Tributes paid to 'celebrity' cat, Thomas, who used to walk into Portsmouth Cathedral services

FOR years he mingled among ranks of choristers and worshippers – unashamedly strolling into the city’s Anglican cathedral mid-service unannounced.

Friday, 3rd January 2020, 4:00 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd January 2020, 4:00 pm

Now tributes have been paid to Thomas, a much-loved 19-year-old cat who lived next to Portsmouth Cathedral.

Leaders at the High Street church announced the pet’s death yesterday, prompting an outpouring on social media.

The furry character from Old Portsmouth was known to cuddle up to cathedral singers who petted him as they went about their choral duties.

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Now canon chancellor and vice dean, Kathryn Percival, has joined residents in remembering the cat – branded a ‘celebrity’ by residents.

She said: ‘Portsmouth Cathedral is very sorry to learn of the death of Thomas, a much-loved cat. Thomas was a character.

‘He was 19 and spent lots of time around the cathedral looking for anyone who might give home some attention.

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Portsmouth Cathedral in Old Portsmouth.

‘Twice he was taken by well-meaning people to the 24-hour vets at Farlington as he looked under nourished, but he ate four meals a day and was just old.

‘Last year his owner, Andrea, was in hospital for a few weeks and Thomas went AWOL, and despite wanted posters around Old Portsmouth, after five weeks everyone assumed the worst.

‘Yet again he was found in Farlington – some say looking for his owner at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

‘He was chipped and returned to his owners, much to the relief of the choirboys who had set up a Facebook page for him.

Tributes have been paid to Thomas, a 19-year-old cat who frequented Portsmouth Cathedral in High Street. Picture: Portsmouth Cathedral (via Thomas' owners)

‘He will be missed but he gave lots of people lots of fun and for that we should be thankful.’

Canon Percival said the cathedral’s furry neighbour was unafraid to roam and graced the church’s services ‘on a couple of occasions’.

Thomas’ tatty appearance prompted his owners to put a metal tag on his collar in a bid to stop Good Samaritans taking him away from home.

Tributes have been paid to Thomas, a 19-year-old cat who frequented Portsmouth Cathedral, in High Street, until passing away on January 3, 2020. Picture: Portsmouth Cathedral (via Thomas' owners)

With his address on one side, it read on the other: ‘I am Thomas. I might not look it – but I’m well fed and loved.’

His death came as sad news to choristers and residents.

Sarah Halloran, from Southsea, said: ‘He was my mum's cat. We will miss him dearly. Such a character and 'celebrity' in Old Portsmouth. Loved by many. He had a lovely last Christmas.’

Anna Thompson added: ‘Now that is sad. Know some of the older 'chaps' will miss him. Know for sure my son, Yiannis will.’

Meanwhile a spokesman for the cathedral’s 58-strong choir said: ‘Sad to say, Thomas the Cat has died. He was a grand old man of 19 and the choristers loved him. RequiesCat in pace. #cathedral #cats.’

Thomas shared his name with the 12th Century cathedral, which is also known as the Cathedral Church of St Thomas of Canterbury.

A medal worn by Thomas, a 19-year-old cat, whose owners lived near Portsmouth Cathedral in High Street. The cathedral announced Thomas had died on January 3, 2020. Picture: Portsmouth Cathedral (via Thomas' owners)