You've got that loving feline: Irish celebs tell us about their purrfect pals

To celebrate National Hug Your Cat Day, Nuala Woulfe chats to Irish celebrities about their feline friends.

You've got that loving feline: Irish celebs tell us about their purrfect pals

“Time spent with cats is never wasted.” So said Sigmund Freud, and throughout the generations, cats have figured large as man’s feline friend. Cats and creative types especially seem to go hand-in-paw.

Are you a musician? Chances are, like Freddie Mercury, Bowie, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, or Miley Cyrus, you’ll have a cat.

Ricky Gervais, Stephen King, and some of Hollywood’s sexiest actors are cat- lovers too. John Hamm, George Clooney, Ian Somerhalder, Zac Efron, Chris Hemsworth, and Jeff Goldblum regularly set hearts melting with their cat-cuddling antics.

As tomorrow is Hug Your Cat Day, Irish personalities tell the Irish Examiner why they too love their feline friends.

Sinéad Moriarty, novelist

Sinéad Moriarty and her cat, Minnie
Sinéad Moriarty and her cat, Minnie

Sinead got her first cat, Truly Scrumptious, aged three.

“My mum loved cats, my dad didn’t, so Mum got round that by getting me to ask for a cat for Christmas,” she explains.

“Truly lasted 20 years and was a beautiful, smart cat; we’d sash windows and I remember how she used her weight to bounce up and down to get inside.”

However, Sinéad’s current cat, Minnie, 2, is a different personality entirely to her childhood pet.

When Minnie was small she used to come into the office and sleep beside me or walk on my keyboards. She loves to climb, so I don’t cut her claws.

"She’s the carpet ruined upstairs and there’s black hair everywhere but it’s a small price to pay.

“I love that she’s a bit wild and quirky; she’s got a real independent streak but when someone’s sick she seems to know and lies on their bed.

"Minnie loves being talked to and patted and she doesn’t meow, she grunts, which is quite funny.

“Once she disappeared for a week and came back glowing and fatter.

"She’s a smart cat — I think she found someone to feed her on her hols!”

Gearóid Farrelly, comedian

Gearóid Farrelly with Boots
Gearóid Farrelly with Boots

In contrast to Sinéad’s cat, who loves the outdoors, comedian Gearóid Farrelly says his cat, Boots, is an indoors creature who’s so domesticated he even taught her how to use the toilet.

“She uses the main bathroom but if she does a poo she comes and meows for help as she can’t flush.”

Gearóid’s decision to teach his cat toilet habits stemmed from Boots’ kitten days when Gearóid fostered her and two siblings for the DSPC.

“The litter tray was horrific but the kittens were great fun.

"I’d never been interested in cats; I grew up with labradors, but when the DSPC said they’d no home for the kittens and it’d only be 10 days, I was home writing anyway so I agreed.”

Unfortunately, little Boots got cat flu.

Gearóid took her to the vet and cared for her, and the night before she was to be ‘adopted’ he found he couldn’t part with his new kitty pal.

As he lives in an apartment, Gearóid made a bungee harness so Boots could wander on the balcony and if she fell off, “she’d only hover mid-air like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible”.

Gearóid does bring her on trips to the garden and lets her run the landing, but says Boots prefers it inside.

“I’m at home all the time and she lies between the keyboard and the screen and when I’m away I can watch her on ‘cat cam’.

"She’s very sweet, she doesn’t like women though — she likes to be queen bee,” he laughs.

Maura Derrane, TV presenter

Maura Derrane with Teddy
Maura Derrane with Teddy

Maura says she’s pretty certain her cat, Teddy Bear, “thinks he’s human”.

She says: “He’s about 10 years old. I found him about seven years ago.

"I knew he wasn’t a wild cat because he was so tame, but he kept coming to my house.

“Teddy’s like a person, he puts his arms around my neck and hugs me and he’s not interested in hunting or anything cattish at all.

"He used to sleep upstairs, but when Cal, my son, was born we put him downstairs, but Teddy’s so gentle, if Cal pulled his tail as a baby he’d do nothing.

"My cat’s so relaxing; he’s the most soothing presence to be around. Teddy loves travelling in the car; he’s so big I’d to get him a dog carrier and he spends his summers in the Aran Islands.

“All my life we’d cats. I used to put clothes on them and carry them around the place like dolls, but Teddy is my snugly bear,” she says.

Alison Curtis, Today FM DJ , Irish Examiner parenting columnist

Alison Curtis with Scout
Alison Curtis with Scout

Alison loves her little cat Scout but her house is in a period of readjustment as she lost Jem, Scout’s big brother, just before Christmas.

“I was heartbroken. His kidneys were failing but still, when I found him outside dead, I went hysterical and Scout, who was inside at the time came outside to be with him.

“Jem was the bigger personality — people who didn’t like cats would come to our house and say, ‘I don’t like cats but that guy is different.’

“He used to hang off the front door and meow to come in. He was always very chatty and because I work from home, I really miss that.”

Alison says she and her husband thought about getting another cat but since Jem’s death, Scout’s personality has come out more.

“She was more of an anxious animal, but she’s chilled more, she’s become chattier.”

Alison says she always wanted a cat or dog growing up but her “mum was allergic”.

“We got Jem and Scout because a colleague of mine, her sister’s cat had kittens.

"I was like, I’m young, I want to travel, I don’t need a cat, but next day I went in and said, ‘I’ll take two’.

"My husband and I knew we wanted the boy, Jem, but Scout was the runt and clung to me so we took her too.

"That was 13 years ago. I’ve never regretted it.

“Jem’s death has left a big hole in our lives but Scout is sweet and affectionate and there’s nothing more calming than having a cat sleep on your lap while chilling and watching TV.”


Grumpy Cat

The cat world was in mourning when internet sensation Tardar Sauce died recently.

Tardar had a feline form of dwarfism that gave her flat features but according to her American owner Tabatha Bundesen, most of the time she was just a regular nice cat.

Graham, Dorito, and Calippo.

Otherwise known as Ed Sheeran’s cats. Graham was Ed’s first cat and was a rescue animal that got his own Twitter account; Dorito and Calippo are well known now as Instagram sensations.

Detective Olivia Benson, Doctor Meredith Grey, and Benjamin Button

They are probably almost as famous as their superstar mistress, Taylor Swift.

Olivia and Meredith are Scottish Fold Cats that have a lavish lifestyle with things like customised luggage and have starred in the singer’s videos.

Benjamin Button is Taylor’s newest kitten ‘adopted’ just this year. Benjamin debuted on Taylor’s video, ‘ME’.

Taylor Swift is so cat-mad she’s appearing in the new Cats, the musical movie.

Cole and Marmalade

YouTube is alive with cute cats, but Cole and Marmalade have been around for a long time, keeping cat lovers worldwide laughing for years.

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