Cat with record-breaking family has world’s longest tail at over 16 inches


This cat’s exceptional genes and world-class care made this record-breaking feat paw-sible.

A silver Maine Coone named Altair has broken the record for longest tail on a living domestic cat, the Guinness World Record confirmed to The Post.

Altair, who belongs to Dr. William John Powers from Farmington Hills, Michigan, weighs 20 pounds with a tail that measures 16.07 inches long, according to an official measurement taken on October 25, 2021 — and his tail might be even longer now that he’s fully grown.

Owing to his formidable DNA, the 5-year-old feline inherited the title from his late brother, Cygnus — but Altair is also just one of four cats raised by Powers to also earn a world record.

grey and white tabby with a 16-inch tail named Altair laying face up on his back
Altair is a record-breaking Maine Coon for its extraordinarily long tail.
Will Powers / @starcats_detroit / Instagram

altair rests his paws over the back of a couch
Altair’s thick coat of fur belies his tail’s whopping 16.07 inches.
Will Powers / @starcats_detroit / Instagram

altair poses in front of a white wall
Dr. William John Powers from Farmington Hills, Michigan, is Altair’s human companion.
Will Powers / @starcats_detroit / Instagram

“His brother Cygnus has the record for the longest tail ever, so genetics certainly played a part,” Powers told Guinness. “But I’ve had four Guinness World Records title-holding cats now, so I suspect it’s likely at least in part to the special diet that I designed for them.”

Powers got Altair in 2017 after he lost all his house cats in a fire.

“When I was ready to have cats again, the woman who bred Altair let me know that a litter had been born and there was a silver male kitten who was the half-brother of [my previous cat] Cygnus,” Powers shared. “I couldn’t say no.”

The house fire took the lives of his cats, Cygnus, another silver Maine Coon who previously held the record for longest tail, and Arcturus, who still holds the record for tallest domestic cat ever at 19.05 inches. When he died, Arcturus also passed down the title of tallest living cat to his brother, Fenrir.

altair sits on a windowsill
Altair comes from a record-breaking line of cats.
Will Powers / @starcats_detroit / Instagram

altair sits on a windowsill
Altair’s older brother held the same record for the longest tail on a living cat before his death.
Will Powers / @starcats_detroit / Instagram

Even though Altair now holds the record for the longest tail on a living domestic cat, Cygnus remains the champion, living or dead, with his tail having measured 17.58 inches.

Because of the genetics at play, Powers realized pretty early on that Altair could also be a record holder.

“It was pretty obvious that just like Cygnus, from the time he was a kitten, he had an absurdly long tail, and it just continued to get longer as he aged,” he said.

Altair’s tail may be super fluffy, but he rarely ever sheds — only around the spring and fall equinox when his coat is preparing for summer and winter.

“It’s kind of neat how it works, the length of the day changes how many photons from the sun strike his retina, and that signal tells the brain that the days are shortening or lengthening and that releases hormones which regulate which coat to produce or shed,” Powers explained.

A typical day for the record-breaking feline usually starts off with eating his breakfast and then playing with one of his favorite toys: a piece of wire with a cardboard box attached to it.

altair eats besides other cats
Dr. William John Powers thinks the “special diet” he developed for his cats may have something to do with Altair’s exceptional features.
Will Powers / @starcats_detroit / Instagram

altair appears to watch TV with other cats
Altair is an “oddball,” according to his caretaker, and not too proud about his global title to frolic with his fellow feline housemates.
Will Powers / @starcats_detroit / Instagram

“After burning out on playing, he likes to hop up in his window box,” Powers said.

Altair spends the rest of his day napping, begging for treats, and hoping for cuddles and head scratches.

Altair likes to “talk” with his tail — just like his brother and predecessor — which is a good indicator of his mood.

Powers describes the feline as an “oddball” who is spooked easily, but that doesn’t stop the adorable cat from being affectionate with his owner and interrupting his telehealth appointments in his work day to ask to be petted.

Maine Coons carry the FelD1 protein allergen in their saliva, which could cause an allergic or asthmatic response in sensitive humans, so Altair gets to stay home while Fenrir gets to accompany Powers to the clinic.

altair seated on a countertop
Altair uses his charismatic nature for good — volunteering to be petted as a therapy animal at a local clinic.
Will Powers / @starcats_detroit / Instagram

Altair got a giant exercise wheel, some new cat furniture and more new cat items from Powers to celebrate his big day.

But he told Guinness that it’s not about the certificate or title for him — it’s bigger than that.

“At the time of the original fire, I was president of a cat shelter. I really wanted to be able to do the charity work with these guys that I barely got to do with the original world record holders,” Powers said. 

“Because I have that certificate, my cats work as therapy animals at the clinic,” the cat parent continued, adding that a difficult diagnosis “is a lot easier for [patients] to hear when they’re petting a 35-pound 19-inch-tall cat.”


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