Tag: wet food

Guinness Certifies 27-Year-Old As World’s Oldest Cat

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.

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Flossie enjoys a snooze. Credit: Guinness World Records

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.”

Flossie the cat
Flossie with Green and their official Guinness World Records certificate. Credit: Guinness World Records

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.

How Much Does It Cost To Care For A Cat?

Two stories published in recent days give wildly varying estimates of how much it costs for the privilege of serving a cat.

First we should note that both reports assume the cats are adopted in kittenhood and the average lifespan of a cat is 15 years. That’s in line with current data showing well cared-for, indoor-only cats live between 12 and 18 years, with outliers on both ends. It’s not uncommon to hear about cats living well into their 20s just as some cats sadly pass on before their time, whether due to natural causes, illness or accidents.

A Texas cat named Creme Puff is the Guinness World Record holder for longest-lived house cat, holding on for an astonishing 38 years until her death in 2005.

Caring for a house panther can cost between $4,250 and $31,200 over kitty’s lifetime, according to an analysis of associated costs by The Ascent, a vertical of financial literacy site The Motley Fool.

Kitty Cash
“My moneys, human! MINE! Unpaw those bills!” Credit:@catsandmoney/Twitter

The estimates break costs down into recurring expenses — which include food, treats, litter and veterinary care — and fixed expenses like scratching posts, toys, additional cat furniture, bowls, grooming tools and similar items.

Not surprisingly, the biggest expense is food, the cost of which has been exacerbated by inflation, rising fuel costs and lingering supply chain issues that caused a cascade effect during the pandemic. Everything from sourcing metal for cat food tins to meat availability was impacted as ports were closed and meat processing plants were shuttered at various points since early 2020.

An unrelated estimate from OnePoll, based on a survey commissioned by pet food company Solid Gold, put the lifetime estimate of cat servitude at $25,304. Like the Motley Fool analysis, OnePoll’s respondents cited food as the primary expense, followed by veterinary care.

The wide range from the Motley Fool analysis could be attributable to geography, how well the cat is fed, and how many extra things caretakers do for their cats. A person who lives in Manhattan, splurges on bespoke feline furniture and buys ultra-premium cat food at almost $3 a can is going to spend significantly more than an eastern European cat servant who feeds raw or home-cooked food and builds their own ledge loungers and scratching apparatus.

Teh Bank of Kitteh
“Welcome to Teh Bank of Kitteh, you may make a deposit but not withdraw!” Credit: @catsandmoney/Twitter

Here in New York the cost of cat food in local grocery stores has spiked dramatically, but online prices have remained steady. Keeping in mind we’ve never really endorsed any particular brand or vendor on PITB, I switched from occasionally buying food online to Chewy auto-shipments during the pandemic because Bud’s favorite food was becoming very difficult to find locally, and that arrangement has worked out cost-wise as well.

Bud’s a true Pain In The Bud when it comes to “leftovers” so his primary wet food is Sheba Perfect Portions. It’s reasonably priced, comes in variety packs and helps avoid waste since each meal comes in its own 1.3oz recyclable blister-like plastic package. (Recycling is especially important with these single-serve packages, tiny as they are.) His dry food is Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Chicken recipe, although occasionally I’ll buy the weight control version of the same dry food when it looks like Little Man has gotten a bit chubby. He doesn’t protest, thankfully.

I feed him two 1.3oz wet meals a day and fill his dry bowl less than halfway at night so he can have his late snack and doesn’t have to wake me up if and when he gets hungry overnight. Sometimes I’m dimly aware of him sliding off me, padding over to his little dining nook and munching on dry food before hopping back onto the bed and dozing off again.

Overall it works out to about $21 a month, so I’d call it an even $25 with treats. You can schedule your auto-ship at any interval you choose, edit it at any time, and prompt the shipment immediately if you’re running out of food, so you can save more by ordering a few months’ worth of food at a time and taking advantage of free shipping on orders of more than $50.

Has inflation impacted cat food prices in your local area? How much does it cost to feed your cat(s) every month?

Rich Kitty
“I’m a nip dealer, so what? Stop judging!”

Entrepreneurial Cat Introduces ‘SmartHuman’ Feeding System

NEW YORK — Life is full of unpleasantness, like being able to see the bottom of your bowl. But what if someone told you he could fix that?

Enter Buddy the Cat’s SmartHuman Feeding System™, a device that harnesses the power of AI and cutting-edge hardware to make sure you never see the bottom of your bowl again.

SmartHuman was designed with weight sensors and an AI-enabled camera system to determine when the food in your bowl is getting low. If the on-board algorithms detect low levels of kibble, SmartHuman sends a text to your servant every 15 seconds until the device registers fresh kibble in the bowl.

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And if the unthinkable should happen and you really are subjected to the horrific sight of the bottom of your bowl, SmartHuman’s built-in klaxon and emergency lights guarantee your human servants won’t have a second’s peace until they do what they’re supposed to and promptly refill your bowl. The system even requires the human to issue an apology before the sound and lights subside.

“I haven’t had to meow in annoyance or raise a paw once since I got the SmartHuman system,” raved Def the Defenestrator, a popular catfluencer with more than 240,000 followers on Meower. “The threat of getting bombarded with 110-decibel alerts to refill my bowl is enough to make my human servant get off her lazy behind and make sure my bowl is refilled before there’s a problem.”

