Tag Archives: World War II

Jock the Fifth


In the United Kingdom, stately homes are sometimes left to the nation. They seldom have a permanent resident, if you don’t count mice and housekeepers. One National Trust house, however, goes out of its way to ensure it is always occupied – by a fat marmalade cat. This house is Chartwell, the home of Sir Winston Churchill. “Sir Winston requested in his will that there should always be a marmalade cat named Jock in comfortable residence at Chartwell.”


Sir Winston Churchill was crazy about cats – particularly marmalade ones, which would sit next to him on a specially reserved chair. Churchill owned a marmalade cat that he named Jock, after Sir Jock Colville, one of his private secretaries. Jock meant so much to Churchill he attended many wartime cabinet meetings with him. In compliance with Churchill’s wishes, the National Trust – which inherited Chartwell on his death – has since acquired ginger cats called Jocks II, III, and IV, and now, Jock V has taken up residence in the house. Having been rescued by Cats Protection, he was then adopted by Chartwell’s house and collections manger Alice Martin in 2010.


Jock V started out living in the top flat in the house and spent his time exploring and being pampered by office staff. He also developed an unlikely love of water and will jump into the sink at every opportunity.


Jock V ventured out into the grounds in spring of 2011, and visitors to the property are now able to see him.



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The Akita, a dog breed originating in Japan, was first made popular in the United States in 1937 when an Akita was presented to Helen Keller after her visit to that country.  During her stay in Japan Keller mentioned to her hosts that she was very interested in the famous Akita, Hachiko who died in 1935 and upon learning about the dog she mentioned that she would enjoy having a dog of that kind.  One month later an Akita named Kamikaze-go was sent to Helen.  She fell in love with the dog, saying “I know I shall not feel the same tenderness towards another pet.”  Being deaf and blind she came to rely on Kamikaze and found him gentle and reliable, but sadly, he died of Canine Distemper after only a short time.  The Japanese government then presented Helen Keller with an official gift of Kamikaze’s brother, Kenzan-go, and through Helen’s efforts a breed standard was established in the United States and the Akita began appearing in national dog shows, by 1939.  The growth of the breed in this country stopped with the onset of World War II, but the Akita had taken hold with dog lovers and after the war, they again gained in popularity.  Helen Keller grew very attached to her second Akita, Kenzan and enjoyed his companionship for many years.


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