Meet Omar the cat. He is a breed known as a Maine coon cat, owned by Stephy Hirst, of Melbourne, Australia. He may be the world’s longest cat.
Hirst told the BBC that Omar measures 3 feet 11 inches (120 centimeters) in length, which would make him the longest cat in the world. The current record-holder is a cat named Ludo, from West Yorkshire in the United Kingdom, who measures 3 feet 10.59 inches (118.33 centimeters). Hirst says she has submitted the measurements to Guinness but the record hasn’t yet been confirmed.
Omar has a unique diet, as his owners feed him raw kangaroo meat for dinner. "We buy human-grade kangaroo meat at the supermarket," Hirst told the BBC. "It's the only meat we could find that he actually wants to eat."
The Maine coon cat has received a lot of attention since Hirst started an Instagram account for Omar, which currently has nearly 21,000 followers. "He hasn't really been coping with all the attention," Hirst told the BBC. "He had a little bit of a meltdown this morning."
Why are Maine coon cats so big, and where do they come from? Other than originating from Maine, very little is known of how they came to be. There is a widespread though biologically-impossible legend that they resulted from a cross between a domesticated cat and a racoon (or a cat and a bobcat). Another myth is that they are the descendants of cats brought to Maine by Vikings, before the arrival of Christopher Columbus. And a third story is that they derive from a limited number of cats raised by Marie Antoinette, which were spirited out of France during the French Revolution.
Regardless of their exact origin, breeders have selected for them to be large, and this process continues, explaining why they are getting larger, and why they are the longest domestic cats. In case you were wondering, the largest living non-domesticated cat is a liger—a cross of a tigress and a male lion—named Hercules who lives at wildlife reserve in South Carolina. He measures 10 feet 11 inches in length, stands four feet 1 inches at the shoulder, and weighs 922 pounds.
Australia is known for its bizarre and unique animals. Not far outside Melbourne lived the oldest and perhaps largest wombat, known as “Fat Pat from Ballarat.” Pat unfortunately passed in mid-April at 31 years of age and weighed 88 pounds.