THE TOBERMORY CATS


black cat

I have often suspected that if the power of speech were given to the family cat, it would not go well with us. Their cavalier attitude gives it away every time. The problem arises when we realize that they just don’t care what we think. It is important for us to be in command at all times, if not over our husbands, then at least over our cats.

Saki’s famous talking cat, Tobermory disclosed for all time what might happen should that enigmatic creature begin spilling the beans.

In his delightful tale Tobermory, Hector Munro brings his chatty cat Tobermory to life as he tears up an upper class Victorian house party. His truthful disclosures about each of the guests private thoughts are unnerving and frequently embarrassing.

Major Barfield questioned Tobermory; “How about your carryings-on with the tortoise-shell puss up at the stables, eh?”

Everyone recognized the blunder as Tobermory tossed his head and replied frigidly “I imagine you’d find it inconvenient if I were to shift the conversation to your own little affairs.”

The panic which ensued was not confined to the Major.

“Why did I ever come down here?” asked Agnes Resker.

Tobermory immediately accepted the opening.

“Judging by what you said to Mrs. Cornett on the croquet-lawn yesterday, you were out of food. You described the Blemleys as the dullest people to stay with that you knew, but said they were clever enough to employ a first-rate cook; otherwise they’d find it difficult to get any one to come down a second time.”

After an afternoon of similar exchanges, Mrs. Cornett said “Tobermory may be a valuable cat and a great pet; but I’m sure you’ll agree that both he and the stable cat must be done away with without delay.”

I do not wish to spoil the story by giving away more of the plot. I don’t think there is a cat lover who will not be glad they read it.

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tobermory scotland
Tobermory, Isle of Mull, Scotland

red cat

While I see Saki’s cat as being black, Scottish artist Angus Stewart’s Tobermory cat is of ginger color.

Angus Stewart is the creator of the children’s book Distillery Cats”.

The Distillery Cats” originally lived at the Tobermory Distillery in Tobermory on Mull, Scotland. The two ginger cats were named Tobermory and Ledaig after two whiskies produced at the Tobermory Distillery. The cat named Tobermory remained at the distillery, Ledaig later moved to Browns Hardware Shop. A third ginger cat known as the Mishnish Cat lived at the Mishnish Hotel. Together these three similar cats became a single fictional cat character named Tobermory Cat created by Angus Stewart in a Facebook page. He later published a book, Tobermory Cat subtitled famous for being famous. It explores the nature of the ciontruct of celebrity through a fictional cat who is simply “famous for being famous.”

Author: kaytisweetlandrasmussen83

I am a retired fine arts teacher, sculptor/painter, writer, and a native Californian. I love my family,dogs, horses, movies, reading and music, probably in that order. I have been married forever to a very nice man who is nice to old ladies, dogs and children.

12 thoughts on “THE TOBERMORY CATS”

  1. Wonderful, Kayti, I hadn’t thought of the delightful Saki Tobermory in years. Now I must go look through my books and find it again. I seem to recall mention of Sisyphus and a car? What is the adage about dogs having masters and cats having staff? So true, isn’t it?

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    1. I love Saki’s stories! And Tobermory has always fascinated me. I can just picture him sidling among the stuffy guests doing his damage to their egos.

      My husband has always felt he could do a better job with the ending, but Saki did OK with what he chose. Just shows we have to be careful what we say in front of the family pet.

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  2. I just learned that February is national spay and neuter month, and today is spay day. Hmmmm… it seems to me that Tobermory might be doing a bit of neutering of his own.

    The names of the cats, and of the towns, brings to mind Eliot’s “The Naming of Cats.” I’ve never heard of Tobermory — sounds like a delightful tale.

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  3. There is a cartoon in today’s paper showing a line of dogs holding signs like a protest lineup with slogans like “Spay/Neuter, World Spay Day, Save Lives!
    James Harriot wrote about a vet who just neutered male cats. He was quite proud of himself or making the streets safe for female cats. Tell Dixie Rose to be careful.
    Not only a delightful tale, but a delightful place to visit. They go to catch the famous Tobermory trout. James Harriot also wrote about that one.

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  4. Yes. They spend most of their lives trying to make us believe that. Think of them as kittens—cute, funny and compliant. Then after they get you under their claws, they become cats with an attitude–“try and make me!” Very independent. Cool.

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  5. We had a cat that lived on our roof. It did so because of the ruthless nature of our blue heeler cattle-dog. We fed her on the roof, but sometimes she would jump in the court-yard and kind of prowl around. She was difficult and could be very temperamental scratching visitors. Our daughter had a mean streak and would ask vistors to try and pat our roof cat. Inevitably she would scratch the visitor. It wasn’t funny.

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    1. Cats can sometimes be evil incarnate. My friend had one who was so mean she posted a sign so that people would know to stay away from him. We had one once who lived in the attic. The laundry room had a place you could get up in the rafters and he discovered it and found it more comfortable than in the house. We never had any mice.

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  6. I’ll have to read that Saki story. Sounds great! I like the picture of the town of Tobermory. Cats are fascinating. Their attitude, the peerless shapes they make with their bodies. Marukami also features talking cats in his novels, and the first thing I do when I go on Twitter is check out what Bear, the 19-year-old poet/philosopher/world’s saddest cat, is up to today. He’s at @mysadcat. xx

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