Cat breaks world record for tallest and gets mistaken for a panther

A Michigan-based cat owner has opened up about his pet breaking the world record for tallest cat and how the animal’s large size causes people to mistake him for “a panther”.

Fenrir, who is a Savannah cat-breed, made history this week, when the Guinness Book of World Records awarded him with the title of tallest living domestic cat. The feline, who belongs to Dr William John Powers, first measured at 47.83 cm (18.83 in) on 29 January 2021.

However, Powers says, Fenrir is still growing and he may be even taller than his late brother, Arctus. Arctus notably held the same title in 2016, at 48.4 cm (19.05 inches), and still holds the title for the tallest domestic cat ever.

“I kept a growth chart of both cats, and Fen was neck and neck with Arc all throughout his kittenhood,” Powers told the Guinness Book of World Records. “I also feed Fenrir the same special diet I developed for Arcturus, so with similar genetics and the same environment, it’s not shocking that he grew as massive as he did.”

Powers went on to share that when he takes Fenrir out in public, people confuse him with other cat breeds because of how large he is. He also noted that while some people tend to “fear” Fenrir, they ultimately warm up to him once they realise how “friendly” he is.

“Sometimes people see him and think he’s a small panther, a puma, or an ocelot,” he explained. “This can actually scare people and they back away from him in fear, but once I explain that he’s a therapy cat and very friendly, people are thrilled to walk up to him.”

Powers also described how he’s a physician and HIV specialist who runs his own practice, which he brings Fenrir and his other cats to. More specifically, he said that Fenrir comes to the office on Tuesdays to greet and comfort HIV patients. The animal receives “pets from people” and follows his owner “from room to room,” when in the office.

“He wanders around the office receiving pets from people, snoozing on exam room tables, and begging for treats,” Powers said. “He will see patients with me, following me room to room until he starts to tire out, then he’ll usually stay in one room and curl up on a chair somewhere and snooze until lunchtime.”

Regarding Fenrir’s behaviour at home, Powers said that he’s a “a very silly cat” who loves to “play and run around”. But there are moments where Fenrir is unaware of just how tall he is.

“Sometimes, when chasing him, if he feels he’s about to be caught, he will suddenly jump into a box or container to hide as if I couldn’t see him, but the container is usually way too small for him, and I have some hilarious photos of him trying to force himself into boxes half his size,” Powers explained.

Powers, who is also the president of a Michigan-based cat shelter, did acknowledge that Fenrir does know how to take advantage of his height, as he can stand on his “hind legs and open [a] door”.

“When we were trying to take some pictures of him, we had to shut some of the other cats out of the room, and Fenrir decided he didn’t want to be in the room anymore,” he recalled, in a video for Guinness Book of World Records. “So he stood on his hind legs and opened the door.”

While Fenrir’s height is uncommon and Savannah cats are notably big, they aren’t necessarily any larger than other breeds. According to The International Cat Association (TICA), while the Savannah cat breed is usually “very long” and has “legs are quite long as well,” most of them are “just the size of a large domestic cat, and weigh less than another cat of similar size”. They also tend to have “long necks” and “short, thick, tails”.

Along with Fenrir and Arcturus, two of Powers’ other cats have broken the world record. His Maine Coon, Altair, holds the title for longest tail on a living domestic cat while his silver Maine Coon, Cygnus, holds the title for longest tail on a domestic cat ever.

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