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Church Cats 9

Inigo and Jones

The Actors' Church - St Paul's, Covent Garden, London

St Paul's Church, Covent Garden, London

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Church cats Inigo and Jones, of St Paul's Church, Covent Garden, London We're pleased to be able to feature cats from a church in the heart of London. St Paul's, known as the 'Actors' Church' because of its long association with the theatrical community, was built nearly 400 years ago, in 1633, by London-born architect Inigo Jones, and it is of course from him that the church cats' names are derived.

Inigo, the female half of the two church cats at St Paul's, Covent Garden, London Inigo, one of two church cats at the Actors' Church - St Paul's, Covent Garden, London Inigo is a female tabby (left), and Jones, often referred to as 'Jonesy' and also a tabby, is her slightly larger brother. Their birth date is uncertain, but their vet thinks they are (at the end of 2011) around 7 years old. They belonged to a former churchwarden of St Paul's, but when they were a couple of years old he became ill and was no longer able to care for them. At that time the present rector, Rev. Simon Grigg, had just taken over the church and was aware there was a problem with rodents so, as he puts it, an 'elegant solution' was to take the cats in at the church. They live and are based there rather than at the rectory, which is some little distance away.

Church cats Inigo and Jones of the Actors' Church - St Paul's, Covent Garden, London At first they were quite scared and took some time to get used to all the comings and goings; Jones hid under a sofa for three weeks! But they gradually adapted and now, says Rev. Grigg, 'have a most wonderful time'. They have become quite the celebrity felines, and many tourists visit the church specifically to see them. They do not neglect their church duties; they particularly enjoy interrupting weddings by sitting on the bride's dress train, and have even been known to relieve the sadness at a funeral of a cat lover by turning up to offer their condolences. They are extremely pious, joining in morning prayer with Rev. Grigg and the Sacristan every day; of course the fact that they get their morning treat immediately after morning prayer has nothing to do with it!

Many thanks to Reverend Simon Grigg for supplying information about the cats and to Dr Elizabeth Chase for her help.

Note: If any reader has larger photos of Inigo and/or Jones, or ones showing them to better effect,
we'd be pleased to hear from you.

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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 now no longer with us, but you can read more from his human companion here.

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