This handsome cat has achieved a record title for his purrfectly long and luxurious tail.
Altair, a silver Maine Coone belonging to Dr. William John Powers, from Farmington Hills, Michigan, USA, has the longest tail on a domestic cat living.
The five-year-old furry feline weighs 20 pounds and has a tail that measured 16.07 inches (40.83 cm) long on 25 October 2021 and may possibly be even longer now that he is fully grown.
But how does the fluffy cat have such fantastic fur?
“His brother Cygnus has the record for the longest tail ever, so genetics certainly played a part,” said Will.
“But I've had four Guinness World Records title-holding cats now, so I suspect it’s likely at least in part to the special diet that I designed for them.”
Will first met Altair after he sadly lost all of his house cats in a fire in 2017.
“When I was ready to have cats again, the woman who bred Altair let me know that a litter had been born and there was a silver male kitten who was the half-brother of [my previous cat] Cygnus,” said Will.
"I couldn't say no."
Altair has been waving his tail at Will’s house ever since.
Will realized pretty early on that Altair could potentially be a record holder.
“It was pretty obvious that just like Cygnus, from the time he was a kitten, he had an absurdly long tail, and it just continued to get longer as he aged,” said Will.
Despite the incredibly fluffy hair on his super long tail, Altair does not shed a lot.
In fact, he only sheds around the spring and fall equinox when he’s blowing off his winter coat or shedding his summer coat in preparation for his winter one.
“It’s kind of neat how it works, the length of the day changes how many photons from the sun strike his retina, and that signal tells the brain that the days are shortening or lengthening and that releases hormones which regulate which coat to produce or shed,” said Will.
It’s not about temperature, an indoor cat in a hot place or cold place will do the same thing, it’s based on the length of the days.
And what’s a cat to do with so much fur?
Just like his brother Cygnus, Altair “talks” with his tail.
The behaviour is a good representation of his mood, curiosity, frustration, or other emotions.
In fact, Will says that seeing him flip his tail around as he plays excitedly reminds him of Altair’s late brother.
Will describes his four-legged friend as an oddball and says he can be very spooky and will often scatter at the sound of loud noise.
However, he is extremely affectionate and will interrupt Will’s telehealth calls with patients on days when he works from home, standing on his hind legs and indicating for Will to pet him.
Because Altair is a Maine Coon, he carries the FelD1 protein allergen in his saliva, which could affect individuals with allergies.
For this reason, he stays home while Will's other cat Fenrir, the tallest living domestic cat, goes into the clinic with him.
Altair will typically eat his breakfast, then wander around playing with one of his favourite toys - a piece of wire with a cardboard box attached to it.
“After burning out on playing, he likes to hop up in his window box,” said Will.
He has a cat bed attached to the glass back doors of my home, and he can bask in the sun until I get home from work.
When he’s not busy napping, Altair enjoys begging for his treats and having his face scratched or being snuggled under Will’s arm.
Although Will was excited to learn that Altair was recognized for his record-breaking lush tail, he also admitted the news was very emotional.
When Will’s home caught fire, it tragically claimed the lives of his cats Cygnus, a silver Maine Coon who previously held the record for the longest tail on a domestic cat living, and Arcturus, who still holds the record for tallest domestic cat ever and stood at 48.4 cm (19.05 in). His record for tallest living domestic cat passed to his brother Fenrir when he died.
And although Altair has since claimed the tail record title, Cygnus still holds the title for the longest tail on a domestic cat ever, with a tail that measured an astonishing 44.66 cm (17.58 in).
Will celebrated Altair’s accomplishment by buying him some new cat items, including a giant exercise wheel, some new cat furniture, and other fancy things to spoil him.
Friends and family were also excited to learn of Altair’s record title.
“At the time of the original fire, I was president of a cat shelter. I really wanted to be able to do the charity work with these guys that I barely got to do with the original world record holders,” said Will.
Everyone was really happy to see it happen again as I've been able to do a lot of charity fundraisers or other appearances since. It sort of felt like the universe gave me one thing back that I had lost.
Will also encourages those wanting to attempt a Guinness World Records title to have a good reason for doing so.
Although he says it’s neat to have a certificate on his wall, he admits that’s not really what it’s about.
“Because I have that certificate, my cats work as therapy animals at the clinic (telling someone they have HIV is a lot easier for them to hear when they're petting a 35 lb 19-inch-tall cat),” said Will.
They make appearances at charity fundraisers to help out people or cat shelters by raising funds for those charities. Don't go after a record for fame, but if you have one, use it to do good.
Find out more about Will and his therapy cats on their Instagram @starcats_detroit
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