Famous Cats

stationmaster tama cat
Stationmaster Tama, Sweet East Pearl, China Daily

Here are some cats that have made headlines and history, including record breakers, entertainers, ship cats, feline heroes, and more.

    • Famous Cats: Great Feline Achievements: Oscar, the death-predicting cat; Howie, the incredible journeying cat; Cuty Boy, the world’s smartest cat; Scarlett, the heroic mother cat; and Macavity, the mysterious bus-riding cat
    • Famous Cats: Feline Entertainers: Circus performers, musicians, Internet stars, and more
    • Famous Cats: Cats with Jobs: Library Ambassador Dewey Readmore Books; Stationmaster Tama; Mike the Museum Guard; Cat Mando the Party Co-Leader, and Humphrey, Sybil, and Larry, Chief Mousers to the Cabinet
    • Famous Cats: Ship Cats: Matthew Flinders Trim, Mrs. Chippy from Shackleton’s Endurance, Unsinkable Sam, Simon of the HMS Amethyst, and others
    • Cat Record Breakers: Largest cat breeds, smallest cat breeds, fattest cat, tiniest cat, most kittens, most owned cats, most expensive cat, most money willed to a cat, best hunter, longest-lived cat, and more
    • Hero Cats: Profiles of cats that have risked their lives to save people, and cats that provide therapy and support to people and other animals

More Famous Cats

Colby Nolan, the Cat with an MBA Degree

Trinity Southern University of Texas was exposed as a diploma mill in 2004 after it granted an MBA degree to a housecat named Colby Nolan. Investigators paid $299 for the degree on behalf of a deputy attorney general’s cat.

The fraudulent university was exposed when the cat was granted the degree based on his “resume” (which listed activities such as retail management and babysitting) and provided with not only a degree certificate but also a transcript of grades for classes he had not attended (his grade point average was listed as 3.5).

Colby isn’t the only certificate-holding feline. Other cats that have been used to expose diploma mills and poor credentialing standards include the following:

    • George the cat is a registered hypnotherapist with the British Board of Neuro Linguistic Programming and the Professional Hypnotherapy Practitioner Association
    • Henrietta Goldacre posthumously became a certified member of the American Association of Nutritional Consultants
    • Kitty O’Malley and Oreo Collins received a high school diplomas
    • Toby the cat was made a Certified Real Estate Appraiser by the National Association of Real Estate Appraisers
    • Zoe de Katze (which in German translates to “Zoe the cat”) has been certified by several major hypnotherapy associations including the American Board of Hypnotherapy, the American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists, the National Guild of Hypnotists, and the International Medical & Dental Hypnotherapy Association.

Sal, the Cat That Was Called to Jury Duty


A cat named Sal has been called for jury duty (NBC New York, 8 January 2010). Sal was listed as a pet on the census form filled out by his human companions, Guy and Anna Esposito.

The Boston couple attempted to get a disqualification for Sal based on the fact that he doesn’t speak English (the only disqualification option on the form that applied to a cat), but the request for disqualification has been denied and Sal has been ordered to show up for jury duty as previously requested. If the mess can’t be sorted out before the trial, Sal will be legally required to sit in the jury box.

*According to The Telegraph (17 January 2011), a jury commissioner has ordered that Sal must attend court on March 23. Apparently the request for disqualification based on the language barrier failed, because “Jurors are not expected to speak perfect English.”

Christopher, the Guardian Angel Cat

Christopher the Guardian Angel Cat
Christopher the Guardian Angel Cat, ICanHazCheezburger/Mercury News

Diana Samuels (“Nine Lives, Sixth Sense: Cat at Veterinary Clinic Seeks Out Ailing Cats,” 18 August 2010) tells the story of a very special cat named Christopher who acts as a guardian angel to other cats at the Nine Lives Foundation Feline Well-Care Clinic where he lives. When another cat at the clinic needs help, Christopher sits outside his or her cage until a staff member lets him inside. Christopher often knows when something is wrong before clinic staff do, and alerts them to potential emergencies.

A good-natured orange tabby estimated to be 3 to 4 years old, Christopher was brought to the clinic by passing cyclists who found him by the side of the road with a fractured pelvis. After recovering at the clinic, Christopher continued to live there, comforting the sick and terminally ill, and alerting staff to cats that require immediate attention.

Christopher recently saved the life of a little black kitten that arrived at the clinic with severe anemia, requiring a blood transfusion. Chief veterinarian Monica Thompson was unable to draw enough blood to determine her type, but Christopher jumped on the operating table, nuzzling the kitten and rubbing against Thompson. Thompson decided to use him for the transfusion and hope for the best. It turned out that Christopher and the kitten had the same uncommon blood type, so the kitten was saved.

Christopher also voluntarily socializes feral kittens that arrive at the clinic too wild to touch, turning the hissing, growling little cats into tame, friendly individuals that can be adopted out. Given his wonderful personality and many talents, there are plenty of people who have asked to adopt Christopher, but Thompson wants to keep him at the clinic, where he can carry on his good work.

Lewis, the Cat That Was Placed Under House Arrest

Lewis, a black and white polydactyl cat, made history and headlines as the first cat ever to be placed under house arrest. After the cat attacked several people, a restraining order was placed against him. When he escaped from his home and did it again, he was put under house arrest, the first time either of these measures had ever been taken with a cat. Ruth Cisero, the cat’s owner, was also put on trial for failing to comply with the restraining order and reckless endangerment.

Cisero was told that she would be granted probation if she agreed to have Lewis euthanized, but she refused, saying she would rather move away than have her cat killed. She testified that Lewis had been acting in self-defense, as people had sprayed him with a hose, thrown eggs at him, and subjected him to other forms of abuse before he became violent. Lewis’s story garnered international media attention and sparked a “Save Lewis the Cat” movement to raise money for the defense effort. Fortunately, the judge dismissed the reckless endangerment charge and Lewis was allowed to live out the rest of his life as an indoor cat.

Cisero was required to do 50 hours of community service, which she saw as a way to give something back to members of the community who had been supportive of her efforts to save Lewis. An Avon lady who had been scratched and bitten by Lewis sued Cisero, receiving an undisclosed sum in the settlement. However, she said she was happy that the cat’s life had been spared as she just wanted him to be kept indoors, not killed.

You can see a picture of Lewis and Ruth Cisero here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_(cat)

For more cat articles, see the main Cats page.

Reference: Salzman, A. (2006). “Judge Orders House Arrest for Lewis, the Attack Cat.” New York Times, June 20, NYTimes.com.

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