Winston Churchill Demanded Orange Cats, Into Perpetuity
We asked readers about their pets—foolishly, since there's no possible way to choose the best one out of all the pics you sent us. Still, a few animals stood out to us. Nis S. showed us her dog Winston Furhill, while Gretchen B. and Russell J. both shared pics of orange cats with white paws. It reminded us of how the actual Winston Churchill had an orange cat with white paws. His secretary, Jock Colville, gave it to him for his 88th birthday, and Winston named it "Jock," which was either his way of honoring Colville or some kind of weird insult only he understood.
There are many tales of the cat's antics, most unverifiable. He outlived Churchill, and some said that when the man died and lay in a coffin in his sealed bedroom, the cat managed to break in, saw the body, and then refused to enter the room ever again.
One thing's certain, though: Churchill had a soft spot for the cat. He left his residence, Chartwell, to the National Trust, and he decreed that there must always "be a marmalade cat named Jock, with a white bib and four white socks, in comfortable residence" there.
And so the National Trust made good on his demand. They've maintained the home for almost 70 years, and they've kept a series of cats with that description, all named Jock. The original Jock died in 1975, outliving his master by ten years, and the National Trust replaced him with Jock II. Jock III followed (a hunter, who often attacked the home's fish tank), then Jock IV, and then Jock V, who's still alive today. Since being the official cat of Chartwell is a tiring job, they retired the aging Jock V, and replaced him with Jock VI (also still alive today), and then Jock VII.
Truly, the bond between Churchill and the cats is sacred and unbroken. We wish we could say the same for the bond between Churchill and Jock the man. We recently learned Jock Colville taped a secret interview years ago, divulging an affair Churchill had with one Viscountess Doris Castlerosse, aunt to actress Cara Delevingne. Incidentally, going by colorized photos, Doris Castlerosse had marmalade-colored hair ...
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Top image: Peter Trimming