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Meet Jock VI: The Newest Ginger Kitten to Fulfill Winston Churchill’s Wish

Meet Jock VI: The Newest Ginger Kitten to Fulfill Winston Churchill’s Wish

Winston Churchill had a soft spot for cigars, women and… ginger kittens. On his 88th birthday, one of his secretaries, Jock Colville, gave him a ginger kitten with white paws as a surprise. Churchill fell in love. He named the kitten Jock, after his secretary, and was photographed often in the company of this charming marmalade feline.

Of all of Sir Winstonís cats, Jock was truly one of his favorites and was often found contentedly lounging on Churchillís knee. Churchill would always take Jock with him when he traveled between his London and country home in Chartwell. On Sir Churchillís last visit to the House of Commons, he is photographed departing his home with Jock watching in the background.

 

Home from home: The National Trust property has been kept exactly as it was when Churchill lived there

 

Sir Winston passed away at his London house at the ripe old age of 90 in 1965, and with his passing, his country estate in Chartwell was bequeathed to a National Trust – and with it, Jock, the ginger kitty. Jock continued to have the run of the estate which included lounging by the fireplace just as he did in the company of his master when Churchill was alive. The public loved him.

Jock also lived to the ripe old age of 13 and when he passed in 1975, the National Trust frantically began searching for a new ginger and white kitten. Why? Before his death, Churchill requested that a marmalade cat with a white bib and four white paws named Jock always grace the halls and grounds of his Chartwell country estate. A replacement kitty was quickly found and named Jock II.

The tradition continues today with the announcement of the recent arrival of Jock VI – and will as long as the National Trust controls the property.

 

 

The most recent Jock (pictured above) was found at a local shelter after living on the streets as a stray, and embodies a true rags-to-riches story. He now takes afternoon naps near the fireplace or in the garden, eats fresh tuna, and lounges on Persian rugs. He even has his own cat-flap approved by the inspector of historical buildings. A Chartwell staff member commented that†Jock VI “is a very affectionate cat and has trained the Chartwell staff very well. He spends most of his day sleeping on various chairs and beds…”

Of course, visitors to the historic home are always on the look-out for Jock IV, and when they find him bestow rubs and chin-scratches on the lucky feline. †If you visit Churchillís historic estate in Kent about 25 miles outside of London, you are likely to see this pampered kitty too, another living legacy of the great man Churchill was.

 

Kent retreat: Sir Winston lived at Chartwell from 1924 until his death

Sir Winston called Chartwell home from 1924 until his death in 1965.†The National Trust has kept the Chartwell estate exactly as it was when Churchill lived there – including always having one marmalade cat in residence.

 

* Photos are courtesy of the Chartwell National Trust.

 


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Cherise Udell

Cherise Udell is a mom, clean air advocate, anthropologist and feline aficionado with the nomadic habit of taking spontaneous sojourns to unusual destinations. Before her adventures in motherhood, she was an intrepid Amazon jungle guide equipped with a pair of sturdy wellingtons and a 24-inch machete, as well as a volunteer at a rainforest animal rescue center.

145 comments

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3:47AM PDT on May 8, 2014

I'm glad he's a rescue cat and has such a great life now. But I find it a bit weird and disrespectful that, if Churchill loved the first Jock so much, he could possibly think that just getting another ginger cat and calling him Jock would be anywhere near the same as having the original Jock. Wanting a ginger cat to always live there as a legacy I can understand, but wanting the name to be the same too ignores the fact that each cat, however similar they may look, is a completely separate and unique personality. They aren't interchangeable, and later cats aren't simply substitutions for earlier ones!

2:56AM PDT on May 8, 2014

Cute but rather sad that cats of other colours are excluded.All cats are wonderful!

2:12PM PDT on May 4, 2014

Highly believable of Churchill one of this country's better prime ministers -oh I forget that Care2 originates from America and you no doubt have a hugely romanticised view of the British aristocracy and Royalty. A nice story but I think that a typing error has occurred and rather than one ginger and white cat in Churchill's old residence there seems to be at least three (from Jock IV to Jock VI. I do not think our beloved Winnie would approve of a pack of ginger moggies roaming his home.

8:57AM PDT on Mar 27, 2014

Very sweet.

8:25PM PDT on Mar 23, 2014

Thank you!

3:04PM PDT on Mar 20, 2014

Jock is not just on display. The caretaker lives in a cottage on the property and that, I understand, is Jock`s real home/family. He just gets full roaming/lounging rights to the entire estate!! The last cat I believe left with the previous caretaker (rather than died).

3:01PM PDT on Mar 20, 2014

I agree, Joanne, I am happy the foundation found a rescue kitty to be the next Jock!

6:45PM PDT on Mar 19, 2014

Thanks for the story. I too appreciate that they choose a rescue kitty for this position. He may be part of the national display but he definitely gets lots of loving from the various visitors and his life is much improved.

11:27AM PDT on Mar 17, 2014

ty!

10:45AM PDT on Mar 17, 2014

My Winnie is my ginger with white bib and paws. He is so affectionate and intuitive. Sir Winston was truly onto something. And I am glad that Jock VI was a rescue. Very cool story.

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