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Cats' Adventures & Travels
Public Transport Rail, Trains, Trams etc
The North Bay Railway is a miniature line running at Scarborough, a well-known holiday and seaside resort on Britain's North Yorkshire coast, and one terminus is by the town's Sea Life Centre, a marine sanctuary. Percy, a large and friendly black cat, liked to take the train, especially in summer, from near his home in Peasholm Park and ride the 3/4 of a mile (just over a kilometre) to the Centre.
His owners, Anne and Yale Michael, were astonished when in October 2009 they read in their local newspaper, the Scarborough News, of their 7-year-old cat's travels especially when they found he'd been making his trips for about three years! He was so well known at the station that he'd been provided with his own piece of carpet for snoozing on. Phil Hart, a guard on the railway, said, 'Percy just hops on and off the trains and knows exactly what times they run. The passengers love him and make a fuss of him. He's a lovely cat.' His owners said he revelled in the attention!
When he reached the Sea Life Centre Percy liked to sit on a wall by the entrance and sneak in along with the visitors, according to manager Tamsin Mutton-McKnight. She said he was never any trouble in fact, was better behaved than some visitors. He particularly liked to watch the penguins although that scared them a bit and they didn't like him very much and the fish in tanks. 'He just plonks himself down and watches them,' said Tamsin. 'He never tries to get in any of the tanks, even though some have open tops, and we never have any problems with him.'
When he'd seen enough Percy just hopped on a train for the return journey and went back home. In winter he stayed at home more and 'spends most of his time asleep on my bed, preparing for the next season,' said Mrs Michael. 'He came from a farm and has always been something of a free spirit. He loves to get out and about and is always losing the tags with our phone number on. But he always makes it home in the end.'
After 2009 we saw nothing more about Percy for several years, apart from a short comment from his owner in 2013 (see video clip links below) from which it seemed this handsome black cat was still riding the train.
However, in August 2017 there came the sad news that Percy had passed away. The North Bay Railway Facebook page said:
'Anyone that knew Percy knew that he was a larger-than-life character who part adopted us and spent a huge part of his life at Scalby Mills station. He will be fondly remembered for his demanding milk, pinching chicken sandwiches and sneaking into boxes in the office, as well as hanging around the platform greeting passengers and giving a few dogs a run for their money!
[** Percy the Cat at North Bay Railway, fifth in a series of 'North Bay Tales' by Joe Coates.]
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Our featured feline at the head of the page is Socks, pictured in 2003 surveying his 'estate' in the early morning sunshine. Affectionately known as Soxy, he blossomed from a thin and hungry stray into a substantial and handsome cat who loved life and company, and his gentle ways endeared him to many friends. He is no longer with us, but you can read more from his human companion here.
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Page created December 2009 (originally in Fragments section) with later revisions and additions