Friday, June 29, 2007

Great Cats in History #1: Nigel: I'll tumble 4 ya

[Kate and Nigel, late 1983]

This is the first in what I intend to be a series of posts about the great cats in history who preceded me as Kate's feline companions. The subtitles are songs that Kate relates to these cats for one reason or another. Now, Kate lived with other cats before Nigel, but Nigel was the first cat that Kate thought of as hers (besides, there's no photographic evidence of the others). Anyway, back to Nigel...

Nigel was born on VFL Grand Final Day in 1983, the day that the Hawthorn Hawks thrashed the Essendon Bombers 20.20.140 to 8.9.57.* Nigel and his three sisters were born in a shed in Kate's backyard. Their mum, Tabitha, was Kate's family's cat. Nigel was allowed to stay with the family and become Kate's cat because he was the only boy, and Kate's dad didn't want any more litters of kittens in the family (this was in the days before neutering was so universal). So Nigel's sisters had little red ribbons tied around their necks and were given away at the local school fair, much to Kate's dismay. But she got to keep Nigel, and an intense yet one-sided friendship was born, a friendship beautifully epitomised in the above portrait of Kate and Nigel.

Tabitha ran away a few months after her kittens were born, so Nigel became the onlycat of the house. He was very well loved by Kate, who vaguely remembers making up songs about him and singing Boy George songs to him (like 'I'll tumble 4 ya'). Being very young, Kate suspects that she probably loved Nigel a little too much and didn't give him the time and space alone that every mancat needs. With his mancat urges growing, Nigel took Gemma the Golden Retreiver puppy's arrival in the family in the middle of 1984 as his cue to move on to parts unknown. While he wasn't around for very long, his tabby mancat charms were enough to make Kate a cat girl for life.

So here's to Nigel! Next month, Garfield: A groovy kind of love.


* A short lesson in Australian Rules Football scoring. 'Goals' are worth six points, 'points' are worth one point. so Hawthorn's score of 20.20.140 means that they kicked 20 goals (20x6= 120) and 20 points, a total of 140 points. That's a pretty high score. One more thing: VFL stands for Victorian Football League, which is what the Australian Football League was called before it became a national league in 1990. Interested in more info? Click here.


Christine and FAZ said...

Wow, my human had cats before me too - I was shocked when I first found out because I always thought I was the original and best. Does Kate sing you songs too? FAZ

mister jeter harris, hizself said...

i'll tumble 4 ya nigel ... warever u ar!
dis iz gointa be a grate seriez uv "grate catz in history". i'm hopin to reed 'em all.
luv--yer frend--jh

Parker said...

The Ones Who Came Before always hold a special place in our humans hearts.

Daisy said...

It was very nice to learn about Nigel. He seems like a very special cat and what a great friendship he had with Kate!

Anonymous said...

What a great idea for a series, Pablo! I look forward to reading them. And Nigel sounds like he was a special cat, and the picture of him and Kate is adorable!

Purrs and snuggles from Marilyn.

Dragonheart, Merlin, Devi, and Chloe said...

Nigel sounds like a very special cat. Thanks for telling us about him.

Re: The Ampelmann in Berlin. Yep, my humans saw those! Very cool.

Christine and FAZ said...

p.s. I meant to mention Aussie Rules - never could get the scoring straight in my head. Also the teams all seem infiltrated by very big, very scary, very agressive men. Christine

Ali & Fiona said...

Nigel looks like you Pablo, that was a very touching story. Momma's first cats name was Custard.

Zoey and the furballs said...

Nigel is adorable. Mommy had kitties before me too, but I only know about McKenzie. Thanks for the lesson on Australian football.

lordjaders said...

I suspect my beans have had a few feline furrrends too. No one learrrns how take such good carrre of me without prrractice.

Nigel and Kate's photo was prrrecious.

Yourrr Furrrend,


Unknown said...


It's Gypsy here - your seekret paw! Thanks so much for the kool stuff. It's grate for snuggling and for playing - I even let my sister Tasha have a go! I'll get mum to take some fotos and post them on the seekret paws website,

Purrs and headbutts