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Hermiston cat holds Guinness record

The world's longest cat hails from Hermiston, but it barely inched out its kitty siblings.

Stewie, a Maine coon cat bred by Valerie Horton at her Mymains Cattery five years ago, this week broke a Guinness world record for longest cat -- measuring 481/2 inches from the nose to the tip of the tail.

Robin Hendrickson and Erik Brandsness purchased the cat from Horton in 2005.

But Stewie, who lives in Reno, Nev., barely is longer than his siblings, Horton said.

Both of the long cat's parents came from large lines; their union produced a litter of lanky felines.

Stewie's brother, who lives in Canada, practically is the same size as the record holder, Horton said. A sister that still is in Hermiston is large, but Maine coon females don't grow as big as the boys, she said.

Maine coons are one of the oldest breeds of cat in North America. The breed first was acknowledged in the 1860s. They naturally grow to be quite large, with male cats weighing up to 20 pounds without being overweight. Their thick coat exaggerates their size, making for impressive looking cats, according to the national breeder website

Horton got her first Maine coon -- a female breeder -- in 1977, which she says might make her the first to have owned such a cat in the Northwest. She now has one breeding male and five breeding females, all pretty big cats. A few adopted mutts round out the herd of kitties.

"I have a big house," Horton explained.

Her husband, Richard, "married into it" in 1981, he said with a laugh. The large cats have grown on him, too. "He's helped midwife baby kitties," his wife said.

The Hortons aren't attached to their cats just for their impressive size.

"We love them because they're such gentle giants," Valerie Horton said. "They are really good with both little kids and adults."

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