A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Tibs the Great: Number One Cat of the British Post Office (1950-1964)

Cats in History

Over the years, cats have held many official positions in government and business. Often, their main duties were to control rodents, and such is the case with our subject today, a 23-pound tabby named Tibs.


Tibs the Great
Tibs in his basement domain.
Tibs the Great, as he was known, served as the “number one cat” of Britain’s Post Office Headquarters for nearly 14 years. Born in 1950, he arrived at the headquarters as a youngster and quickly took care of a little rat problem in the basement. Thereafter, Tibs continued to live in the basement and no more rats were seen. He was once found with a pigeon he’d caught, and someone rescued the bird from him.

Like any other member of the staff, Tibs was paid for his services. His wages amounted to 2 shillings 6 pence a week. A cleaner named Alf Talbut made sure the cat was fed every day. Talbut had also cared for Tibs’ mother, Minnie (the tabby’s father has never been identified).

In serving as the rodent controller in the Post Office Headquarters, Tibs continued the tradition of professional cats that officially began back in 1868, when three cats went to work as rodent controllers in London’s Money Order Office. For their work in catching mice, the three original cats were paid 1 shilling a week—meaning 1 shilling was used to feed them each week. And by the way, that was 1 shilling total for all three cats, not a shilling apiece.

In November 1964, when Tibs was nearing 14 years of age, one morning he failed to come for his morning meal. The cat was nowhere to be found, and it was several days later that Alf Talbut finally located him and took him to the vet’s, where it was discovered that he had cancer in his mouth. Sadly, nothing could be done for him, and Tibs’ productive life came to an end.

“There will never be another Tibs,” Talbut was quoted as saying in Tibs’ obituary.

 Truly, Tibs was an excellent cat!

Sources

Erin Blakemore, “A Brief History of Post Office Cats,” 9 February 2016, Smithsonian.com, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/brief-history-post-office-cats-180958061/?no-ist

“Tibs the Great Is No More” (obituary), January 1965, Post Office Magazine, http://500years.royalmailgroup.com/gallery/tibs-the-great-is-no-more/



And now, for something completely different ...


Pet Photo Fails Blog Hop


We hope you've got your not-so-great pet photos ready, because tomorrow, Friday, May 25, is the Pet Photo Fails Blog Hop! We will open the linky at midnight Eastern time, and it will stay open through 11:59 p.m. Monday. So stop on by and join in the fun!

6 comments:

  1. A dedicated cat, would like to have known him.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Post Office Headquarter's personnel were very smart to have Tibs on their staff!
    Did they call him, "Mister Tibs"?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Tibs probably earned his keep a 1,000 times over as a mouser!

    The Dash Kitten Crew

    ReplyDelete