Fergus, his zimmer frame… and Quill

Friendship with cat raised stroke survivor’s spirits

Friday, 6th November 2020 — By Calum Fraser

Fergus Doyle

Retired fishmonger Fergus Doyle walking with Quill Rubeus the cat

A CAT has raised the spirits of a stroke survivor after joining him on his daily exercise routine throughout the pandemic.

The friendship began when Quill Rubeus hopped onto Fergus Doyle’s walker at the height of the first virus lockdown during the 72-year-old’s daily walk around Hadrian Mews, Barnsbury.

And he has since returned every day to join him.

“He seems to have adopted us, and loves walking around with my husband on his walker,” Mr Doyle’s wife Lady Anne told the Tribune.

“Fergus loves the attention the cat gives him and the cat seems to sense that Fergus has had a problem.”

Mr Doyle, who used to run the Cecil and Co wholesale fishmonger in Liverpool Road before retiring in 2004, suffered a brain haemorrhage and multiple strokes last year.

Before the strokes he was a “gym bunny”, Ms Doyle said, going to work out at least five times a week.

Ms Doyle said: “We were on a Greek island when he had the brain haemorrhage. It was a scary time and we had to go on a boat ambulance to take him off the island to a hospital in Athens.”

He spent two-and-a-half weeks in Athens before Ms Doyle was able to get him on a flight to Heathrow and then straight in a taxi to UCLH.

He then suffered several “mini strokes” in the ensuing weeks.

“It was a nasty time,” Ms Doyle said. “He suffered a lot.”

Gradually, Mr Doyle’s speech started coming back and he used the walker to exercise around the mews just off Roman Road. And then Quill Rubeus, a Bengal breed, turned up.

Ms Doyle said: “I think it has helped Fergus after what happened last year.

“They’ve got an amazing bond. I don’t know what it is. The cat will come into our bed now in the morning and he will stretch himself out with Fergus. But apart from with Fergus, he’s not a very loving cat. With me, he will snap.”

She added: “The cat just walks in and out now like he owns the place and loves joining us for lunch at 1pm. He is never late.”

The Doyles think the cat lives in Offord Road but they haven’t met the owner yet.

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