after her for a few years, but realized he wasn’t the caretaker she needed.
“It wasn’t an easy decision,” said Naomi Rosling of the UK’s Cats Protection, where Flossie was surrendered. “He sought our help when it was in Flossie’s best interests. Responsible cat ownership is when someone thinks about an animal’s needs above their feelings.”
The staff at Cats Protection thought Flossie might not find a new home since many potential adopters don’t want an ancient cat, but Green has experience caring for older cats. Her previous cat, Honeybun, died at 21 years old.
“I’ve always wanted to give older cats a comfortable later life,” Green said.
The all-time record for longest-lived cat was Creme Puff, a Texas cat who was born on Aug. 3, 1967 and died on Aug. 6, 2005, just after her 38th birthday. Creme Puff was also certified by Guinness, which lists 18 other cats who lived to at least 30 years old. Domestic cats who live indoors, are fed healthy diets and are well taken care of live 16 years on average.