River Road couple's cat is nearly 24 years old

Discussion in 'Pet related News stories' started by Pippin, Aug 31, 2009.

  1. Pippin

    Pippin Member

    Jun 30, 2009
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    Maybe it's good genes and healthy food, including salmon scraps off the dining room table.

    Most probably, that plus living the good life in a house along River Road.

    That's home to Midnight, which, at an estimated age of nearly 24, ranks as one of the Salinas area's most senior cats.

    "Her eyesight and hearing are still good, she's still pretty active, and we do love her," Duane O'Sullivan said.

    She and husband, Frank, own Midnight.

    When a cat reaches age 21, that puts it at about age 100 in human years, say several conversion charts on the Web.

    With age 24, which Midnight reaches in December, it's closer to the 113-year mark.

    Dr. Kathleen Marcus, veterinarian with Purrfurably Cats, a feline-exclusive practice in Monterey, has seen several cats above age 20 but none 24, she said.

    "I'd say great genetics is one factor," said Marcus, who is not Midnight's doctor.

    "Regular medical care is always beneficial. Most of the cats who do die younger are medically challenged. They get diabetes or heart disease or they suffer traumas, wounds or abscesses."

    Many cats that Marcus sees do reach ages 15 to 18 or 19.

    "If they have good genetics and are lucky in life and have no underlying heart disease or nasty dental issues, then many just live for a long time," she said.

    Midnight, a black-and-white long-hair of unknown type, is certainly one of those.

    Her exact birth date remains uncertain, but she probably started life as a feral cat, the O'Sullivans' veterinarian theorized in 1990, when Midnight first showed up at their door.

    Midnight would visit Alfie, another cat they owned.

    The O'Sullivans began to feed and then shelter Midnight, who decided it was time to come in from the cold.

    "At that point, from looking at her teeth and her physical appearance, the vet estimated she was already 5 years old," Duane said.

    So, five years added to the intervening 19 years gives 24.

    Duane chose December as Midnight's birth month because December, being the holiday seasons, seemed a welcoming and optimistic month.

    Midnight shares life with the O'Sullivans but also with Blue Eyes, the couple's other cat.

    Blue Eyes prefers to sleep in a shelter on the porch and otherwise exist in the outdoors.

    Midnight's secrets to longevity

    Midnight favors the indoors, and, within her well-tailored circumstances, she's discovered the secret to longevity.

    To help keep Midnight in shape, Duane gives the cat vitamins, fiber, medicine for her joints and a tablespoon of water in every serving of food.

    A veterinarian makes house calls, so the cat can avoid the stress of a car ride and clinic visit.

    "Midnight sleeps on our bed," Duane said. "She likes to lie on a heated towel, so we run one through the dryer for her."

    Should the O'Sullivans take a trip, they leave the radio playing. Midnight enjoys classical music. Neighbors stop by to check on her needs.

    Midnight also enjoys her time outdoors.

    Eats less, sleeps more

    She'll hop onto and over the stucco fence. She'll roll about in the warm garden dirt, which Duane cleans away using a bit of mild soap and a gentle brushing.

    In the evening, Midnight joins Duane and Frank as they sip chardonnay in the enclosed fragrance of their rose garden.

    In typical feline fashion, the cat remains a fussy eater. She refuses also to respond to any human command.

    "As she gets older, she eats less and she sleeps more," Duane said.

    Also, Midnight has only two teeth, which means the canned cat food she gets is finely chopped.

    The O'Sullivans expect their cat to hit her 24th birthday and keep going.

    "She still enjoys life," Duane said. "Maybe that's the secret."

  2. Daniel7

    Daniel7 Member

    Jun 6, 2009
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    Wow, that's amazing!

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