A 32-year-old cockatiel has just been named as runner-up at the Vets Now Pet of the Year awards 2023. 

The colourful birds usually live to between 10 and 15 years, but Tiger is as chirpy as ever as he looks to be a record breaker well into his fourth decade. 

Owners Samantha and Andy Stirling, from Dorset, have just emigrated to Spain and say Tiger’s mimicking of Samantha’s grandma Beatrice, who bred him, will always remind them of home. 

And they’re thrilled to start their new life with recognition in the annual awards run by Vets Now, the UK’s leading emergency vets.  

“My grandma bred cockatiels for years and sold them to a local pet shop in Bournemouth,” said Samantha, 46, from Bere Regis. 

“I never remember her not having them. She used to lay all the little chicks on a towel on the sofa to check them over and even watched telly with the ones she kept sitting on her head. 

“Tiger was one of the last clutch she bred, and he was born well before I sat my GCSE’s in my teens, so he is at least 32.” 

The oldest cockatiel previously listed by the Guinness Book of Records was also 32 and with sunflower seed-loving Tiger going strong, Samantha considered submitting him for inclusion. 

But she was thwarted by the costs involved and being unable to locate definitive paperwork concerning Tiger’s birthdate. 

Beatrice passed away four years ago and, having asked Samantha and Andy to look after him, Tiger provides a welcome constant reminder of her. 

“He was great company for my grandma, and he copies her laugh amazingly,” said Samantha. 

“It always reminds us of her, and I think he helped me get over the grief of losing her as we were so close. I have Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and suffer from anxiety and depression and Tiger and our two cats and dogs keep me going. 

“I love hearing him chuckling away to himself and chatting to the wild birds outside. Tiger the cockatiel

“It’s lovely to be recognised in the Pet of the Year awards. My grandma used to breed such lovely birds and it’s nice for him to get this in memory of her.” 

The couple have just relocated to join family near Alicante and made the journey by car with Tiger and their other pets. 

“We couldn’t bear to leave him as he’s such a big part of our family,” said Samantha, who charts Tiger’s exploits on an Instagram page. 

“Although we were worried it might be too stressful, he has always coped with everything really well. We had to get DEFRA paperwork for him, but nobody gets left behind.” 

This is the second annual Pet of the Year awards and there were deserving entries from across the country. 

“It was really tough to shortlist for this year’s awards, as so many incredibly moving entries were submitted.” said Dave Leicester, an emergency vet and head of telehealth at Video Vets Now, a video consultation service for pet owners. 

“What’s clear is that more than ever, pets are showing incredible resilience and with the right attention and care, are much loved members of the family.” 

Samantha and Andy received a trophy, a £50 voucher and a personalised bundle of vet-recommended pet treats from official awards partner Wayfair. 

“It’s been a pleasure to be involved in Vets Now Pet of the Year Awards and hear so many remarkable stories. Pets are such an important part of homes for thousands of households across the country and it’s clear that the winning entries are very much part of the family, offering comfort, companionship and so much more.” said Marina Kull, Head of UK Housewares at Wayfair.