A British cat has been hailed as the oldest in the world - after celebrating its 30th birthday.
The ageing feline- named Rubble - has been with owner Michele Foster since she got him as a kitten on her 20th birthday May 1988. The pair have been inseparable ever since and Rubble has now matched the age of the last world record holder.
Rubble celebrated its milestone with a party at his local vets where he was treated to some of his favorite cat food and a free check-up. And his incredible longevity is put down to the fact that Michele never had her own children and pampers him like her child.
Michele, 50, said that despite possibly now owning the world's oldest cat she had never wanted to go down the record route as she didn't want Rubble turning into a celebrity. But she said she was still extremely proud of her cat's achievements.
She said: "He's a lovely cat, although he has got a little grumpy in his old age. I got him just before my 20th birthday when he was a kitten. Rubble suffers from high blood pressure so he needs regular medication and City Vets have been a huge help in keeping him healthy."
The previous oldest living in the Britain - Nutmeg from Tyne and Wear - died last September. Rubble is now the same age as Scooter, a Siamese Texas, named as a record breaker at the age of 30 by the Guinness Book of World - but later died.
The oldest cat ever according to the record books is Creme Puff who was born on August 3, 1967, and lived until August 6, 2005 – an amazing 38 years and three days.
Michele says that despite Rubble's unique achievement she tried to keep him out of the spotlight.
She added: "He has plenty of live left in him yet, but I don't think we will go down the Guinness World Record route as I am not sure he would like lots of people coming to see him or a fuss being made out of him. He is old now and would not like too much attention or be hassled. We would prefer if he was just left to live out his old age in peace."
Michele, 49, lives in Exeter, Devon, England, and has three Persian cats Harley, Woody and Ted. And she remembers the exact moment that she first met Rubble and claims to be 100 per cent certain of the dates - because it was her 20th birthday.
She added: "He was part of a litter cat that my sister's friend had and I had just left home. I was lonely living on my own so got him in as a kitten. It was in May 1988."
Since then Rubble has been a loyal companion to Michele virtually all her adult life.
She added: "He is very loyal. We used to live in London and moved around a lot. He came in the removal van to Devon with us when we moved 15 years ago.
"If you care about something and someone and really love them, that goes a long way. I have always treated him like a child - I don't have any children and had another cat called Meg - who passed at the age of 25. If you care about something, no matter what it is, it does last."
The feline - who is the equivalent of 137 human years - is a great big fluffy Maine Coon type cat and in great condition for his age.
Shaun Moore, from City Vets who looks after Rubble, said he is the oldest cat on their books.
He said: "We recently had this amazing cat in for a check up and to celebrate his 30th birthday. Rubble is quite likely to be the oldest cat in the UK and is still going strong. He is on medication for his blood pressure but apart from that, he is in remarkably good health being.
"He enjoyed a free check up, some Whiskas Catmilk and Felix pouches, and less appreciated a free supply of medication for the next month as his birthday present from City Vets."
This story was originally published by SWNS.