Caturday felid trifecta: Missing cat comes home after 13 years; cat rescued from vending maching; cat mouses in distillery

June 28, 2014 • 5:43 am

What a lineup of three great cat stories today! I hope you like moggies, because if you don’t, you should be over reading Andrew Sullivan’s B*agle Blog.

First up,we have, from both the Geelong Advertiser News and care2, a report about Shelby, a cat that went missing in St. Albans Park (Victoria, Oz) and apparently turned up on its owners doorstep 13 years later!

From care2 (the site has a nice video of Shelby, too):

When a stray cat arrived in Paula Harper-Adams’s front yard recently, she and her children were shocked and saddened at the poor state of the animal.

Thinking it was a young ­feline they took it to Newcomb Vet Clinic in Coppards Rd to see if anything could be done for it. When vet workers told Ms Harper-Adams it was quite an old cat, an unlikely thought crossed her mind — could this be Shelby, a beloved pet missing for 13 years.

The cat is older than any of the family’s four children, three of whom never knew it.  It was all matted and covered with lice when it turned up. More:

But that cat would now be almost 18 years old, she told herself.

“I was convinced I was crazy, but I took a photo of the cat’s face, in case anyone ­responded to my Facebook post (for a missing animal), and left,’’ Ms Harper-Adams.

“I half joked that if I could find a photo of Shelby, I’d be back (to compare).

“Well, I went home and, like a woman possessed, searched through box after box until I found the photo I was looking for, Shelby.

“I took the photo back to the vet and the girls had a good look over her and the photo before coming back and ­announcing to me in the waiting room: ‘She is your cat.’ ’’

Well, it would have been better to have evidence from either an implanted chip or DNA, but I’ll take their word for it. Here’s Shelby en famille before his untimely departure:


Shelby now:

Reader Su, who sent me this story, commented: “I say no 17 yr old cat has been making it on its own and someone knows something!”

Screen shot 2014-06-19 at 10.23.40 AM

Well, Shelby’s old now (if it is Shelby; watch the video to see if you think it’s the same cat), and I hope the rest of his life is happy. But if that cat lives ten more years, it wasn’t Shelby!


And another cat rescue, this time of a kitten stuck in a vending machine. (The location isn’t specified but Big Lots is an American chain). From trends addict:

Coworkers arrived at a Big Lots only to find a kitten stuck in a vending machine. They heard tiny little meows coming from somewhere in the store. The kitten sounded a little frantic and sounded like it had been meowing for a while.

There was a Dr. Pepper machine nearby and employees were determined to get it out. It had crawled into the back of the machine and couldn’t get out. [JAC: Dr. Pepper is an American cherry-flavored cola popular in the South. I don’t know if it’s sold in other countries.]


“We heard it outside crying but we couldn’t get it out” an employee said. She called Animal Control and Offer Mike Henderson arrived with a scope to look into the machine.

Once Animal Control fished out the kitten, one of the employees gave the kitten to a friends daughter, who rightly named the kitten “Pepper”.

It’s a cute one, isn’t it? It’s unusual, I think, to have a gray tabby with a brown nose.

Pepper and new staff!

By the way, Pepper is the name of one of Matthew Cobb’s two cats. Do you remember the name of the other one?


This is my favorite of the three stories. Reader Graham, from Scotland (of course) has called my attention to a story that a cat (a beautiful kitten, actually) has been named the Official Mouser at the Glenturret Distillery. That’s where Famous Grouse, a blended whiskey, is made. Apparently cats are very useful in such places since mice love to feast on the barley.

The BBC News reports:

Eight-week old kitten Peat has taken up the position at the Glenturret Distillery, home of the Famous Grouse.

Peat follows in the pawprints of Towser, one of the world’s most famous distillery cats, who still holds a Guinness World Record for catching 28,889 mice over 24 years.

The distillery cat is expected to greet visitors as well as hunt down mice.

