Home Features Phoebe, the grand old lady of Terrigal

Phoebe, the grand old lady of Terrigal


I am Phoebe. I am a very old lady and I live with some humans in Terrigal by the sea. I think I’m in a place called Australia but I’m not so sure.

I’m 19, which is really old for a Himalayan cat and I am told it’s equivalent to more than 90 in human years. Here you can see how I now spend every day — curled up asleep on the sofa, my favourite sofa.

My sofa, my sofa


Like very old people we old cats like our routine. I am really set in my ways nowadays. I wake up at close to four-thirty and start bellowing to wake my human slaves.

They usually manage to resist until about five when the old male human turns up downstairs to give me my breakfast.

Occasionally I bellow mightily to get attention from the human slaves

Then I go to the box. I have very regular bowel habits, you understand. Then I ask the male human slave to let me out onto the deck. Most days in winter it is way too cold to stay outside, so I wait until the slave is a decent distance from the door and I bellow to be let in. He always complies. So well trained.

After that it’s a quick visit to clean up any left-over scraps of breakfast before onto the sofa to start my long day’s nap. A girl has to get her beauty sleep, doesn’t she?

Big effort

Time was when I used to spring up to the kitchen bench but nowadays, sometimes, even a climb onto the sofa is a big effort. I wish I were not so old, but that’s life.

Staking out the dinner bowl

Of course life has not been quite the same since I lost my little friend Zoe back in May. I didn’t think I would miss her so terribly, but I do. She was no trouble and she was a lovely friend.

I ave the humans very well trained

I sleep all day with occasional visits to the water bowl and, maybe, a trip to the box for a pee. As a very important old cat I do insist on the highest standards of cleanliness. If my box needs the litter changing I draw the humans’ attention to their sloppy standards by peeing on the floor next to the box.

Fortunately the human training has been a very successful program and I have not had to resort to this signal of disapproval for some time.


I wake up from my beauty sleep at around five and ask for dinner by standing to attention next to the food bowl. It always works a treat.

Then it’s a short excursion to the deck again, keeping the humans on their toes by going out of one door and demanding to come in through another.

Usually it’s then more dinner followed by the evening TV curled up next to the male human on the sofa. I really like to be tickled under the chin and stroked slowly. If he gets bored doing it or is uncooperative by trying to read, I do find that a sharp tap with a paw soon brings him into line.

Back on my sofa for the day

Last bellow

He thinks I fall asleep during the evening but, really, I am waiting for him to go to bed. I wait until he’s been in bed for about ten minutes and then I really start bellowing and demanding attention.

The humans always ignore me so sometimes, when I feel up to it, I patter upstairs in the dark — which I hate nowadays — and climb onto their bed to demand attention. After about five minutes I call it a day and go downstairs to sleep by myself.

Nowadays, though, I do get lonely in the night and often wake up and shout for a human. It sometimes works.

The humans say that I am doing really well but I still wish that I were not so old.


You can find more from the old human, John Shingleton, at The Rolling Road. And on Instagram

More articles by John Shingleton on Macfilos


  1. That is a very regal looking cat. The training description is spot on. I remember well how our cat, sadly now deceased, had us well trained. He shared the same technique of going out one door to go out and entering through another, at opposite ends of the house of course. They must have gone to the same human training classes.

    Beautiful portraits too, by the way.

  2. It is interesting that none of the owner’s interest in cameras is reflected in Phoebe’s daily diaries. Or is she above all that sort of thing?

  3. The adventures of phoebe the wonder cat. Nineteen is a grand old age, and clearly you have trained old Mr X well to keep you in tip top condition. Keep it up old lady, let’s see if your slaves can get you to twenty or further.

  4. Davids-as my humans are currently swanning around overseas in Europe-yet again-it’s Portugal this month-I will answer to say that all the photos were taken with an X Vario. I know that because that camera has a bit stuck on the top. Now if you’ll excuse me all this gear talk is making me sleepy…….

    • Thank you Phoebe. You have made my day. It is all too rare to receive a personal response from a ‘Down-Under’ elderly lady feline. I can see you have lost none of your observational skills, spotting a knob on top of his X Vario. Do you ever catch any of your Master’s cast-offs?

  5. A lovely old girl. Cats like routine, provided they have established it themselves.
    Thanks John.
    Have a good trip. Looking forward to your photos.

    Frederick Hepworth

  6. A great story John. It reminded me of my cat, Ginger, who was killed by some crazy driver. Like Phoebe we serviced him but his greatest pleasure that sent him purring like a Harley-Davidison was to have the nape of his neck lightly bitten by our dog. Beautiful images from the X vario
    Thanks for sharing

  7. A truly lovely story and I used to have a male Himalayan cat named Pepper that looks very similar to Phoebe. Wonderful pictures and a lot of insight into learning how to be managed by a cat.


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