Wednesday 21 December 2016

Feline good about 2016

I was drafting out a “Highlights of 2016” post, for which you will have to wait until next week. One of the categories was obviously going to be Best Pub Cat. However, while there is a clear winner, there’s enough material to justify a blogpost all of its own.

Pub Cat of the Year – Porter in the Swan at Holmes Chapel in Cheshire. This is a pub that has been expensively refurbished by Sam Smith’s to return it to being a warren of tiny rooms. I was sitting in one of these, minding my own business, when I heard a gentle chirrup and then found a large mass of black fur doing its best to sit on my lap. He was so keen on being fussed and petted that it was difficult to push him away far enough to take a picture.

On leaving the pub, I asked what their cat was called. “Which one?” was the reply, always a good sign. “Oh, the big black one.” “Ah yes, his name is Porter. He likes his dinner.” He looked like he did, to be honest.

Runner-up #1 – Bob in the Magnet in Stockport. Undoubtedly a tortie in appearance, but allegedly male nonetheless. Here I am captured by Erlangernick in full “Mudgie sees pub cat” mode.

Runner-up #2 – Felix in the Boar’s Head in Stockport, the unexpected but deserved winner of our local CAMRA Pub of the Year award. A big old black-and-white fellow who, according to the regulars, can be a bit snappy, but has always seemed laid-back when I’ve encountered him. Here he is gesturing as if to say “leave me alone, I just want to snooze”.

Not a pubcat as such, but this handsome fellow was spotted by both me and Martin Taylor patrolling the street outside the Three Tuns in Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire. I recall we also unearthed another blog from a couple of years back that mentioned him.

And I came across this friendly old chap in the churchyard in Hartington in Derbyshire. He chirruped loudly and followed me around demanding fussing and belly-rubs.

I’m not in a position to have a cat myself, as there’s nobody to look after it when I’m away, but there is a varied selection of local mogs to be spotted on my street, including this little cutie who I pictured on my back step.

Plus of course this year pub cats (or at least metropolitan ones) have got their very own book in the form of London Pubcats. It’s a charming book for cat-lovers which also has a very positive story to tell about the social function of pubs.


  1. I always associate dogs and pubs. I was surprised by this topic and the book on pub cats. I hadn't really noticed a lot of pub cats. Dogs seem really common. Several pub blogs mention cats a lot. I like cats and am puzzled why I haven't noticed many. Your post implies they are quite common.

    1. I'm not sure pub cats are *that* common, but certainly both Martin T and Simon E have come across a few on their travels, including this one in Ramsgate. I can only think of four pubs that I regularly visit that have one.

      The Olde Vic in Stockport used to have a notoriously bad-tempered cat called Jess.

      I'd say a better pub pet than dogs as they are low-maintenance and tend to keep themselves to themselves.

  2. Sadly, Michael Harris from Holmes Chapel has enquired about Porter in the Swan and was told that he hasn't been seen for four months. My picture was taken on 30 July so he must have disappeared not long after that :-(


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