The two "bonded brothers" sadly did not have a home where they could live out their golden years but people around the world came through.
When a pet cat or a dog spends their entire life in a home with a family, nothing is more heartbreaking than watching them being left in a shelter home as they grow older. It is even worse when two old cat siblings, who have spent 21 years of their lives together, have to be torn apart during their golden years. That is why the RSPCA, an animal charity organization, took a special interest in finding one single home for these two cat brothers, Leon and Nikita from the UK.
"Poor Leon and Nikita find themselves in our care at the grand age of 21. They are bonded brothers and were signed over to be rehomed as they were not coping with family life," the RSPCA Northamptonshire Branch wrote on Facebook.
Although Nikita was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, he and his brother are both in fairly good health and were ready for a new home. The charity stressed on how the two black shorthair crossbreed cats were inseparable. And they hoped that they would find a loving family soon so that the two old brothers could grow older together. "Leon and Nikita are an affectionate pair who enjoy chin tickles and human company," the post added. "They are looking for a quiet home with no children."
When Michelle Billingham, from the Northamptonshire adoptions team of RSPCA, spoke to BBC, she revealed that the two cats have always lived together in their 21 long years of life. But unfortunately, "through no fault of their own," they wound up needing to be rehomed.
According to the Daily Mail, the organization received more than 100 applications from people across the world who wanted to throw their doors open to Leon and Nikita. "It's been pretty crazy," Julie Clifft from the adoption team said. "We have had over 100 applications for them from all over the place, from America, Cornwall, and Cumbria."
Applications have been coming in from far and wide but the charity hoped that the cats could stay in Northamptonshire itself. "Nikita has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and is stable but needs to stay close to his vet for checks," added Julie. "We wanted to keep them within the local area but some people haven't read that bit. We really wanted to keep them together in Northamptonshire and we're delighted that has been possible."
Talking about the mountain of applications they received, Julie said the cats have "been really, really popular. We expected lots of applications but not hundreds. It's great because although they are old we never put a healthy pet down and they deserved a new home." The two cat brothers are rehomed and can finally settle into retirement life with each other.
While talking about a cat's average life expectancy, the BBC reported that the number was 14 years for domestic cats in the UK, according to a report by the Royal Veterinary College. But there have been instances where cats have lived for longer. Leon and Nikita have well outlived the life expectancy of their kind as well.
So far, the oldest cat to ever live was Creme Puff from the USA who lived to see her 38th birthday. Born in August, 1967, she holds the Guinness World Records for being the oldest cat on record. Three days after celebrating her 38th birthday in Austin, Texas, Creme Puff passed away on August 6, 2005.
As for Leon and Nikita, they have both well outlived the life expectancy of their kind. According to the Daily Mail, they are believed to be the oldest cat brothers in the UK and hopefully, they will enjoy their twilight years together.