Regular visitors to Greece will know all about the cats. A minority owned by local families and the odd taverna; the rest a mixture of survivors and poor souls who won’t see out the winter. 

We did all we could to dissuade him, and chased him off at every opportunity. 

JimmyCuteness itself, during the tourist season. A few years ago, at Paleochora in Crete we fell in love with a young white cat who nightly visited a bar high on a hill, overlooking the beach. We called him Harry, and plotted to bring him back to the UK.

All this was before animal passports, but we would never have gone through with it just in case Harry was actually Stelios or Milo, a child or family’s beloved pet.

We went back to Paleochora the next year, but no sign of Harry. In the winter back in Britain walking home one night a white cat ran out from under a caravan, looked at my wife and I and ran in front of us. As we caught him up, he ran ahead again. A few hundred yards later he was sat on our front door step …

It adjoins the Trent & Mersey canal, a remarkable waterway that runs 70 miles from Shardlow in Derbyshire to Runcorn in Cheshire. Just a short [1½ miles] walk from our cottage to the Holly Bush Inn reveals swans, a heron, over 20 ducks and their young, to say nothing of caramel-coloured pedigree cattle grazing around thistles on the other side of the towpath hedge. A trip to Shardlow would take you through the old potteries, some fabulous countryside, and seriously reduce your stress levels. At 4 mph, it’s difficult to indulge in ‘canal rage.’

A large, grey and white, rather aggressive-looking cat stood motionless in the middle of the wood. My ham-fisted attempts to get to him resulted in his rapid exit. I was surprised that any cat would be in the wood, as it was a considerable distance from any neighbour’s house.

Saw nothing of him for weeks, then [wasn’t sure it was him] another sighting at the nursery entrance [about 1/3 mile away]. More sightings followed, and my wife named him ‘ugly cat.’ He was an unwelcome bruiser, fighting the neighbour’s wonderful ginger tom, Max. He scared our nursery cat, the very gentle Poppy, who was sick and tired of having [even more, as Max was a pain] competition at mealtime.

We did all we could to dissuade him, and chased him off at every opportunity.

The cat formerly known as ugly adores company. The more the merrier. One night, I was holding a spiritual discussion evening for 20 people, and into the summerhouse he trotted. Went to just about everyone in the room. The women loved him. Jimmy was accepted. We started to feed him [away from Poppy], and half-heartedly asked the neighbours if he was theirs. Maybe we could put a poster up.

Having shared this with Laraine, our nursery manager, I realised she was as horrified as we were at the thought of him not being around. She revealed she thought about cat-napping him herself!

We are in the process of finding ways for Jimmy to come in the house and not upset the fragile egos of Milo, Harry and Ch’Bee, ‘stars’ of Purrfect Symphony, and now Relax With Cats.

Jimmy has an insatiable appetite. He gets aggressive when he thinks another cat is getting his food. If and when Jeff [co-producer of Purrfect Symphony] and I do the promised CD using a confident cat’s purr Jimmy will be first in the queue.

In the space of a couple of months Jimmy has become part of the fabric of our lives. When the nursery re-opens in Spring, our visitors are in for a treat.

The white cat that sat on our step ran in when we opened the door. We hadn’t the heart to turn him out. We’d keep him for few days until someone claimed him. Despite posters down the avenue, and an ad in the lost and found, our precious Harry [yes the double of Stelios] remained ours.

Last year, I was surfing the net for Greek cat charities that might want to sell our CD, and found Athens-based Friends Of The Cat [who are selling them now]. On their web site, I found a superb picture of a ginger bruiser, restingGreek graveyard cat his head on a gravestone. His expression spoke volumes. The picture adorns our kitchen sideboard. I don’t suppose I will ever find out his name, as he was and is an Athens graveyard stray.

Don’t you think he looks more than a little like Jimmy?


© Jack Stewart MSc

If you would like a copy of the relaxation CD, email Jack :  or you can telephone 01925 450876. CDs cost £9.99 plus p&p

Five Good Reasons for Having Your Cat Neutered

  • Reduces fighting, injury and noise
  • Reduces spraying and smelling
  • Much less likely to wander and get lost
  • Safer from diseases like feline AIDS, mammary tumours and feline leukaemia
  • Reduces the number of unwanted kittens