Freddie Mercury's dedication to his cats

Freddie Mercury's dedication to his cats

Queen's lead singer treated his 10 cats like royalty.

April 3, 2019

Freddie Mercury was devoted to cats. His first two—Tom and Jerry—were gifts in the 1970s from his ex-wife Mary Austin. Over the years, other cats joined the brigade: Oscar (ginger and white), Tiffany (a Birman), Lily (all white), Goliath (all black)—not to mention Delilah, Miko, Dorothy and Romeo (all tabbies).

Frequently on tour and with homes dotted around the world, the author of Bohemian Rhapsody made Garden Lodge, his luxurious house in Kensington, London, the home for his cats. And each cat had its own room. In the biography, Freddie Mercury, Peter Freestone (cook and personal assistant to the singer) writes: “His house was where his cats lived.” They were fed canned food in the mornings whereas fresh chicken, rabbit and fish were on the menu later in the day. While on tour, Mercury would often phone to talk to his cats. And at Christmas, he gave them stockings filled with toys and treats. “Freddie treated his cats as if they were his children,” confides Mercury's partner, Jim Hutton, in his memoir Mercury and me.

“To my cat Jerry—and to Tom, Oscar, Tiffany and to cat lovers across the world—screw everybody else!” reads the dedication to Mercury's solo album Mr. Bad Guy in 1985. “Her Majesty” did have a court favourite: a cat named Delilah, whom he nicknamed “my little princess.” When Mercury was weakened by illness, Delilah inspired him to write, “You make me smile when I'm just about to cry / You bring me hope, you make me laugh—you like it.” In January 1991, despite the reluctance of other band members, the song Delilah made the final cut on the album Innuendo—just months before Freddie Mercury's death. According to an interview he gave to his journalist friend David Wigg, Freddie Mercury left his entire fortune to “Mary and the cats.”

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