94. Arthurs Cat Food
When spotting this Lincoln in a Blackpool Thrift Shop my mind was catapulted back to the TV ads for this feline feast and recall the said moggie scraping into the can (pretty much the same as us here, gouging the bottom of the proverbial barrel looking for mugs) and eating the food off its paw.
Awww. How cute.
However when dredging the web looking for further titbits about this long-forgotten brand, what I found was horrifying to say the least. A number of forums and sites posted that (allegedly) prior to filming the TV ad the production company may or may not have forcibly removed the cats teeth, so it would use it’s paw to extract the tasty morsels of food. However there are other sites with entries referencing Arthur himself which seem oblivious to the Molar Conspiracy Theory and instead suggest he was just talon-ted (ahem) with his paws. Here is a brief biography, courtesy of http://www.pawsonline.info/tv_cat.htm
Between 1966 and 1975 in the UK a cat named Arthur was hired by the pet-food company, Spillers. Arthur’s particular skill was that he could scoop food out of a tin with his paw, leading to his appearance in 309 TV commercials. His career blossomed, with his picture appearing on T-shirts, towels (Trade Mugs Anyone?) and in various other advertising campaigns. Sadly, Arthur died in February 1976, just before his 17th birthday.
In January 1987 at the Savoy Hotel in London, Spillers launched Arthur II who was discovered at an animal shelter. Like his predecessor, he too could scoop food from a tin with his paw. He could also place his paw on anything near him upon the command ‘paw’. Arthur retired after nine years to make way for a younger cat, who by coincidence also came from the same animal shelter.
Will we ever know the truth?
The mug itself seems almost second-fiddle when placed against the backdrop of such intrigue. It is however a rather tasty hybrid-Lincoln with a tri-colour illustration of Arthur himself cleaning his infamous paw.
Whilst I’m here I may as well start another conspiracy theory:
As Arthur was posing for the drawing on the mug, the artist force fed him KFC, citing it was only the Colonels secret blend of 11 herbs and spices which would make him groom himself in such a cute manner. (Allegedly)