When it comes to a cat’s diet, we usually think they survive on fish, commercial cat food, and the occasional rodent. Meet Creme Puff, the cat that drank coffee and ate bacon for her entire life.
Caffeine and cats, although (highly) not recommended, is something that one Texan cat-lover decided was fine to try. And, though many of us may think this combination of foods to be odd, this strange diet has resulted in dozens and dozens of Jake Perry’s feline family members to age well beyond the average life expectancy of cats. (If you’re wondering, the average life expectancy of cats is 14-20 years, which is 73-97 human years).
In an interview with Atlas Obscura, Jake Perry, an 85-year-old plumber from Austin, Texas, said he regularly fed his cats home-cooked eggs, turkey bacon, broccoli, and coffee with cream (along with commercial cat food, of course). To make things even weirder, every two days, Jake Perry would feed his feline friends an eyedropper full of red wine, “to circulate the arteries.”
However, as with humans, the diet must complement an active lifestyle. Saying Perry created an active lifestyle for his cats would be an understatement. In order to cater to the active lifestyle needs of his feline friends, Perry constructed and installed walkways around his home to allow his feline friends to traverse the room in a more natural manner. Furthermore, he also renovated his garage into a home movie center to ensure that his cats were properly stimulated. According to Perry, he would play nature documentaries “exclusively for the cats.”
Additionally, as with all of our furry friends, proper love and attention are needed as well. Perry, who has owned hundreds of cats throughout his lifetime, has taken extra steps to show his love to his cats. According to the interview, Perry also remembered every single one of his cat’s birthdays!
And...Voila! With a (strange) diet, proper stimulation, active lifestyle, and lots of love, Perry was able to break not one, but two Guinness World Records for the oldest cat. In 1998, Perry broke his first record with Granpa Rexs Allan, a 34-year-old part Sphynx, part Devon Rex. Then, in 2005, Perry broke the record again with Creme Puff, a 38-year-old mixed tabby (born on 3 August 1967 and lived until 6 August 2005). On top of the records he broke, Perry also housed hundred of cats (at one point, housing 48 cats at once!!), and, according to Perry, about a third of his cats lived beyond age 30.
Do Cats Love Coffee?
After finding out about Creme Puff and her diet, we had to continue our (very serious) investigation. We searched the web to learn whether cats actually love coffee?...
We found out many more people sharing stories about cats and their oddly enough love for coffee. For example, this post on The Chronicle of the Horse forum:
"My cat has a thing for coffee. I know it is toxic to cats and try to keep him away from it. He tries to drink it out of my mug in the morning. He is so addicted, he even licks the coffee maker!"
Or this testimony from another online forum:
"Today I found the cat up to her ears in a coffee cup my husband had forgotten in the living room. She was slurping day-old black coffee."
Hey, even we have a cat fan! @yesitsboris
Going back to Creme Puff's story, one other factor may have played a part in developing a long and lasting life with his cats, besides the weird diet. Although research shows that coffee, bacon, eggs, broccoli, and the occasional eyedropper of wine are highly not recommended, research does reveal that sterilizing cats may have effects of life expectancy. In fact, according to Animal League, sterilization can increase a feline’s life expectancy by 3 to 5 years. These additional years can be a result of numerous factors.
For one, sterilizing your pet reduces their roaming behavior. Thus, your pet has a decreased chance of being exposed to diseases and potential injury. Additionally, sterilized pets have a “very low to no risk mammary gland tumors/cancer, prostate cancer, perianal cancer, pyometra, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, and testicular cancer."
Specifically, for female cats, the benefits of sterilization may include:
- Decreased Desire to Roam
- Elimination of Heat Cycles (reducing the attraction of males)
- Decreased Risk of Mammary Gland Tumors, Ovarian Cancer, and Uterine Cancer (especially if completed before the first heat cycle)
- Reduced Number of Unwanted Kittens
Specifically, for male cats, the benefits of sterilization may include:
- Reduced Risk and Possible Elimination of Marking
- Decreased Desire to Roam
- Reduced Number of Unwanted Kittens
- Decreased Aggressive Behavior
So, how old is old, for a cat?
Now, at this point, you may be wondering: how old is a cat in human years? Well, in comparison to the relatively simple dog-to-human year ratio of 1 to 7, calculating cat-to-human years is a bit different. According to Purina, it is “generally agreed that the first two years of a cat’s life are roughly equal to the first 25 of a human’s, and after this, each additional year is around four ‘cat years.’"
Let’s break this down. Assuming your cat is 30 years old (the life expectancy of one third of Jake Perry cat’s), the calculation would look like this:
Assume 2 Cat Years = 25 Human Years
30 Cat Years - 2 ‘Maturing’ Years = 28 Cat Years
28 Cat Years x 4 = 112 Human Years
112 Human Years + 25 ‘Maturing’ Years = 137 Human Years
So, according to this rule, Perry’s record-breaking cats, Granpa Rexs Allan and Creme Puff, were 153 and 169 in human years respectively!
But, is coffee safe for cats?
Though Jake Perry achieved two Guinness World Records and raised dozens of cats past their average life expectancy using a strange diet of coffee, eggs, bacon, broccoli and wine, it is generally not recommended that caffeine be fed to cats (or dogs). According to Pet Poison Help Line, caffeine is considered highly poisonous to cats. So, the short answer is: no.
Both cats and dogs are considered to be more sensitive to caffeine. However, don’t worry if your cat ends up licking a few drops from your spilled coffee. A few licks, according to Pet Poison Help Line, is not likely to harm your feline friend. If you find that your cat has ingested far too much caffeine, look out for these signs:
- Elevated Heart Rate
- Elevated Blood Pressure
- Elevated body Temperature
- Abnormal Heart Rhythm
In severe cases of caffeine consumption in cats, death is possible. If you find your feline friend experiencing these symptoms, do not hesitate to call the Pet Poison Helpline: (855) 764-7661.
While we do not condone giving coffee to your cats, what we do condone is giving a cup of coffee to yourself. In fact, coffee, both instant and ground, can provide numerous health benefits. Go on, time for a quick coffee break!
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