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Wanted And Found: New Zealand's Oldest Living Cat

Tabbitha Twitchit from Mt Maunganui is officially New Zealand's oldest living cat at almost 23 years of age!

Tabbitha was one of hundreds of entries into the unique Search For New Zealand's Oldest Living Cat conducted and sponsored by leading catfood manufacturer and New Zealand's favourite catfood for 30 years, Chef.

Tabbitha's `mum', Victoria Bond, picked the ginger and white tabby from a litter when she was just a little girl aged six, and now, aged nearly 30, Victoria is delighted her cat has reached such high acclaim because Tabbitha has played such a special role in her life.

"I lost my mum when I was 17 and my dad died this year so Tabbitha has been with me for longer than anyone in my family," says Victoria who manages a clothing store in Tauranga.

The Chef Search for New Zealand's Oldest Living Cat was part of Chefs' 30th birthday celebrations. Cat owners from Kaitaia to Bluff entered although some did not qualify because they had no documented proof of the cat's age, an entry requirement.

"We were delighted with the huge number of entries to the search which obviously captured the nation's imagination, although we weren't surprised because New Zealand has more than a million much- loved moggies, the highest per capita cat ownership in the world," says category manager petfood Jo Davidson.

"There were several cats who had clearly been brought up on Chef because good nutrition is critical to long life. While we didn't find a cat as old as 34, the oldest cat on record, we certainly found several who had passed the two decade milestone."

Vet Iain Grant judged the competition and Chef will present Victoria with a cheque for $10,000 later this week.

Just how Victoria and Tabbitha will spend the prize money is yet to be decided however Victoria says because she and her husband are well settled they will probably give away some of it to friends who are more in need.

And as for Tabbitha Twitchit, named after the Beatrice Potter character, she's taking her new found fame and fortune in her stride!


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