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Introducing New Zealand’s oldest cat

MEDIA RELEASE 9 November 2009

Introducing New Zealand’s oldest cat

Smokey, at 24 years and 9 months of age is believed to be New Zealand’s oldest cat. Two months ago, Purina PetCare New Zealand announced they were seeking New Zealand’s oldest cat to raise awareness of a new cat food specifically designed for older cats and celebrate the role that cats play in the lives of so many New Zealanders.

“We received an amazing response from dozens of cat owners from all around the country,” says Sneha Patel, Consumer Relationship Marketing Manager for Purina.

“There are definitely many cats out there that have enjoyed a long life and who have received a lot of TLC from some very caring owners over the years.”

Among the many entries, there was a 19 year-old Burmese from Christchurch, a 21 year-old tortoiseshell from Wanaka, a 23 year-old domestic short-hair from Rotorua, and a 23 year-old sealpoint Birman from Auckland.

However, after a long search, Purina has officially announced New Zealand’s oldest cat is Smokey, a blue Burmese born in January 1985, owned by Ian Clarke and Jean Elliot of Mt Roskill, Auckland.

Appropriately, Smokey lives with his owners in a retirement village and at 24 years and 9 months, Smokey has lived the human equivalent of about 111 human years. While this is impressive, according to Guinness World Records, the oldest cat ever was Creme Puff, owned by Jake Perry of Austin, Texas, USA, born August 3, 1967 and died in 2005 at the age of 38.

Jean puts Smokey’s long life down to the fact that he has always lived within the retirement complex and received the constant love and attention from the village’s many residents. “Smokey originally belonged to another resident here, named George. When George was in hospital in 2001, I visited him and promised to take care of Smokey. George passed away shortly after.”

Smokey stayed with Jean but missed his old owner and kept visiting the old house where they lived, meowing outside the window.

“Being a Burmese Blue, it wasn’t a quiet meow,” says Jean.

Ian says on the day he moved into the retirement complex nine years ago, Smokey simply walked in and made himself at home. Jean still tends to Smokey’s health and buys his food, while Ian provides the bed – an old laundry basket – and lots of love.

“In his younger days, Smokey liked to bring presents of spiders and birds, but now he just eyes them up from a distance, says Ian; “The ducks that nest close by are also fairly safe, along with the pigeons that gather outside Jean’s house.”

To celebrate Smokey.s record as New Zealand.s oldest cat, Purina are giving him a year.s supply of a new cat food formula designed especially for senior cats, Purina .Pro-Plan Senior 11+.. The formula contains a proprietary blend of antioxidants, vitamins, fibre and fatty acids that aims to improve the lean tissue mass and immune system of older cats.

Mr Clarke is grateful for the gift and says he hopes to have companionship from Smokey for a long time yet.

“Mealtimes are always special times with Smokey, but Tuesdays are extra special because Jean always buys him fish. I swear every Tuesday Smokey knows its fish day, because he waits up the top of the driveway for his treat to arrive.” ends


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