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Home to Hodge the Cathedral cat, Southwark Cathedral are delighted to be hosting this day all about cats
Purr-fect for all cat lovers this day will include talks, music and poetry. Join us as we celebrate all things feline on what will be an ameowzing day!
Hosted by cat lover Reverend David Guest who is the vicar at St Bartholomew's in Otford, this day will include contributions from the following lovely people...and cats!
Hodge the Cathedral Cat
In September 2020, Doorkins Magnificat who had lived at Southwark Cathedral since 2008 passed away peacefully at her retirement home. Sometime before her passing, Southwark Cathedral were in touch with Catcuddles Sanctuary to explore the possibility of providing a 'loving home' for another cat that they may have been providing care for and looking to re-home.
Hodge was rescued in the summer of 2020, after being discovered on a street in Woolwich, South East London with a horrific growth on his face, a condition that his previous owners had neglected to seek veterinary treatment for.
Thankfully, he was surrendered into the care of Catcuddles so that he could begin urgent treatment at their North London cat clinic, and narrowly avoided the need for surgery to remove the growth. He has since made a full recovery.
Hodge is an extremely rambunctious, adventurous, and friendly cat. His official adoption date by the Cathedral is the 6 December, which in the Anglican tradition is considered the feast day of Saint Nicholas, a date for exchanging gifts. And what a gift he has been!
As was the case with Doorkins, when Hodge’s story began, no-one could have predicted that he would one day call such a beautiful, culturally and historically important building his home. His life has been transformed, from one of neglect and uncertainty to a life full of love and security, with the capacity to touch others, just as his predecessor did.
The impact of Covid on cat rescue and an introduction to Hodge - Catcuddles Sanctuary
Catcuddles will update the audience on how the Covid-19 pandemic impacted on their wonderful work throughout 2020 and 2021 and how they came to take care and treat Hodge who now lives at the Cathedral and who we are sure will be making a special guest appearance!
Catcuddles is the dream child of a devoted pet lover and was inspired by her special-needs feline, Mr Cuddles, who is their feline mascot. They are a registered charity as of July 2012 and are entirely volunteer-run. Through their network of fosterers, they aim to offer the best possible home-from-home environment to cats in need of affection, attention, rehabilitation and a new loving home. Their cat-centric approach means they put kitties first; their welfare and comfort is paramount to them. They never bring in cats they have no exclusive space for and never keep them for longer than necessary before getting them adopted.
The Folklore of Cats - Cunning Folk
Cats were first domesticated thousands of years ago, or perhaps humans were first trained by cats to look after them! So the shared history of humans and cats is long. Many folk tales, beliefs and superstitions have sprung up. Singer and storyteller Cunning Folk will delight you with some of these tales as well as sing a few famous songs about cats too. What's not to like?!
Singer, Songwriter, Storyteller and all-round nice guy George Hoyle aka Cunning Folk sings, writes and tells stories.
Literary Cats in History - Dr Kathleen Walker-Meikle
Hodge, the resident Southwark Cathedral cat, is named after an 18th feline: Hodge, “a very fine cat indeed”, who belonged to noted author Samuel Johnson (most famed for his Dictionary of the English Language). Hodge, addicted to oysters and who “never failed his thanks to purr, whene'er he stroked his sable fur” kept his devoted master under his paw. Throughout history, cats have had a particular affinity for writers. What better companion for an author than a furry friend, always ready to knock over ink wells, smudge letters, or snooze at your feet?
Today’s talk is packed with entertaining anecdotes of countless famous authors’ devotion to their cats throughout the centuries. In the words of poet Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909) to his cat: ‘Stately, kindly, lordly friend, Condescend Here to sit by me’. Words to live by. If you want to write, whether you were a monk in a medieval cloister, a Romantic poet, or writing hard-boiled detective fiction, you need a cat!
Dr Kathleen Walker-Meikle (PhD History, UCL) is a specialist in the history of animals and medicine in the medieval and early modern period, She is the author of several books, including ‘Medieval Pets’ (Boydell & Brewer, 2021 paperback), ‘Cats in Medieval Manuscripts’ (British Library Publications, 2019), ‘Dogs in Medieval Manuscripts’ (British Library Publications, 2020), ‘The Cat Book: Cats of Historical Distinction (Bloomsbury, 2015), ‘The Dog Book: Dogs of Historical Distinction’ (Bloomsbury, 2014), ‘The Horse Book: Horses of Historical Distinction’ (Bloomsbury, 2017).
How to Read Your Cat - Celia Haddon
Celia Haddon will explain how to understand and communicate effectively with your cat, as well as how to build a bond of trust, improve your owner-cat relationship, and make the most of your pet. It will include entertaining and informative sections on vocal language, scents, reading your cats pleasure ratio, how your cat can discover its inner kitten, the purr points, special needs for pedigrees, how to nurture the predator in your cat, as well as how to solve behavioural problems and look after an older cat.
Celia Haddon is a bestselling anthologist whose books have sold well over 1,000,000 copies worldwide. She was the Daily Telegraph's pet agony aunt and is a reputed lover and worshipper of cats, having lived with them and loved them since she was a child. She has compiled a number of anthologies in their honour. She is also compiler of the best-selling One Hundred Ways series and a qualified cat behaviourist.
Anita Kelsey - Claws: Confessions of a Professional Cat Groomer
Throughout her years visiting people's homes as a cat groomer, Anita Kelsey has amassed a vast array of funny, cute and ridiculous stories about cats and, of course, their owners. In Claws, she picks out just a few of her favourite tales to share with the reader from, 'Sammy the Swooner' to 'Tubbs: The Fat Cat Caught in His Flap'.
Throughout this talk, Anita will be drawing on a lifetime of living with and professionally caring for cats in their various guises and eccentricities. You'll meet a number of the most characterful cats, all eventually calmed and preened to their natural beauty and animal magnificence by the Anita. Meet their owners, too, and enjoy Anita's take on the individual relationships between pet and owner.
Anita Kelsey holds a first class honours degree in Feline Behaviour and Psychology (work based BA Hons) and runs a vet referral service dedicated strictly to the diagnosis and treatment of behaviour problems in cats. She is also a qualified cat groomer and specialises in grooming aggressive or phobic cats. Anita writes for Your Cat Magazine and is on their experts panel answering readers questions on cat grooming. She also advises on feline behaviour for the CFBA (Canine and Feline Behaviour) magazine as well as being a full member. Anita is also the author of Claws: Confessions of a Professional Cat Groomer and Let's Talk about Cats: Conversations on Feline Behaviour.
Julia Bird - The Poetry of Cats
The feline has inspired poetic adoration since the days of the pharaohs, Poets across the continents and centuries have described the feline family-from kittens to old toms, pussycats to panthers-doing what they do best: sleeping, prowling, prancing, purring, sleeping some more, and gazing disdainfully at lesser beings like ourselves. Poet Julia Bird joins us to recite well known and not so well known cat poetry.
Julia Bird grew up in Gloucestershire and now lives in London where she works for the Poetry Society and as an independent literature producer and promoter for Jaybird Live Literature. Julia has had two books of her poetry published the first being Salt in 2008 and Twenty-Four Seven Blossom in 2013.