Saturday, March 8, 2014

Public Service Cats

It's hard to believe, but less than a hundred years ago some cats (I'm talking of animals!) had the status of public servants. They were officially appointed by the British Post Office to catch rats and mice. Three cats worked on probation at the Money Order Office in London, with an allowance of one shilling a week. Because the cats did "their duty very efficiently", their salary was raised to 6d per week. The official use of cats soon spread to other post offices with the cost of maintaining them varying at each office.The most popular cat of all was Tibs, born in November 1950. He not only kept London's Post Office Headquarters completely mouse-free during his 14 years' service, but found time to appear at a 'cats and film stars' party and have his portrait included in a 1953 book Cockney Cats. After Tibs died on 23 November 1964, his obituary in the January 1965 Post Office Magazine was headed "Tibs the Great is No More". No, I will not write another Cat musical.

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