Monthly Archives: March 2014

The hard working cats of Exeter Cathedral

Somehow we felines have earned a reputation for not doing much. You humans seem to think we spend our days sleeping, only waking to eat and allow ourselves to be stroked by our adoring humans.

Well let me tell you we are some of the hardest working creatures you’ll find. We’re just incredibly intelligent when it comes to conserving our energy, which means we carry out tasks with precision, efficiency and a cool head.

Down the centuries we’ve been on the payroll of many famous organisations. Take Exeter Cathedral for instance.

The Cathedral is home to an astronomical clock that was fitted in 1484. Fourteen. Eighty. Four. Wow that’s old!

Anyway, the clock developed a rather squeaky problem. A squeaky problem with big teeth and long tails. Yup. Rats. They gnawed away at the ropes in the clock’s inner workings, which were lubricated with animal fat – nectar to rodents.  Something had to be done.

So a hole was made in the door that led to the inside of the clock, big enough to allow a cat to get in and deal with the problem. 

These cats were official cathedral employee, paid one shiny penny a week for their troubles. Imagine the amount of Dreamies that would buy in today’s money!

Exeter Cathedral catOne brave feline employee, Tom, lost an eye in a fight with an owl over a rat and there’s a little stone carving of him inside the Cathedral.

Thanks to Fiona Bruce (I do like Fiona) for sharing this story on Antiques Roadshow!

Cats that float on water

I’ve been sent two images this week of cat sanctuaries. IMG_0264This one snapped in Amsterdam from Robert and Cath Stubbings (Daisy’s people). And this taken in Barcelona taken by Natalie Hayes who works for a Devon Rex called Jelly. (My people met Jelly’s daughter Moonie in Cornwall last week.)

Barcelona cat sanctuary

The Amsterdam sanctuary is very unusual – it’s on a boat on one of the canals! Home to Amsterdam’s stay and abandoned cats, the Cat Boat has become a tourist attraction.

Started by a kind lady called Henriette van Weelde in 1966, it’s been looking after needy cats for almost 50 years!

And this is Moonie – Jelly’s daughter…


A muse on art

Art:  we all have an opinion. Us cats especially – being the elegant and aesthetic types.
We all know what we like. Here’s me in front of a couple of my current likes. (Paddy Hamilton - painting on my right -  mentions fish a lot).

Showing off a Trish and a Paddy

Showing off a Trish and a Paddy

But it’s about more than likes really. Like a feline, an artwork can touch your soul. It can make you smile, can make you think, can challenge you with some difficult questions.
Most importantly, like felines, living with art makes human life better.
Banish drab and ordinary. Choose original and inspiring.
Take a look at my Art Emporium – opening soon!

Higgs the Highland Kitty hitches a ride

Wow!  Higgs the Kitten is even more adventurous than me. Take a look at his story and picture in The Metro .

He actually likes going on holiday and enjoys riding around in a rucksack carried by one of his staff.

Me, well, I like to make my own way and I really don’t like being in that noisy thing my people call ‘the car’. Things speeding past without me moving – it’s unnatural.

But hats off to Higgs anyway. Enjoy your travels you brave little kitty.

Thanks to my eagle-eyed roving reporter Sue Grose for spotting the story.





Doppler the weather cat


Just read about Doppler, a ginger tabby, who sadly passed away in February aged 16. (You’ll need to scroll down past Dr Who to find his obituary).

Doppler worked for WSTM, a local TV station in Syracuse, New York, on their weather forecasts. So he was a weather cat like me, but on telly. And not as soggy.

He retired in September last year and was well-looked after by an animal welfare expert for the last months of his life.

16! Apparently that’s 84 in your years! I bet he’ll be much missed by his colleagues at WSTM and the station’s viewers.


Dementia & Cats & People

My people Elaine and Graham are both Dementia Friends Champions. They know a bit about the condition and run sessions so other people can find out about it, then in turn do their own little bit to help people to live well with the condition.
As it turns out cats (and pets like dogs) can also help in their little way too.
Here is a picture on Tinker Wigan-20140301-00643He’s a smart and quite large Ginger fellow. He was originally known as Tinkerbell until an informative visit to the vet in his early days.
Tinker is a bit of a hero. He lives in a care home with some elderly folk, some of whom have dementia.
Tinker makes a big difference in their lives. He gives them time and is patient and interacts and engages with everyone.
Turns out my Dementia Friends Champions say that’s a big part of what everyone (even humans) can do to help people with dementia to live well.
Share some kindness, some affection, some calm and some patience. Be like a cat and you will see the rewards as people engage more.