Caturday felid: Trainspotting cat

September 24, 2011 • 5:08 am

Attention Melbourne residents (and that means you, Brother Blackford!): you have a chance to witness an amazing and rare feat of feline fealty.  The Herald Sun reports that Graeme, a male moggie, accompanies his owner to the train station each morning and then goes back in the evening to escort her back home.

GRAEME the trainspotting cat has attained rock star status among commuters at his station.

Every morning the laid-back feline leaves home and saunters down to the platform on the Hurstbridge line to mix with travellers heading off to work

The pampered cat cannot get enough of attention, with scores of regulars calling him by name as they stop for a chat and give him a pat on the head.

Safety conscious, the sociable moggie is meticulous about using the subway to cross to the city-bound platform, rather than take a dangerous short cut across the tracks.

When the evening peak comes around, Graeme puts on an encore performance, arriving at the opposite platform in time to greet owner Nicole Weinrich as she returns home from work.

“He always seems to know which train carriage I am on and will be sitting there behind the yellow line when the doors open, because he is all about safety,” Ms Weinrich said.

“He is an amazing cat.”

Here’s the video (thanks, Michael):

Read more at the link.

Now stories like these always seem dubious to me, especially when they involve faithful cats.  If you live in Melbourne, and can verify this story yourself with picture or a video, I’ll send you an autographed copy of WEIT.  And any ailurophile in Melbourne would want to see this in person anyway.

Graeme and commuter
Graeme laps up the attention from a friendly commuter. Picture: Trevor Pinder
Source: Herald Sun

h/t: Rafael

42 thoughts on “Caturday felid: Trainspotting cat

  1. I lived in Melbourne for a bit and I heard of this story. Never actually verified it, but it was kind of local lore. I knew people who knew the cat, so I’m going to assume this is probably true. Doesn’t seem that crazy, really. An urban cat with a morning routine.

  2. OK, so it’s anecdotal. But I am willing to accept the cuteness at face value. It’s not as though Graeme doesn’t exist. Or does he?

    They don’t give the name of the station, but I suppose you’d recognize it if you lived there.

  3. One of our cats will often follow us (stalk us, actually!) when we go for a walk around the neighborhood, if he happens to be out and about. The first time he did it, he must have followed us for around a mile at least! It’s usually a lot shorter than that. Well, we think — he was wearing a bell at the time, and we discovered him because we noticed we were being doggedly (ba-dump!) followed by a sporadic jingle! He’s since ditched the bell (and another we tried to put on him afterwards) so maybe he follows us even farther and we just don’t know it.

    Anyway, if I were in a city where my commute to work involved walking to the subway, it would not surprise me at all if he followed me.

    1. I wondered that too. Head shape seems more male, and maybe the fur is just an odd blend of blacks and grays. But it looks to have some orange mixed in too.

      Could it be XXY trisomy?

      1. Tortoiseshell cats aren’t all female but the females are the only fertile ones. By and large, that is.

        Coloured cats are interesting especially when there is a sex link. Red tabby cats are the male equivalent. But again, some females are red and usually not fertile.

        I did, once breed a fertile red point Siamese. It can be done!!

  4. When I was a kid, (up through mid-teens) there was a 120 lb dog, Murphy, who walked 3/4 of a mile down to the post office, 6 days a week to meet the mailman for our route. He would then walk the entire route with the mailman, stopping at every house and when returning to the post office, would walk back home.

    I saw this daily for years. One day the dog did not show up and the mailman called the dog’s owner who went outside and found the dog had died, at around 20 years of age.

  5. I had a cat who used to do some of my paper route with me, so I know first-hand how awesome they can be. I’m glad it was in the morning when traffic was light.

    OT – can anyone point me to Jerry’s quote about how science discards bad ideas and religion turns them into metaphors? Thanks.

    1. I think one of my commenters made that point in a post a while ago, so it’s not original with me. But I can’t remember the source!

    2. Metaphor isn’t used, but perhaps you’re remembering Neil Rickert who wrote this:

      The Adam and Eve story always seemed to me to be a “Just So” story […] When science makes a bad move, somebody comes along and points out the mistake. And science drops the bad ideas. When theology makes a bad move (which seems to be most of the time), nobody is willing to point out that it was a mistake. Instead, they just make up new theology that attempts to cover over the deficiencies in the old theology…

  6. If you live in Melbourne, and can verify this story


    Love to verify it, .. but we don’t have a train station here!
    But I DO have a cat with a daily and very predictable routine. Not sure you guys would like to see a video of it though.

    Jack vB.
    Melbourne, Florida.

        1. Considering it’s the birthplace of Thomas Cook, there’s no station here any more.

          Melbourne, Derbyshire
          (the original)

    1. I always find it rather endearing when a cat has a ‘human’ name. Not Smoky, or Tiger, but ‘Graeme’. Graeme Riley at that. I was once introduced to a cat, asked the owner its name and was told, ‘that’s Dave. Perhaps you’d better call him David until he chooses to sit on your lap’.

  7. Cute, Jerry – but I don’t live in Melbourne anymore (I did live there for 30 years, though, and until relatively recently).

    Would love to see this kitteh next time I visit, but, alas, I don’t know the story.

