Fenrir the Savannah cat has made hiss-tory after earning the record title for the tallest living domestic cat.
The fascinating feline, who belongs to Dr. William John Powers of Farmington Hills, Michigan, USA, measured an astonishing 47.83 cm (18.83 in) on 29 January 2021.
But where does the house cat get his surprising stature from?
Fenrir, whose name derives from one of Saturn’s moons, is an F2 Savannah cat, which is recognised by The International Cat Association as a domestic breed.
His grandfather, a Serval named Kongo, was a tall wild cat and passed his height down to his offspring.
A Savannah cat results from a cross between a domestic cat and a serval, a medium-sized, large-eared wild African cat.
This unusual cross became popular among breeders at the end of the 1990s, and in 2001 TICA accepted it as a new registered breed.
Despite being a descendant of a wild feline, Fenrir is exceptionally tall for his breed, standing one inch taller than average-sized Savannah cats, which typically measure between 14 and 17 inches tall.
In fact, at just two years and 10 months old, Fenrir may even be on track to surpass his late brother Arcturus’s height.
At 48.4 cm (19.05 inches), Arcturus previously held the same record title in 2016 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,” said Will.
“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.”
Will, who has owned multiple felines throughout the years, adopted Fenrir when he was just 12 weeks old.
“Arcturus passed in a tragic house fire five years ago shortly after getting his record, and his parents, Dream and Myst, were unable to conceive and have further kittens after that, until approximately two years later when Myst unexpectedly became pregnant again,” said Will.
“Two boys were born in the litter, Fenrir and Corvus, both of whom are full brothers of Arcturus. I adopted both kittens.”
A self-proclaimed “crazy cat dad,” Will enjoys taking Fenrir out in public and educating curious onlookers.
Because he is so much larger than other Savannah cats, Fenrir is oftentimes confused with different breeds.
“Sometimes people see him and think he’s a small panther, a puma, or an ocelot,” said Will.
“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.”
As the president of a cat shelter, Will wanted to use Fenrir’s unique status as a record holder to help run charity events as a means of raising funds for Detroit stray and shelter cats.
While Will says he would typically encourage people to adopt a cat rather than to shop for one, he urges those that have purchased exotics or felines with unique traits and have an opportunity to seek out a Guinness World Records title to do so and use their pet’s fame to assist animals in need.
Bringing awareness to shelter cats isn’t Fenrir’s only job.
Will, who is a physician and HIV specialist and runs his own practice in Michigan, says Fenrir and his other cats are a major part of his office experience.
In fact, when Fenrir isn’t busy cuddling up to Will at home, he works as a therapy cat on Tuesdays to calm HIV patients and help them feel at ease.
“He wanders around the office receiving pets from people, snoozing on exam room tables, and begging for treats,” said Will.
“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.”
But it’s at home where Fenrir really lets loose, sometimes playing fetch and chasing Will around the house.
“Fen is a big lovable goofus. He’s a very silly cat, and loves to play and run around,” said Will.
“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.”
Although Will was excited to learn that Fenrir was recognized for his record-breaking tallness, he also admitted the news was very emotional.
In 2017, Will’s Farmington Hills, Michigan home caught fire, tragically taking the lives of his cats Cygnus, a silver Maine Coon who held the record for the longest tail on a domestic cat living, and Arcturus.
The record title for the longest tail on a domestic cat living has since been claimed by Will’s Maine Coon, Altair, whose lush tail measures 40.83 cm (16.07 in), but Cygnus still holds the record title for the longest tail on a domestic cat ever, with a tail that measured an astonishing 44.66 cm (17.58 in).
“For someone so obsessed with their cats to have not one, not two, but four Guinness World Records title holding animals in one lifetime is a bit surreal isn’t it,” said Will.
“It almost feels like it was something destined to happen, and then even after our disaster, the universe tried to make at least that little bit of it right again.”
Will believes that having Fenrir recognised for his achievement has helped him restore his life and hopes the feline’s newfound fame will improve the world’s understanding of hybrid cats.
“I look forward to all the good that Fenrir and Altair can do with their records,” said Will.
“I sincerely hope they can live up to the legacy of their late siblings Arcturus and Cygnus.”
Fenrir has also earned a place in the new Guinness World Records 2023 edition, available now! Find out where you can purchase your copy.