Back in March last year, when we made a trip over to Mull, we stopped in Tobermory for a bite to eat and parked outside the Co-op supermarket which is about half-way down the promenade.
Colin and Leonie went in search of lunch while I was distracted for a good few minutes by a friendly but extremely laid-back ginger cat who was ‘chillaxing’ in the sunshine, right in the middle of the pavement. Tobermory isn’t a traffic hotspot, which is just as well because pedestrians were having to make last-minute detours into the road to avoid treading on him.
I enjoyed a brief chat with this tiger-striped hazard, but he seemed to be attracting quite a bit of attention from other passers-by, so I moved on to let him soak up the limelight. I only realised a few weeks later that I had, in fact, had my first encounter with an A-list celebrity: I had been nose-to-whisker with none other than Tobermory Cat.
Tobermory Cat has a global fan club, with his furry paw in the door of all the exclusive film star hang-outs worldwide. (I’ve no idea how he gets there from Mull, with it being an island and everything, but no doubt his Sunseeker yacht was moored just out of sight.) Holidays with Richard Branson, a box at the Royal Opera House, Simon Cowell on speed dial… well, I’m not sure if he has any of these, but he definitely looks the part.
Last month I had the opportunity to find out more about Tobermory Cat’s spectacular rise to stardom, when I was given his new book, aptly entitled ‘Tobermory Cat: Famous For Being Famous’.
The front cover is adorned with a delightful photo of TC (am I being too familiar?) lapping up the sunshine on the bonnet of a yellow car, with a picturesque harbour in the background. It could be Cannes, or Monaco, or St Tropez. It is, in fact, Tobermory.
I was interested to read that no stone has been turned by Tobermory Cat’s adoring but apparently less-than-diligent publicity officers. The introduction explains:
“Despite the rather lazy, if not bone idle, efforts of our team of celebrity press agents, Tobermory Cat has become famous around the world.”
Most of us can only aspire to Tobermory Cat’s glittering lifestyle, but we are assured that he “remains in touch with his roots” and “lives the simple life of an island cat”. That really gladdens the heart.
Tobermory Cat has his own butler in the form of Angus Stewart, whom he has persuaded to document his daily meanderings in the form of words and pictures. The book is a gentle stroll through Tobermory Cat’s action-packed day, which consists of reclining on a surprising number of car bonnets and dozing the afternoon away on the harbour wall. Lounging is Tobermory Cat’s speciality; he makes it look like an art form.
A particularly useful section describes what you should do if an orange-coloured fluffball is ‘surfing’ on your car roof, a phenomenon which you may not discover until you’re half-way to Craignure. Don’t panic. Don’t gesture at other drivers. Rescue the cat (I think that’s the right order).
If this isn’t alarming enough, Tobermory Cat is shown sprawling carelessly in the middle of several roads, often with an attentive human about to pick him up and remove him from the flow of (potential) traffic. If this wasn’t Mull, where cars are less common than deer, I would be a little worried about his safety.
The benefits of super-stardom are, however, enjoyed to the full. Tobermory Cat appears to have assumed almost god-like status among the local fishmongers and chip shop owners. The local policeman is revealed as a devoted slave, one who regularly turns a blind eye to Tobermory Cat’s abandoned frolicking outside the local distillery. Falling out of nightclubs? Yes, sadly, it happens everywhere.
Open the book at random, and it’s impossible not to smile. But (trying to be serious for just a moment), this glossy publication is beautifully produced and photographed, with a fun design and just the right amount of well-written text that sets a tone somewhere between the deeply flattering and the lavishly worshipful (as a fellow cat owner, I suspect Tobermory Cat has Mr Stewart on a line and has only to reel him in!)
I did take the liberty of showing the book to Purdey, and she admitted to being ever so slightly jealous of Tobermory Cat’s departure-lounge existence, as well as the never-ending sunshine in that glorious little corner of Mull. Ah, well, the rest of us can only dream!
Tobermory Cat: Famous For Being Famous is written by Angus Stewart and is published by Tobermory Cat Publishing, The Breadalbane Street Studio, Tobermory, Isle of Mull PA75 6PE. It’s priced at £4.95 plus p&p.
For more information, and to order online, visit www.tobermorycat.co.uk.
Treat yourself to a copy – you owe it to yourself and your cat!
Thanks to Angus Stewart and Tobermory Cat for allowing me to publish photos of the book.