Moggy milestone... Phoebe (24) is world's oldest cat
Cats have nine lives but Phoebe is heading for the record books, having lived for almost a quarter of a century – or 115 in human years.
Caroline O'Riordan's beloved moggy, who celebrates her 25th birthday next August, is in the process of being crowned the world's oldest living feline by the Guinness Book of Records.
Phoebe was born a year before the Italia '90 World Cup and has long outlived the Celtic Tiger. Her old age is made more remarkable by the fact she was so small as a kitten that she wasn't expected to live for long.
Caroline, from Passage West in Cork, said she is planning "something extra special" to mark Phoebe's 25th birthday next summer and her inclusion in the Guinness Book of Records.
"I have Phoebe's birth cert from the vet back in August 1989 but I just have to check what other criteria Guinness now require," she said.
"They've told us that, according to their records, the next oldest living cat is 22 years and six months. So Phoebe is by far the oldest living cat in the world."
The snow-white cat has never had kittens after being neutered as a youngster.
She also remained small throughout her life – prompting many to ask Caroline over the years whether she was a kitten.
"She has always been quite small. I wouldn't say that she isn't showing signs of her years now. She sleeps quite a lot, though she is able to get around for short walks and is quite mobile."
Caroline said she believes Phoebe's longevity is down to careful feeding, never putting on too much weight and being regularly exercised.
The Guinness Book of Records confirmed that once Phoebe's birth cert is verified, she will be the world's oldest living cat by a margin of more than two months.
The current title holder is Pinky, who was born on October 31, 1989, and lives with owner, Linda Anno, in Kansas, USA.
Like Phoebe, Pinky's longevity is almost miraculous given that the American kitty lost a rear leg to cancer when aged 13.
Phoebe and Pinky are the equivalent of about 113 years old in human terms.
If both make it to 25, they will reach the equivalent human age of 117 years.
But both Phoebe and Pinky have a long way to go if they are to claim the title of the oldest cat in history.
That title was held by Creme Puff in Texas who died in August 2005 aged 38, or 169 in human years.
The title was then taken by Lucy in Llanelli, Wales, who reached the age of 39, or 173 human years.
To put this in perspective, the average age for a normal house cat is 12-15 years.