A CAT that has used up most of its nine lives is laying claim to the title of the world's oldest - at nearly 27 years of age.

Snowy's owners reckon he easily beats previous title owner Poppy who died this week aged 24, just days after being officially recognised.

Claire Willis, 33, of Boroughbridge, said: "We've had him about 13 years now - and he just keeps going.

"He's definitely getting on now. He's very sleepy and still enjoys his food.

"He's very sociable - he just loves being in the company of other people."

The age of 27 is equivalent to nearly 156 in cat years and Snowy is feeling his age as he is deaf and has kidney failure and arthritis, but is great with children which is ideal as the Claire and husband Chris are part-time foster parents.

She added: "He can't have many of his nine lives left now - about four and a half years ago we had a house fire and he got trapped inside."

Now Claire and Chris, 55, plan to take Snowy to the vets in the hope of certifying his real age by inspecting his teeth.

She said: "They can tell roughly how old he is by looking at his teeth, then they can sign a certificate to help him get into the record books."