Bohemian Rhapsody follows the life of a legend, Freddie Mercury, the frontman of Queen. It features how Queen became one of the iconic bands in the world. The movie exceeds its gross expectation of $10 million to $50 million on its first opening weekend. Regardless of reviews, the film came out exceptional because of Freddie himself and his cats, the true highlight of his life story. In fact, Freddie’s real-life devotion to his cats is more than what is being portrayed in big screens.
“Freddie treated the cats like his own children,” said Jim Hutton in his memoir ‘Mercury and Me’, Mercury’s boyfriend for over seven years. “He would constantly fuss over them, and if any of them came to any harm when Freddie was away, heaven help us.”
Freddie Mercury and his cats
It was Mary Austin, his greatest love-turned-friend, who introduced him to felines in the 70s. The first pair of cats was Tom and Jerry.
Peter Freestone, his personal assistant is a living witness of how Mercury would take long-distance calls just to hear a few meows from his pet cats.
“He’d get to a hotel, we’d dial through, and he really would talk to his cats,” says Peter Freestone in his memoir, Freddie Mercury.
“Mary would hold Tom and Jerry in turn up to the receiver to listen to Freddie talking. This continued throughout the years with succeeding feline occupants of his houses,” he added.
Over the years of his life, he was able to foster 10 cats who were Tom, Jerry, Tiffany, Dorothy, Delilah, Goliath, Lily, Oscar, Miko, and Romeo with the last six that have outlived their owner. From a scene in “Bohemian Rhapsody”, Mercury exclaims that each of his cats has its own bedroom in his home.
Tiffany, who was also given by Austin, was the only thoroughbred cat which appears like a blue point Himalayan or a Ragdoll or a longhaired Persian. The other nine were adopted from shelters or animal hospitals, and some were given by his partners. It was mentioned that Mercury found joy in rescuing cats from the Blue Cross shelter where he got Lily, Miko, Romeo, and Goliath.
Mr. Bad Guy
Click the play button to listen to the song:
Mr Bad Guy is a solo album in 1985, which he dedicated to his cats: “This album is dedicated to my cat Jerry – also Tom, Oscar, and Tiffany and all the cat lovers across the universe – screw everybody else!”
You make me smile when I’m just about to cry
You bring me hope, you make me laugh – and I like it
You get away with murder so innocent
But when you throw a moody you’re all claws and you bite
Many people mistakenly thought that the song Delilah was dedicated to a woman but it was soon debunked by the lyrics, “peeing all over Chippendale Suite”
Delilah was her adopted tri-coloured tabby cat in 1987. Many believed she was his favourite, and Delilah was more than happy to reciprocate his feelings.
“Mercury spent hours with watercolours trying to paint a portrait of the tortoiseshell Delilah – and when he was dying in 1991, one of his final actions was stroking her fur,” taken from Rolling Stone (2014).
Freddie Mercury’s cat waistcoat
Apart from the song ‘Delilah’ he has another tribute for his cats prepared on his last album Innuendo. In the music video of one of the Innuendo tracks “These Are the Days of Our Lives,” Mercury especially stands out with his waistcoat. Mercury had worn a bespoke vest adorned with hand-painted images of his cats.
“I won’t be a rock star. I will be a legend.” Indeed, Freddie Mercury became one but a living legend with cats. From his song lyrics and statements from his friends, it is evident that cats had a great influence in his life, in joys and in sorrows. Keep in mind, when you listen to one of his songs, you are hearing the voice of not just a legend but a fellow cat lover as well.
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