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London - She was badly treated when young and has probably used up more than her supposed nine lives.

But after surviving her latest brush with death Sasha the cat has reached an amazing 31 years old – twice the normal lifespan and the equivalent of about 140 for a human. Now the tortoiseshell moggy could be about to enter the record books as the world’s oldest living feline.

Owner Beth O’Neill was warned that Sasha might not survive a recent life-saving operation to remove a growth in her nose that restricted her breathing. She rescued Sasha in 1991, believing her to be a kitten because she was so tiny and "all skin and bone" – only to be told by vets that the stray was actually five years old.

Since then, the cat has survived a deliberate attempt to poison her, broken ribs and kidney disease. O’Neill, a carer from Newtonabbey, County Antrim, said: "After the operation, the vet told me that he thought Sasha might be the oldest cat in the world.

"That had never occurred to me before. I don’t know how many lives she has left but she’s definitely made the most of her 31 years."

O’Neill has not applied for the title but Guinness World Records urged her to do so.

The previous record holder, Scooter, a tom from Texas, died last year aged 30.

The oldest cat ever was Creme Puff, also from Texas, who died in 2005 aged 38.