The SmartHuman’s inventor has a background in feline teleportation and string cheese theory, but was prompted to design his device when he saw the bottom of his dry food bowl twice in as many months.

“I was literally starving,” Buddy said, adding that his “lazy human servant made me wait four minutes and 13 seconds before he refilled my bowl” during the second incident.

Vowing never to go hungry again, the entrepawneur built the first SmartHuman prototype in his garage, using a Raspberry Pi and a digital scale he ordered off Amazon.

He brought his idea to Shark Tank in late 2021 and successfully pitched Mr. Wonderful, who bought a 15 percent stake in SmartHuman™ in exchange for a $150,000 investment. The product entered production earlier this summer and is now available in stores and online.

“Cats love the SmartHuman™, but humans? Not so much,” Buddy the Cat admitted.

Mr. Wonderful
Mr. Wonderful (Kevin O’Leary) outbid fellow Sharks Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran and Laurie Greiner to partner with Buddy the Cat and invest in SmartHuman™.

Not one to rest on his laurels, the inventive feline said he’s working on a software update that will make the device compatible with wet food as well. In early beta testing, SmartHuman successfully prompted humans to feed wet food to their feline masters on time. Wet Mode includes a new feature as well: If the wet food remains untouched after a three-minute timer elapses, SmartHuman sends another text to the human, informing them the food isn’t satisfactory and should be replaced with another meal.

“Humans are stupid, and they don’t understand when we meow to them in complaint because we don’t feel like eating tuna or whatever on a given night when we’d prefer turkey,” Buddy said. “When this update goes live, cats will be able to enjoy meals of their choosing, every time.”

Cat Food Is Loaded With Mystery Ingredients, Study Says

We’ve all heard the oft-quoted factoid claiming domestic cats kill billions of birds and small animals every year, and unsurprisingly that number is contested and controversial.

One reason skeptics doubt those numbers is because researchers didn’t observe cat behavior and extrapolate the ecological impact — they handed out questionnaires to owners and asked them how often their cats brought dead animals home. To get accurate results, researchers have to be confident people are answering honestly and have reliable memories. It’s really not the best way to do a study.

So a team at North Carolina State University came up with a better way to measure cat predation on wildlife: They’d take hair samples from more than 400 cats, which would reveal how much of their diets consist of cat food versus prey.

Hair analysis can reveal different isotopes, so the team would be able to directly note each cat’s diet by distinguishing between pet food isotopes and those from prey animals. As the team explained:

A common way to understand the composition of animal diets is to collect samples of fur, nails, or blood from an animal and analyze its carbon and nitrogen isotopes. All organic materials contain isotopes of elements that get locked into body tissues, following the basic principle that you are what you eat. For example, the ratios of nitrogen isotopes present in carnivores are dependably distinct from those of plant eaters. Similarly, researchers can distinguish the types of plants that an animal eats by measuring the ratio of carbon isotopes.

It was a good idea, but the study was derailed by an unexpected discovery: No one knows what the heck is in pet food.

Cat food manufacturers fill their products with mystery ingredients, the team found, which means one bag of kibble or one can of wet food doesn’t have the same ingredients as the next, even if they’re the same flavor from the same company.

Cat Eating
Although they can meow in protest, our cats can’t tell us their food tastes different. (Source)

Additionally, pet food manufacturers can — and do — change what they put in their products without notifying customers or acknowledging the changes on the packaging.

As a result, the research team couldn’t identify which isotopes were from cat food and which ones were from hunted meals.

“We really thought this was going to be an ideal application of the isotope methodology,” said scientist Roland Kays, a co-author of the study. “Usually these studies are complicated by the variety of food a wild animal eats, but here we had the exact pet food people were giving their cats.”

That discovery essentially rendered the study useless for its original purpose, but like all good scientists, the North Carolina State team realized that failure reveals just as much as success, even if it’s not necessarily what you’re looking for.

They published their results in the journal PeerJ, explaining what they’d learned.

“This isn’t what we aimed to study, but it is important in as much as there are hundreds of millions of cats (perhaps more) on Earth,” said Rob Dunn, a professor in NC State’s Department of Applied Ecology and co-author of the study. “The diets of cats, dogs and domestic animals have enormous consequences for global sustainability, cat health and much else. But they are very non-transparent. In short, at the end of this study we are still ignorant about why some cats kill more wildlife than others, and we have also found we are ignorant about something else, the shifting dynamics of ‘Big Pet Food.'”

kitteneating
A happy kitten. (Source: ICanHazCheezburger)

As veterinarian Shawn Messonnier put it in an editorial for Pet Age, “the pet food industry remains shrouded in mystery about what’s really inside the pet food bag and how it’s created.”

Calling for more transparency in the manufacture and packaging of pet food, Messonnier pointed out ingredients can have a drastic effect on the health of our furry friends.

“For pet parents, a big leap of faith is required of them because unlike fresh human food, you can’t visually verify the ingredients used, their sources, freshness or the safeness of their handling,” he wrote. “Label language can be difficult to discern, too, so people rely mostly on the observations and opinions of friends and family they trust. Inevitably, people hope what goes in the bowl will translate into well-being and happiness for their dog or cat.”