Here is a full treatise on Delilah, Freddie Mercury’s best known cat. We know that Freddie Mercury loved cats. It is said by The Washington Post said that he lived with 10 cats throughout his lifetime and that his first cats were Tom and Jerry. I have found photographs of eight of his cats but can’t find photographs of Tom and Jerry. The ten listed are: Dorothy, Tiffany, Tom, Jerry, Delilah, Goliath, Lily, Miko, Oscar and Romeo.
Admirers of Freddie Mercury are sure that he loved them all pretty well equally because he loved cats. However, his inspiration for his famous song Delilah came from what we have to presume was his favourite cat: Delilah. The song is in his album Innuendo. It was Queen’s last album before Freddie Mercury’s death and the song is dedicated to her. It provides us with some really nice insights as to his relationship with Delilah and how she behaved.
I’m told that he adopted her in 1987. The Bustle website says that she was a tabby but this is incorrect.
IMPORTANT: this is an important aspect of the photographs. You might see some slight variation in the facial markings but I believe all four photographs are of Delilah. In two of them she’s been transposed through 180° so what looks like the right-hand side of the face is in fact the left side and vice versa. In one photograph it seems that it has been marked up with a black felt tip pen or some such writing instrument which has covered her eyes. So there is some difficulty with these photographs but I believe they are all of the same cat despite these interpretive problems.
Also, I have cleaned up the photographs and published them on this page. It should be said that there is some difficulty with pictures of Freddie Mercury’s cats on the Internet. This is because on occasions I feel that a few of the cats with whom he was photographed did not belong to him. This is certainly a possibility and if true it does muddy the water. And the image quality of the photographs is rather poor because the cameras used were film cameras and they were snapshots. They were probably quite low quality film cameras judging by the image quality. Therefore it is impossible to create really excellent quality images of his cats.
Delilah was a calico cat using American terminology. In other words she was a tortoiseshell-and-white cat. These are almost always female with about one in 3,000 being male. They are considered to have a particular character described as “catitude” (as have tortoiseshell cats). I think you can guess that it means a certain amount of feistiness, independence but lovability.
This fits in very well with Freddie Mercury’s description in his song. The lyrics state that Delilah took over his house, meaning she was in charge and did what she liked. All genuine cat lovers know the feeling. Domestic cats train their humans rather than vice versa. One of the famous lines in the lyrics is that Delilah peed over his Chippendale suite. This is a little concerning because it means that Delilah was probably stressed. I’m going to guess that if she was stressed it was due to the other cats in his home.
I don’t know how many cats he had at any one time but it was probably six because six survived him. It would only take a bit of friction between two or three cats in a home for one of them to perhaps mark territory by spraying urine which could have been the cause of the Chippendale incident. Other than that it might have been that she developed cystitis which is partly caused by stress.
He loved her tremendously and he makes a really good song out of it. Delilah pleased him and made him happy. That’s the mark of a good human-to-cat relationship and the voice of a cat lover. Although he might have had a bit of difficulty over managing harmony among the cats.
I have a page on calico cats which you can read by clicking on this link. I won’t, therefore, go over all the details. They are not a breed of cat. It is a description of a certain type of cat coat. The colours of the coat are essentially red, black and white. Red and black together is a tortoiseshell coat and the white is added by the presence of the piebald spotting gene. It has a highly variable action and Delilah has quite a lot of white.
Delilah, the lyrics
Oh, my, oh, my, oh, my
You’re irresistible, ooh, ooh, ooh
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
Oh, my, oh, my, oh, my
You’re unpredictable, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
You make me so very happy
When you cuddle up and go to sleep beside me
And then you make me slightly mad
When you pee all over my Chippendale suite
Ooh, ooh (Delilah)
Ooh, ooh (Delilah)
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
You take over my house and home
You even try to answer my telephone
Delilah, you’re the apple of my eye
Meow, meow, meow
Delilah, I love you, Delilah,…