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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 February, 2005, 18:41 GMT
Cat claiming age world record
Amber the cat
Amber's secret to longevity is her diet of cod, chicken and prawns
A west Wales feline is laying claim to be being the oldest living domestic cat in the world.

Amber was a fully grown stray when she took up residence in Diane Sleeman's Ferryside home in 1978.

Diane thinks she is now approaching 30, which would make her almost five years older than the current record holder, according to Guinness World Records.

Researchers said if Diane can provide them with evidence then they will consider Amber's claim.

She has still got plenty of spirit but she is not as active as she used to be
Diane Sleeman

Amber has lost most of her teeth now which makes it hard for vets to get an accurate age.

But apart from that and the odd ache and pain she is still as "fit as a fiddle".

Diane said: "I came here in 1977 and she came just after. She was two or three years old then.

"I just went outside the back door one day and looked up into a tree and just saw this cat smiling down on me."

If Amber's age can be proved, she may go into the record books

Diane has been a cat lover all her life and currently has four strays living with her. But she said there is no doubt as to who is the top cat in her household.

"She has been very independent since day one. She is very demanding and will do what she wants to do when she wants to do," she explained.

"She has still got plenty of spirit but she is not as active as she used to be."

Diane puts Amber's longevity down to her diet.

"Amber likes hot cod, chicken and she has cat food. Her favourite is prawns. Prawns only have to come into the house and Amber knows."

Amber's vet Almut Hoffman said she had come across cats in their 20s before but none as old as Amber.

"The average age of a cat is 14 to 16 when they usually suffer problems, usually kidney disease," she said.

Record books

"Amber is a very old cat but for a cat of her age she has very few problems."

Chris Marais, of Guinness World Records, said the organisation was interested in formally establishing Amber's age, to see if she could make the record books as the world's oldest living cat.

He said: "At present, the oldest living cat is a cat from Ontario in Canada called Spook, she's a female black cat aged 23 years old.

"So if we can accurately verify Amber she's definitely in with a shout."

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07 Dec 04 |  South East Wales


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