Hippo the farm cat reigned supreme for 16 years

Hippo the cat lived on Wood Farm, in Hail Weston, for 16 years.

Hippo the cat lived on Wood Farm, in Hail Weston, for 16 years. - Credit: ANNE MARIE HAMILTON

Front doors are rarely used in farmhouses, and we may as well brick ours up as the only one who uses it on a regular basis has, very sadly, recently died.

Her small, delicate stature belied a fierce tenacity to dominate all who came into her orbit, and her love of creature comforts, including exclusive use of the front door, was a constant source of amusement to the whole family.

Hippo arrived on Midsummers Day, as a young adult, from the RSPCA hospital in Birmingham, where our son and daughter-in-law worked as vets.

Hunts Post Farming Column by Anne-Marie Hamilton, of Wood Farm, Hail Weston

Hunts Post Farming Column by Anne-Marie Hamilton, of Wood Farm, Hail Weston - Credit: Archant

She had been brought in as an injured stray, and we were very surprised that nobody had wanted to re-home her because she was black and white.

Apparently, the fashion at that time was either to have a tabby or a plain coloured cat. In a nod to Shakespeare and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, she was delivered to us with her new name emblazoned across her vaccination certificate – “Hippolyta Hamilton of Hail Weston” – the name being almost twice the size of the cat.

Read more from Anne-Marie Hamilton here

Whilst she was extremely loving with humans, as far as her prey were concerned, she brought her urban guerrilla tactics with her, and proved to be a ferocious and highly competent hunter.

Mice, rats, rabbits, squirrels and other cats – nothing fazed her, and woe betide any dog that thought that their dog bed belonged exclusively to them. She would turf them out without a backward glance.

Most Read

As Rob loves feeding the birds, we were very thankful that Hippo regarded them with disdain, and rarely bothered with them, finding far more sport in rodents, which she hunted remorselessly.

Regrettably, she insisted on stockpiling her victims under the garden bench at the back door, with the result that Rob was on constant ’burial duty.’

Although technically a farm cat, Hippo rarely slept out at night, preferring a nice warm spot in front of the Aga, and she reigned supreme in the house and farmyard for just over 16 years.

I suspect that there have been countless celebrations in the mouse holes and rabbit warrens across Wood Farm as the inhabitants can finally feel safe, at long last.

However, for Hippo’s family, there is definitely a special cat-shaped hole in our lives which will never be filled.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter