The world's oldest living cat, 24-year old Poppy, has died after battling illness for several weeks. An article posted in the Daily Mail on June 10, 2014 said that she died after developing problems with her back legs, along with a urinary-tract infection (the Daily Mail's exact term was "water infection").
Jacqui West said that, despite Poppy's age and knowing she was sick, her death is still upsetting. The Daily Mail article quoted her as saying, "We knew she was old but it’s still very upsetting. She had a bad week last week. She was on antibiotics on Wednesday because of a water infection and her back legs just seemed to let her down. She wasn’t herself at all. She passed away on Friday at 3:30 p.m. I had spent the whole day with her as she was particularly poorly."
The Guinness Book of World Records awarded Poppy the record for oldest living cat in mid-May. The previous holder of that record, a Kansas cat named Pinky, died last year at age 23. According to Guinness, Pinky was an indoor-only cat who received a cancer diagnosis at age 13. Her left rear leg was amputated due to the cancer.
Life With Cats has a story on another cat that vied for the title of world's oldest cat. Cola was another U.K. cat who was reportedly 28 years old in the fall of 2013. Cola had only been to the vet once, though, and nobody could verify her real age except her owner, who'd had her since she was a kitten. Life With Cats also mentioned Wadsworth, yet another cat from the U.K., who was 27, and was thought to be the U.K.'s oldest living cat until Cola's story turned up.
Another cat, Phoebe, also vied for the title after Pinky's death. Phoebe was a survivor, according to another piece on Life With Cats, because she wasn't expected to make it past her first few weeks of life. When her owner, Caroline O'Riordan adopted Phoebe and her brother, Phoebe wasn't eating, and was failing to thrive. Kittens that fail to thrive often don't survive past a few weeks of age. The article on Life With Cats says Caroline was able to bring her back with tender loving care.
Guinness was poised to give Phoebe the title, but she had to make it to her 25th birthday, which would have been in August of this year. Apparently, that didn't happen, and the title was awarded to Poppy instead. Wadsworth and Cola didn't have the type of documentation that Guinness requires to verify a cat's age.
Nobody knows who Guinness will crown next. It's clear, though, that Poppy had a full, rich life with her people, to live to the ripe old age of 24.