More East End Cats
Spitalfields Life Contributing Photographer Chris Kelly is making a survey of the esteemed felines of the East End, and today it is my delight to publish more of her portraits of famous cockney cats and their human admirers – from Bethnal Green, Spitalfields and Moorfields.
Tiny & Kristofj von Strass
“Iʼm from Nice and Iʼve worked at Beyond Retro for four years, but Tiny was here before me. Iʼm told she just turned up on the doorstep one day, and sheʼs happy here and sheʼs very good with customers.
Tiny has met many of the celebrities who shop here and become a celebrity herself, featured in a double page spread in ‘Your Cat’ magazine, as well as appearing in several street style books and music videos. She likes sitting on the counter so she can see the customers and sheʼs often in the office. Tiny tends to stay in more as she gets older though usually takes a walk in the morning.
I love cats, but my flat is too small so itʼs good to have a cat at work.”
Sally at The Old King’s Head
Sally & Rita Kalkauskiene at The Old Kingʼs Head, Holywell Row
“You can call me the manager if you like – I donʼt really have a title, I just do everything. Weʼve had the pub for five years and we have a good mixture of customers.
The cat is Sally. We took her in about three and a half years ago from someone who was homeless. We did have a Harry and a Sally, until Harry disappeared – we think he was stolen. Everyone adores Sally, they come here to see her not to see me, and she just loves the customers, especially the men. She does go out but is very careful. I often see her sitting in the window watching people and, when I come into the bar in the morning, sheʼll be stretched out full-length on one of the ledges.”
Oskar at Lik & Neon
Oskar & Makita
Browser & Makita
Bobby & Katie
Oskar & Bobby & Makita & Browser & Janice Taylor & Katie Anstey at Lik & Neon
Katie - “The cats here are becoming famous partly, I think, because of the cat cafe thatʼs going to open in the East End. We had a German TV crew in yesterday. Bobby is my favourite – if he was human weʼd be dating. Heʼs always getting into scrapes, scamping outside in the car park and getting dirty. Last week, he got diesel oil all over his paws and had to go to the vet to be cleaned up.
The big tabby is Oskar, he has a very strong personality and heʼs a bit of a boss cat. Heʼs constantly challenging territory with Bobby, although they go around together a lot of the time. Bobby is such a ladiesʼ man, he loves it when four or five girls are petting him in the shop. Itʼs lovely to see them first thing in the morning – they sit in a row on the high wall in the yard waiting for us to arrive and give them breakfast.”
Janice - “The cats lived here from the start – this is an animal-enhanced environment and some people visit just to see them.
The small tabby is Makita. She used to live in my carpentry workshop and sheʼs named after the tool brand. She and Browser, both females, sleep together and groom each other, and they tend to keep themselves to themselves. Makitaʼs mother is completely black and she was named Gap by some French people who were fascinated by the Underground. Unfortunately, she and Makita fight so Granny Gap lives at home.
Tiny lived here too but she went missing and we searched for nine months before discovering sheʼd been living at Beyond Retro half a mile away on Cheshire St.”
Browser & Janice
Lik & Neon, Sclater St
Photographs copyright © Chris Kelly
Chris Kelly’s THE NECESSARY CAT – A PHOTOGRAPHER’S MEMOIR is available from many independent bookshops including Brick Lane Books, Broadway Books & Newham Bookshop.
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