I first encountered Whistler on a council estate in Colliers Wood, London in 2008. It was approaching Christmas and his owners were anxious to get rid of inconvenient kittens before the festivities began. His father was a battered old ginger tom and his mother an elegant brown and white tabby. He had two brothers and a sister. I would have taken them all but settled finally on the tiny mackerel tabby with the wonky white moustache. He had so much attitude, which was necessary if he was going to cope with Madam’s demands. We called him Whistler because he was An Arrangement in Black and Grey – a painting by the great James McNeill Whistler – and I, therefore, became Whistler’s Mother!
After much hissing and hiding, he and Madam became firm friends. She taught him the art of wrestling, and he tried to teach her mousing, but she preferred observing nature rather than killing it, much to his chagrin.
He’s an intrepid adventurer and gets himself into scrapes as often as possible. He’s made friends with foxes, tried to eat crows, got stuck up trees and generally had a good time. There’s never a dull moment when he’s about, especially as he likes to take a nip out of your ankles or hands if you’re not careful!
He probably weighs in as the heaviest cat in Gozo. The vet here was astonished, as he heaved Whistler on to the examination table (he had a slight cough) that a cat could weigh so much but still appear relatively slim. Whistler tells me he has heavy bones, and I believe him!