Famous Working Cats
Beerbohm – at the theater
Beerbohm served 20 years as a mouser at the Globe Theater in London. The Globe Theater is now called the Gielgud Theater. Beerbohm was a large Tabby cat. Every once in a while Beerbohm would wonder on stage during a performance and steal the show.
Beerbohm had an intense relationship with Fleur. Fleur worked as a mouser in the nearby Lyric Theater. Beerbohm’s picture is to be found in the lobby of the theater. Beerbohm died in March 1995.
Towser – at the Distillery
“Towser – Towser was the name of the cat at the Glenturret Distillery in Scotland. Towser was a female tortoiseshell cat. She lived from 1963-1987.
Towser was a master mouser.
She even made it to Guinness Book of World records! The distillery reported that Towser killed about three mice daily throughout her adult life!
Visitors today may admire the bronze statue of Towser at the distillery.
Her paw prints are also to be found on the label of Fairlie’s Light Highland Liqueur.
Smudge – The People’s Palace Museum – Glasgow, Scotland
The black and white cat named Smudge was employed by the People’s Palace as a mouser. Smudge was an official fully paid member of the General, Municipal and Boilermakers Trade Union. Smudge was employed in 1979 and died in the year 2000.
Smudge was greatly loved. The museum had sculptures made of Smudge which were sold as souvenirs in the museum shop.
Arthur – TV star for Cat Food – U.K.
Arthur was the beautiful white cat who worked in advertising in England. Arthur was used in ads for the cat food called Kattomeat.
After the company started receiving tons of fan mail addressed to Arthur, they decided to rename the cat food in honor of the popular cat. Kattomeat was rebranded as Arthur’s.
Working Cats in Films
Orangey – Movie Star
Orangey was an orange- colored Tabby cat trained by Frank Inn. Orangey is the only cat in history to have won the PATSY award twice.
The PATSY award is the Oscar award of the animal kingdom. It is short for Picture Animal Top Star of the Year. The PATSY awards were last given in 1986.
Orangey played the role of the cat named Minerva in the American situation comedy, Our Miss Brooks (1952–56).
Orangey received the PATSY award for his role in the movie Rhubard (1951) and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961).
Movie star – Pyewacket
Pyewacket is another movie star cat. Pyewacket won the Patsy award for his role in the movie “Bell, Book and Candle” released in 1959, starring James Stewart, Kim Novak and Jack Lemmon. “Bell, Book and Candle” is a romantic comedy.
Pyewacket is the Siamese cat belonging to the witch who is determined to seduce her neighbor.
She puts a love spell on him by stroking Pyewacket while humming a magic spell. That scene is absolutely precious!
After the release of this film Pyewacket became a popular cat name.
Tonto – Movie Star Cat
Tonto is the name of the movie star cat starring in the movie “Harry and Tonto”. Also starring in this movie from 1974 are Art Carney, Herbert Berghof, Ellen Burstyn, Geraldine Fitzgerald and Larry Hagman.
In the movie Harry Coombes (Carney), an elderly widower who decides to travel cross country with his pet cat, Tonto. The movie was written by Paul Mazursky and Josh Greenfeld.
Working Cats at the Post Office
Blackie – Employed at The Post Office
Blackie was the last cat to be officially employed at the London Post Office Headquarters. Blackie received £1.00 in wages weekly. Blackie become quite famous and appeared on BBC. Blackie died in June 1984. The London Post office did not employ another cat as it modernized the postal sacks. The new postal bags were made of plastic as opposed to the cloth bags tasty to all mice.
Tibs –Employed at the Post Office
Tibs was officially employed at the London Post Office Headquarters. Tibs was soon to become one of the favorite employees. He kept the post office mice-free for 14 years. Tibs died in November 1964. In his obituary in the Post Office Magazine the headline was “Tibs the Great is No More”.
Wilberforce – the Best Mouser in Britain
The home of Wilberforce was No. 10 Downing Street, London. Wilberforce (1973-1988) was a male black and white cat. He worked as a mouser serving for 13 years and served under four different Prime Ministers: Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan and Margaret Thatcher.
It has been reported that Margaret Thatcher brought back a tin of sardines from Russia as a gift to Wilberforce. Wilberforce also appeared on television together with Margaret Thatcher. That incident resulted in Wilberforce receiving tons of fan mail from all over the country.
The caretaker at Downing Street was responsible for giving the cat the name Wilberforce in honor of William Wilberforce. William Wilberforce (1759 –1833) was a British politician and leader of leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade.
Wilberforce retired to the country in 1986 and died two years later peacefully in his sleep on May 19, 1988. “Cat World” wrote in his obituary that he was the “Best mouser in Britain”.
Wilberforce was succeeded by the cat named Humphrey.
Morris I – TV star for Cat Food – USA
In 1968 animal trainer Bob Martwick rescued a large orange Tabby cat from death row at an animal shelter in Chicago. He paid $5 for the cat. At first he called the cat Lucky, but a year later changed his name to Morris.
Morris had been chosen to be a commercial cat for cat food. Morris stared in 40 commercials the next ten years.
He was treated as royalty. Morris visited the White House, appeared on talk shows and even had a role in the movie “Shamus” (1973), also starring Burt Reynolds and Dyan Cannon. Morris received the PATSY award in 1973. The PATSY award is like an Oscar for animals. Morris died in 1978.
Morris II was also found in an animal shelter. Morris II was an exact look-alike of Morris I. In fact it was very difficult to tell them apart.
In 1988 Morris II became a candidate for Presidency of the United States. Unfortunately this did not work out for Morris II, but he did a fabulous job promoting 9Lives cat food.
Hamlet and Matilda
The fashionable Algonquin hotel in New York is famous for the hotel mascot cat.
The Algonquin hotel is the oldest running hotel in New York located at 59 West 44th street in Manhattan. The hotel was built in 1902.
In 1932 a stray orange, tabby cat wandered in to the hotel one rainy night. The hotel owner at that time, Frank Case, decided to keep the cat and named the cat Rusty.
Rusty was later renamed “Hamlet” by actor John Barrymore. Ever since Hamlet took up residence at the Algonquin hotel, the hotel has always kept a cat.
All male cats have been named Hamlet and all female cats have been named Matilda.
As of 2011 the cat of the Algonquin hotel is named Matilda III. She is a gorgeous Ragdoll cat and she is often seen in the hotel lobby welcoming new guests. Matilda III is the tenth cat to move into the Algonquin hotel.