By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated 16 April 2011)
In answer to common questions about exceptional cat breeds and feline record breakers, the following are some not-so-average felines and owners that have broken cat-related records.
Largest Cat Breeds
The largest domestic cat breeds that are not wild cat hybrids are:
- Maine Coon and Ragdoll – 10-20 pounds
- Norwegian Forest Cat – 10-16 pounds
- Pixie-Bob – 9-17 pounds
Females tend to be at the lower end of the weight range, and males at the upper end. Wild cat hybrids such as the Savannah may be larger.
The record holder for longest cat, a Maine Coon measuring 48 inches from nose to tail tip, had paws large enough to fill a child’s size 2 shoe.
A tabby named Himmy held the record for heaviest cat. Himmy was an Australian tabby who weighed 45 pounds, 10 oz, and had to be transported by wheelbarrow. As Himmy was reportedly a moderate eater, it’s likely that his weight resulted from a thyroid problem.
Although there was a Siamese cat in Russia that topped the scales at 50 pounds in 2003, the Guinness Book of World Records no longer accepts fattest-cat nominations because it doesn’t want to encourage people to overfeed their pets.
Smallest Cat Breeds
The Singapura is the smallest cat breed, with a weight range of just 5-8 pounds, followed by the Nebelung and Russian Blue at around 5-9.
Smallest Cat in the World
The smallest confirmed feline in the world is Mr. Peebles, an adult cat that weighs in at 3.3 pounds due to a genetic defect.
Most Kittens Produced by One Cat in a Single Litter
The record for most kittens in a litter was 19 (15 live, 4 stillborn).
Most Kittens Produced by a Single Cat Over a Lifetime
Over a lifetime, the record is 420 kittens for a single mother cat.
Oldest Cat to Have Kittens
An English cat named Kitty gave birth to 2 kittens at the age of the 30. Over her lifetime, she had 218.
Most Money Ever Willed to a Cat
Ben Rea left £9 million (about $14,645,314 U.S.) to his cat Blackie, and the rest of his fortune to various cat charities.
Most Expensive Cat-Related Celebration
Nearly $17,000 was spent on the wedding of Phet and Ploy, two cats believed to be symbols of God due to a rare type of glaucoma that creates a “diamond-eyed” appearance. The feline pair were married in Thailand at great expense. Ploy was flown in by helicopter and Phet transported by Rolls-Royce. The best man was a parrot and the maid of honour an iguana. More than 500 guests attended, and in addition to wedding costs, Phet and Ploy received $60,000 in gifts.
In a related story, a couple nearly divorced because the woman’s husband refused to pay for her cat’s wedding at a five-star hotel. However, during the divorce proceedings, the husband offered to pay for the wedding at a less expensive hotel as a parting gift, and his wife forgave him and called off the divorce proceedings.
Most Expensive Cat
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the most expensive cat was a Bengal named Cato, purchased for $41,435. The runner-up was a California Spangled Cat, bought for $24,000 in 1987.
The oldest living cat as of 2004 (confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records) was Crème Puff, who lived to 38 years of age, though there have been unsubstantiated reports of even older cats (see How Long Do Cats Live? for a profile of what is believed to be the oldest living cat).
Most Cats Owned
The Guinness World Record holders for largest number of cats are Jack and Donna Wright in Kingston Ontario, with 689 domestic cats, though there was Texas farmer who had 1,400, some domestic and others feral, living on his property.
Best Feline Hunter
This record is held by a Scottish tortoiseshell tabby named Towser that was tasked with controlling rodents at the Glenturret Distillery. Towser lived 21 years and caught 28,899 mice over her lifetime. Of course, this record is for the best known mouser – there may have been other cats that were even more accomplished hunters.
Jake, a Canadian cat, holds the official Guiness World Record for most toes, with 27 in total. The unofficial winner is Bandit, a polydactyl cat with 29 toes.
- BBC News. (21 February 2003). “Russian Fat Cat Creams the Rest.” BBC.co.uk.
- Choron, S.; Choron, H.; & Moore, A. (2007). Planet Cat: A CAT-alog. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company.
- Hartwell, S. (2008). “Feline Medical Curiosities: Dwarf Cats, Giant Cats, Fat Cats” and “Longevity.”MessyBeast.com.