Do you know what October 29th is? Yes, it’s two days before Halloween, but more importantly—it’s National Cat Day! What a perfect opportunity to introduce you to four very special kitties: Eleanor, Sir Thomas Grey, Molly, and Shilling. A special thanks to our Facebook fan, Fred Blystone, who shared all of the amazing pictures in this blog. He perfectly captured our felines giving quite a bit of “cattitude.”
Please Note: All of our Colonial Kitties receive food, shelter, and regular veterinary care. If you meet them out and about, you may give them attention but please do not remove them from their homes. Thank you!
Eleanor is a tortoiseshell cat who calls the Anderson Armoury Kitchen home. You will often find her lounging on her lavish pillow, which features a handmade monogrammed pillowcase. Eleanor is a bit of a diva and certainly knows how to work a room. She has become an attraction herself, drawing people into the armoury and the kitchen, and becoming an avenue to get guests interested in what interpretation is taking place.
People will start by asking questions about her and taking her picture. She’s quite the ham! We found several with her tongue sticking out. Before you know it, the tradesmen have their attention and can elaborate more on the art of blacksmithing or food preparation at the historic Anderson kitchen. As a result, the interpreters have come to rely on Eleanor’s natural ability to draw a crowd to begin a conversation.
She’s also become a part of the Colonial Williamsburg family. Not only does Eleanor have her own Facebook page, she also has her own checking account! Once when Eleanor got sick, a team of smiths and interpreters pooled their money together to pay for her vet bills. After her recovery, they decided to deposit the money that was left into an account for any future medical help she may need.
Eleanor stays mainly at the Armoury site, but has also recently been spotted at Tarpley’s Store.
Sir Thomas Grey
Sir Thomas Grey is eight years old; he was born behind the shoemaker. He spent the first year of his life as a feral cat until he “claimed” The Wythe House as his home. Once the staff realized Sir Thomas Grey was there to stay, they took him to the vet and got him vaccinated.
Earlier this year Sir Thomas was “cat nabbed.” His adventure brought him to the Newport News SPCA and eventually back to his home in Williamsburg.
Sir Thomas has an apartment in the stables located behind the Wythe House, where he is placed each evening. His favorite daytime hangouts include the Wythe House gardens (by the basket-maker) and the Palace where he is addressed as “your highness.” During the colder months, you’ll find him curled up in a basket near the fire.
Molly is the stable cat, and she is known to her friends as “Metro Molly.” Elaine Shirley, a supervisor at the stable found her in the junkyard when she was looking for spare car parts. Molly was six months old and living off sandwiches, which the workers at the junkyard were sharing with her.
Elaine was told to take Molly, as she would not have survived in the junkyard. Molly now spends her days sleeping in a bucket of rags or enjoying a little bird hunting. Molly is friendly, but like most cats she hates going the veterinarian.
Shilling is a calico cat who is about 13 years old. She “chose” owner Joyce one Christmas when Joyce was dropping off her annual donation of pet food to a shelter. Joyce went to visit all of the animals at the shelter. One cat stood out in particular, due to her meowing. It wasn’t a normal meow but a “notice me” one. At that moment, it was fate—the little calico who was about 1 ½ years old was going home.
Shilling has become the mayoress or official ambassador of Williamsburg and she takes this title very seriously!
Shilling has had many different “hangouts” over the years and tends to change allegiances. She started as Sgt. Whiskers during her time at the Guardhouse at the Magazine. But she suddenly switched her attention to the cooper. Then, she transitioned to the silversmith where they created a handmade silver porringer (small bowl) for her. Most recently she’s been spotted at the print shop and post office. At each location, she makes herself at home. Shilling typically spends about a year in each area before moving onto her next adventure.
Over the years, Shilling has developed a rapport with visitors who have seen her on the street and at the Williamsburg Inn where she visits from time-to-time. She has received packages from some of our guests with generous gifts that include catnip toys, beds, and gold/rhinestone collars.
Shilling is currently semi-retired. She can be spotted soaking up the sun and watching all the action, in between her frequent cat naps.
UPDATE: Sadly, Shilling passed away on March 11, 2015. She will be missed so much by guests, locals, staff, and all who knew and loved her.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know our fabulous friends. Some guests don’t realize our cats are not strays. We hope now everyone can see they are part of our family and are well cared for and extremely loved!
We’d like to give one more shoutout to Fred Blystone for sharing so many amazing pictures! We’d love to see some of yours! Just upload them below in our comments section.