“Peat” is a great name.  Here he is:

Peat with the product of his efforts

Peat replaces Barley, a resident tomcat who disappeared last winter and has not returned despite repeated attempts to find him by distillery staff.

The kitten has the freedom to roam the Glenturret distillery grounds and the new Famous Grouse Experience visitor centre, where Towser’s official record certificate is on display.

The famed champion mouser [Towser] is also commemorated by a bronze statue at the Crieff distillery.

Here’s Peat with a statue of Towser. The statue’s inscription reads:

21 April 1963-30 March 1987

Towser, the famous cat who lived in the still house,
Glenturret Distillery, for almost 24 years.
She caught 28,899 mice in her lifetime.
World mousing champion, Guinness Book of Records.

Note that that’s an average of 3 mice per day! But I wonder how they knew the exact number? Clearly Towser didn’t nom the mice, and someone counted them all. (See below for the answer.)


Lesley Williamson, business development manager at the Famous Grouse experience, said while the team were “very sorry” to lose Barley, they were “truly delighted” to welcome Peat to the family.

She added: “The fluffy little bundle has already been charming his way into our visitors’ hearts this week.

“He’s already made himself at home in our new tasting bar and is showing signs of settling in nicely.”

The new visitor centre was opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last month, and is expected to welcome 100,000 tourists a year.

From Love Meow,which also explains that the number is an estimate (my emphasis):

Towser was a long-haired tortoiseshell that was born on April 21, 1963. She lived 24 years of her life in Glenturret Distillery, Scotland. The area is well known for its whisky production. The barley stores in a distillery often attract mice like bees to a honeypot, thus for many decades, Glenturret has always appointed a feline guard to be the mouse control expert.

No one knew the exact number of mice Towser caught during her life time. According to a study by the Guinness book of records, Towser’s prowess was put under observation for a number of days. The final count was measured based on the statistical information collected. However, this number might not be completely accurate, but having the ability to catch an average of three mice or more per day is definitely impressive.

Towser’s fame lived on in the city where people erected a bronze statue for her after her passing. Also, they honored her feat by using her paw prints on the label of every bottle of Fairlie’s light Highland Liquor.

Here’s a photo of Towser and a video showing the statue:


Although I’m not a big Famous Grouse fan (my tastes run to the Islay malts like Lagavulin and Ardbeg, and my absolute favorite dram is Springbank), I’d sure make a trip to the Glenturret distillery to see Peat. In fact, any reader who does so, and sends a picture of him/her self with the cat, will get a free autographed book with a whiskey-drinking cat sketched in.

23 thoughts on “Caturday felid trifecta: Missing cat comes home after 13 years; cat rescued from vending maching; cat mouses in distillery

  1. Imagine getting a kitten from a vending machine! Way better than Dr Pepper (which is sold in Canada).

  2. I flicked here from the Dish – and was amused to read your first sentence. Andrew had an article on ogling male athletes at the world cup and currently has followed that up with ogling men in the sex scenes in orphan black.

    Frankly, the cats were more to my personal taste 🙂

  3. How about an article on the late Tiddles who inhabited the Ladies lavatory in Paddington Station London? Tiddles lived from 1970-1983, was hugely fat and weighed 15Kg at death

    1. I know about Tiddles, but I don’t usually like to post about grossly obsese cats. In fact, I once sent my ex girlfriend down into the ladies room at Paddington so she could see Tiddles and report back to me (yes, he was fat, she said).

      It wasn’t fair that only women could see that cat.

      1. Agreed, my daughters would visit the loo and come back with vivid descriptions of Tiddles.Even though Brunel has a statue at the station, so far Tiddles does not. Probably cost too much in Bronze.

  4. On a point of pedantry,please forgive me if I point out that Scotch whisky has no “e”.
    I agree with Prof Ceiling Cat’s taste for the Islays, though. Glen Turret single malt is a decent enough dram, however, much more complex than the Famous Grouse blend.
    I would be very happy to buy the professor a glass or two of the glorious Single Cask whiskies at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society next time he’s in Edinburgh.

