A cat thought to be the oldest living feline has survived a stroke that almost robbed it of its remaining nine lives.

Nutmeg and Dianne.
Westway head receptionist Dianne Elcoate with Nutmeg.

Tabby Nutmeg – believed to be 31 years old – was adopted as an abandoned stray in 1990 by Liz and Ian Finley after turning up in their garden.

When he was adopted, he was taken to Cats Protection suffering from an abscess on his neck. After examining his teeth, officials estimated he was at least five years old at the time.

Touch and go

Mr Finley – of Blaydon, Tyne and Wear – described Nutmeg as “a cracking old guy and still as cantankerous as ever”, but said he and his wife feared they’d lost their beloved pet when it suffered a seizure last September.

The cat was taken to Westway Veterinary Centre in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where vet Laura Gillis treated him.

She said: “On examination, Nutmeg wasn’t looking good as we were very concerned. His temperature was too low to read on our thermometers.

“Serious discussions were held with Mr and Mrs Finlay, who decided to give Nutmeg a chance. It was just as well they did, as he is still going strong all these months later.”

Long life secrets

Vet Laura Gillis (left) with Nutmeg and his owners, Liz and Ian Finlay.

Mr Finley added: “He is not our cat – we are his humans and he never lets us forget that. I think that’s the secret to his long life.

“He has been a house cat for the past two years as he has no road sense, but seems to be quite happy with life.”

So, is there any other secret to the feline’s longevity?

“Hot roast chicken every Sunday – even though he’s only got three teeth left – and, of course, lots of love,” said Mr Finlay.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the oldest cat recorded was Creme Puff from Austen, Texas. The animal was born on 3 August 1967 and died on 6 August 2005, making her 38 years and three days old – 168 in cat years.

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