Friday, 8 February 2013

My cat is more famous than me

Padstow is nine years old and last week he finally found fame. Briefly.

It has been said that Padstow has a weight problem. How rude.

Your cat being more famous than you are is a problem that writer Tom Cox, author of Under The Paw and Talk To The Tail, knows all too well. He's carved out a nice little niche for himself with his witty, moving and cleverly-written books about living with up to six cats at a time. One of his clutch of felines, a 17-year-old black cat called The Bear, even has his own Twitter account - @MYSADCAT. But then The Bear has lived a rather eventful life (he was abandoned by the side of a motorway as a kitten, that's not a great start) and has now essentially retired to Norfolk to... well, mainly to look a bit sad.

Tom Cox's cat The Bear can be found at @MYSADCAT on Twitter

My cat Padstow, on the other hand, has lived a relatively uneventful life. In his nine years he's hardly saved any babies from burning hospitals. Other than a brief bromance with the 'sensitive' male cat that used to live nextdoor-but-one and the time he faked being so stressed by the new kitten we'd adopted that he and the vet conspired to get said kitten fobbed off onto my parents, he's had a quiet life.

Mind you, that said, he was about nine months old when he found us and all we know from his kittenhood was that he was living in the carpark of a YMCA centre and regularly breaking in to attend lessons for unemployed teenagers and scoff bits of their sandwiches. Before that, who knows? Maybe he was born in the circus and ran away because he was scared of clowns.

But last week Padstow the cat found the kind of fame an overweight, selfish, beautiful yet often rather grotty, middle-aged moggy can only dream about. He was famous on the internet. For a day.

Tom Cox tweets regular photos of The Bear pondering various things that make him sad (the closure of local libraries, the bad manners of his peer group, the astronomic ticket prices of various old rock bands, Watership Down). But I also noticed a trend. People were tweeting him back pictures of THEIR cats, often photographed 'reading' one of Tom's books.

And so I took this picture of Padstow and tweeted it to @MYSADCAT.

Yes, he is starting to yawn but doesn't he look as though he's laughing? Tom kindly retweeted to his 400 followers. Then this (below) popped up on my Facebook timeline. He'd put the photo on Facebook too  on his page Under The Paw, which has 29 THOUSAND followers - that's a LOT of cat obsessives. And that's thousands of people all over the world looking at a picture of MY cat.

Suddenly people were retweeting and favouriting my cat. I got a Tweet from a woman in Indiana saying how talented Padstow is. Another from a stranger saying he should have an agent. Hundreds of likes flooded in for the photo on Facebook. People were chuckling at their desks about the cat laughing at a book about cats. What the hell?

Padstow took his new-found fame in a typical Padstow kind of way, however. He's a naturally lazy cat and likes to spend at least 85% of his day kipping. He continued to snooze for the rest of the day and dreamed about what he might have for dinner that night - raw chicken breast chopped very finely hopefully. Then he briefly attacked the living room rug (what is it about that rug that aggravates him so?) and went out for a walk around the neighbourhood.

I'd like to think he was recognised by passers-by in the street. The "famous Laughing Cat off the internet". Only in my imaginary 'Padstow-gets-recognised-by-fans' fantasy he isn't sniffing fox piss and doesn't have at least one dead baby slug crusted into his fur.

You can buy Talk To The Tail (and Under The Paw should be nearby too) from Amazon at the link below. If you've ever owned a cat, I really do recommend you read them.


  1. I like that he found fame in true PawPaw fashion. I.e. he didn't have to make any effort, the fame just came to him.

  2. Haha! He is indeed a lazy Paddowboy. ;-)