Britain’s oldest pets: from a fortysomething goldfish to a centenarian tortoise

A goldfish named George, thought to be the most senior in the UK, has died. We consider other furry – or shelled – veterans of British living rooms

A minute’s silence, please, to mark the passing of George, 44, thought tohave been Britain’s oldest goldfish. George and another fish, Fred, were won by Keith Allies, from Worcestershire, at a fair in 1974. Fred died two years ago; Allies reports that George started to go downhill after the death of his friend and bowlmate.

Allies gave George and Fred to his then girlfriend, Mary, and the fish accompanied the couple throughout life – including their marriage and the birth of their daughter. “He was part of the family,” Mary told the Sun. “I know it’s silly to cry over a goldfish, but we’d had him so long.”

So, now that George is sleeping with the fishes, let us consider some of Britain’s oldest remaining pets .

Rubble, a cat

A maine coon


A maine coon (Rubble not pictured). Photograph: Natalya Vilman/Getty Images/iStockphoto

“He’s a lovely cat, although he has got a little grumpy in his old age,” saidMichele Heritage, from Devon, of Rubble, who celebrated his 30th birthday at a party at the vet’s last year. The furry white-and-orange maine-coon-type cat was in good health, thanks in part to medication for high blood pressure.

Charlie, a dog

In 2017, Charlie, 23, was thought to be one of Britain’s oldest dogs. He was adopted from Dogs Trust in 2010 aged 16, by Kim and Stuart Smith, from Worcestershire. “He is definitely a spoilt lad and that’s probably why he’s managed to live so long,” said Stuart. “He loves his home comforts, snoozing in his bed, and, of course, tasty treats.”

Jarvis, a goat

Jarvis, a pygmy goat, had a cake for his 20th birthday in 2017, but didn’t eat it, according to his owner, Olivia Taylor, from Derbyshire. “He eats everything he shouldn’t, like ivy and conifers,” she said. The goat came to the family in 1997 from a local theme park, which was selling its baby animals.

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Tommy, a tortoise

In 2014, a female tortoise called Tommy was thought to be Britain’s oldest pet, aged 116. Bought at a market in 1909 aged 11, the tortoise outlived two owners and survived the blitz – all without visiting a vet. At the time of the report, she was living in Croydon, south London, with her first owner’s granddaughter, Sheila. “Tommy is a much-loved member of the family and it’s amazing that my mother grew up with her, as did I and my children now,” she said.