Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Churchill's request helps kitten

Jock VI has taken up residence at Sir Winston Churchill's former country home (Iain Carter/National Trust/PA)

A new kitten has taken up residence at Sir Winston Churchill's former country home to honour a request made by the ex-prime minister and his family.

For his 88th birthday in 1962, Churchill was given a marmalade cat named Jock after one of his private secretaries, Sir John "Jock" Colville, who gave him the pet.

The cat was so dear to Churchill that it was rumoured that meals would not start until Jock was at the table.

As well as Churchill, his relatives requested that there should always be a marmalade cat named Jock with a white bib and four white socks resident at Chartwell in Kent.

The National Trust, which was left the property by the Churchill family in 1966, has always honoured the request and this month welcomed Jock VI, a seven-month-old rescue kitten.

Jock VI, or Malley as he was previously known, was rescued by Croydon Animal Samaritans before being adopted by Chartwell's house and collections manager, Katherine Barnett.

Trust officials said he takes afternoon naps, eats tuna and lounges on Persian rugs at Chartwell, which has a green cat-flap approved by an historic buildings inspector.

Ms Barnett said: "It's a modern-day rags-to-riches story.

"Jock VI has had a difficult start to his life, but as the saying goes, a cat will always land on its feet. I'm delighted with Jock.

"He's a very caring, loving cat and I think our visitors will get lots of enjoyment from seeing him around the property for many years to come."

Jock V left Chartwell when its owner, the former house and collections manager at the property, left as well.

A trust spokesman said: "The pair had such a close bond, they stayed together and are both now living in the Scottish countryside."

Anna Nikolic, a trustee and senior fosterer with Croydon Animal Samaritans, said: "We're delighted to have found such a loving home for Jock and know Katherine and the team at Chartwell will provide for all his needs.

"We hope to give all our rescue cats this happy-ever-after ending, and would encourage anyone looking for a family cat themselves to get in touch with us."

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