  8. I would love to verify the story, but as I am in Brisbane that would be quite a long drive. 🙁

    Pity, as even though the article does not mention the station for privacy reasons, I have worked out which station it is, which was quite fun (not telling) :p

    Oh Internet, is there nothing you cannot do?

  9. When I was a child, my cat walked me to the bus station at the end of the block every morning. When I got into jr high, the new bus stop was a few more blocks away. The first day my cat walked me all the way to the bus stop and got lost. We found her that evening after a few hours of searching. After that she’d walk me to the end of the block.

    She never walked me home, though.

    So the story seems plausible to me.

  10. Cats are frequently extraordinary.

    I’ve only recently learned that my 13yr old rescue cat, Evil, walks on a leash.

    About a month ago, Ben Goren wrote about how he took his cat outside on a leash, and that made me wonder if I could do likewise with Evil. And what do you know. I can.

    It’s a bit of effort to steer him around cactus, but other wise, he does just fine, although I do feel a bit ridiculous when the neighbors drive by.

    1. We regularly take Lucy out on her leash. Wes started when she was tiny and she’s quite used to it now. It’s her only way to get outside in a safe manner. She’s a desperate house cat as a rule.

  11. I believe in Graeme!

    1. There are pictures.
    2. The reporting is consistent, the cat’s name is the same, it looks and acts the same (unlike some gods we could mention).
    3. I read about him on WEIT, a science publication subject to peer and non-peer review. He is not some spooky, invisible cat written about in a cryptic mystical book that will spawn 30,000+ denominations of dogma (or is it catma?).

  12. I live in Mooroolbark, which is an outer eastern suburb of Melbourne.

    The Hurstbridge line includes the following stations:

    Hurstbridge, Wattle Glen, Diamond Creek, Eltham, Montmorency, Greensborough, Watsonia, Macleod, Rosanna, Heidelberg, Eaglemont, Ivanhoe, Darebin, Alphington, Fairfield, Dennis, Westgarth, Clifton Hill, Victoria Park, Collingwood, North Richmond, West Richmond, Jolimont.

    They are all about 20-40 kms from where I live.
    I’ll let you know in about six months.

  13. I believe in Graeme… I’m just not sure I believe that he is a he. That coloring requires two X chromosomes, but he could be a Klinefelter’s feline as other’s have suggested.

    What is the evidence that Graeme is male? I had a tortie female that used to wait walk a couple blocks with me and then wait at the same spot for me to return and walk back home with her. She would only walk with me to the edge of her “territory”. My bet is that Graeme is a female, and I shan’t believe otherwise without further evidence.

  14. I live on the Lilydale line, (the wrong one) and I’m far too lazy to go hanging round train stations in the morning even if it is to look for cute kittehs. They don’t say what time either, I guess the evening one might be easier but I’m still not going to do it, sorry. I already have a copy of WEIT, electronic but good enough.

    @Billy Joe, good luck with the kitteh detecting.

    1. I’ll not be doing any kitteh detecting. Are you kidding! 23 stations 20-40 kms away!


      And, hey, I’m on the Lilydale line as well, though I haven’t caught a train for a couple of decades now (which might change if I’m to get into Melbourne for the City2Sea 14km run in November).

  15. On This page of Graeme Riley’s facebook we are told

    In the last 6 years, with the exception of a brief few months on the mean streets of Brunswick, he has come to call Northcote his home and has adopted the local residents as his adoring fan base.

    Gender: Male

    Personal Information: Graeme can be found most mornings and afternoons at his local train station. He likes to socialise and train spot.

    Personal Interests: Hanging out at the local train station. Occasionally riding the train. Being a cat about town. Jogging. Loves ice cream and knitted fabrics. (Please don’t give him access to either)

    Here it says that:

    Northcote has five railway stations along two lines. The Epping Line serves Merri Station (formerly known as Northcote Station), Northcote Station (formerly known as Middle Northcote Station), and Croxton Station. The Hurstbridge Line serves Westgarth Station (formerly known as Westgarth Street Station), and Dennis Station

    Westgarth Station is weatherboard construction whereas Dennis is brick. Judging from the video I think the buildings are brick & therefore Graeme is a Dennisonian

  16. What a cute story!

    Growing up, one or both of my cats would walk with me down the street to the bus stop.

    And nearly every single day, one or both of them would be at the bus stop waiting for me, and we walked home together.

    I miss those cats so much. They were brother (Sherman) and sister (Skyler), and passed away within a few months of each other at around 19 years old. Even in their old age they would walk around the back yard or up and down the street with us.

  17. Yep Graeme is real alright I first spotted him watching the trains a few Months back, thought it odd cat on the platform, surrounded by people just sitting there. Saw him again one evening on the other side on the way home.. Then again in the morning on the other platform.
    Haven’t seen him for awhile strangely soon after the “story” broke about him in the news, he obviously went into hiding from the paparazzi..but low and behold on the way home tonight there he was on the platform waiting. Graeme was disappointed when he realised the train was the “double express” and wasn’t stopping at his stop so turned to walk back to the fence line.

    So to all you doubters Graeme is real!! His coat is a real blotchy dark brown black and reddish, not a tortie very unusual.

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