    1. Sorry, but you’re wrong: the word has two spellings. As the New York Times notes:

      Whiskey is a word with an alternative spelling, whisky. Or maybe it’s the other way around. seems to prefer whiskey. The New York Times stylebook definitively prefers whiskey:

      whiskey(s). The general term covers bourbon, rye, Scotch and other liquors distilled from a mash of grain. For consistency, use this spelling even for liquors (typically Scotch) labeled whisky.

      1. “Whiskey” must be the same as “judgement” which can be spelled with or without the “e”.

        This is funny since there is judgement with whiskey. 😀

        1. Yes, but after one consumes a certain amount of whiskey, all judgement evaporates. 🙂

          Well, sound judgement, at least.

          I can’t drink the stuff myself, but I am fond of Calvados and (genuine aged) gold rum.

      2. Fair enough.
        The regulations of the Scotch Whisky Association (2009) require the use of the ‘ky’ spelling on labels, hence my sad pedantry.
        Slàinte mhath!

        1. Agreed. In Scotland “whisky” refers to what everyone outside Scotland calls “Scotch”, and “whiskey” is generally used here to signify Irish whiskey. I humbly suggest that The New York Times stylebook is not best placed to tell Scots how to spell their national drink. I have no opinion on how to spell the various American spirits, and am happy to defer to the NYT.

  5. Little Peat appears to have some Siamese cat heritage-look at those beautiful blue eyes and darker points on his paws, ears and tail. I had a “tabby point” (?) kitty that looked just like Peat–his name was “Dickens” and he was the smartest cat I’ve ever had. Peat should be a good mouser.

  6. Peat and Barley makes me wonder about cognac cats. “Mouse oui!”

    I’m no fan of whiskey, but I can get some sweet US variants down if need be. If not cognac, I’ll take a spiced vodka of course. (“Skåne” is a favorite.) Nothing like a hammer to the head if you want to get hammered!

  7. I’m not so sure the new Shelby is the same cat as the old Shelby, but I am sure that I’m quite happy that Shelby has a good forever retirement home….


  8. I have a hard time thinking three mice a day is something special in a mouser (as opposed to a house cat).

    When I was young we lived in the country with a truly exceptional huntress named (by my sister), Meow. Meow was a typical domesticated cat, nearly pure white, with the tabby “M” on her head in grey. Smallish for a cat.

    In the summer she was up before dawn ranging the hills. We had an old pickup truck in the back that only saw use when there was something to haul, so it sat much of the time. Meow would line up her kills there under the pickup. As the day progressed, the line would grow: mice, birds, snakes — laid out in order.

    When the heat of the afternoon came, Meow would relax in the shade of the pickup truck and eat her kill one by one then have a well earned nap. As small as she was, she never left anything for us to pick up and throw away.

    We once saw her drag home, and later consume, a groundhog easily twice her size.

    I don’t remember if this was a daily occurrence, every other day, or what. I’m confident in saying she probably didn’t hunt for a few days after the groundhog.

    Anyway, just from experience, three mice a day doesn’t seem all that impressive or out of the ordinary for a working mouser.

  9. Dr.Pepper is sold in other countries such as the UK,where I am, and jolly horrid stuff it is too. Karassibly pleased to see we share similar tastes in Scotch,Jerry, so I won’t dispute the spellings (once upon a time only Scotch was “whisky” and similar-often excellent- spirits were “whiskey”:usage rules!)

    1. Here in Mexico we have not only Dr. Pepper buy Diet Dr. Pepper. I guess as far as soft drinks go it’s not that bad. Doesn’t taste as sweet as Coca Cola.

  10. Didn’t I send in a few pix of the “Towser” statue after I visited Glen Turret just before New Year? I definitely took some, thinking “Caturday for ProfCC.”
    Maybe not – I had to do a sudden burst of travel just after that. I’ll dig them out when I get home.

  11. Is there a deadline for the cat picture challenge? I am living in Edinburgh temporarily and would be happy to participate.

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