Well, first things first. Who is Furguson and how do you spell his name? I have seen two spellings, the conventional way “Ferguson” and the cool way “Furguson”. The cool way is the right way because it contains the word “fur”. This is his stage name and, incidentally, it is also his real name. Nice to know. He belongs (‘lives with’ is better) Cheryl Shawver of Animal Actors of Hollywood. Yes, Furguson, is a trained actor in the business of acting. I guess you have to be because you can’t expect any domestic cat to fit into a film set. It would normally be chaos if you did that. They have to be really socialised to the kind of activity and novelty of being on set mixing with lots of unkown humans.
So who is he? Furguson is a male, brown, tabby-and-white Exotic Shorthair cat living in a loft with the character Winston Bishop played by Lamorne Morris in the television series New Girl. That is the summary and I’ve answered the question as who and what kind of cat he is. So what about Exotic Shorthair cats? They are shorthaired versions of the contemporary Persian. They are the same except for the length of their fur.
Their faces are very flat because that is how the breeders like them. The breed standard insists that the face is flat. The character is pretty laid back. A cat show judge can describe the character better than me. Gloria Stephens says that “Persians [and Exotic Shorthairs] are for the most part laid back cats, most are happiest when lounging and being decorative…Their sweet, gentle personalities fit into most households, provided they feel secure in their environment”.
That is where Furguson’s real life owner and trainer comes in. Cheryl Shawver would have socialised Furguson to accept being in new and different places because no matter how accepting a cat is they are going to be nervous in strange places until they settle down which is exactly what happened.
And now to what Lamorne Morris says about working with Ferguson. He said, “[Ferguson] was a total nightmare, he’d scratch me, I was allergic and then I think he just got used to me and I did him”.
So it kicked off rather badly but things improved which is exactly what I’d expect. They were strangers to each other and the environment would be tricky for a cat not matter how laid back they were. Morris said that Furguson can be stubborn. Another typical feline trait. What he means is that domestic cats don’t always do what you want them to do quickly. And sometimes, “I want to lay hands on this cat!” he said. Frustration. But he added, “And don’t call PETA on me!”. He’s just joking.
Morris said that Furguson is “a little trained” and “But…Furguson does whatever Furguson feels like doing”. That is about the sum of it: you train domestic cats so far and the rest you have to be patient with.
— New Girl (@New_GirlTV) April 20, 2016
Note: tweets sometimes bust and break because they are removed at source. Sorry if that’s happened.
Domestic animals can add a tremedous amount to a television series. They add gentleness and soul. That’s a big statement but it comes from a famous quote from Jean Cocteau who said, “I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.”
There you go, cats add some soul and they delight people but not all people! But there is a commercial reason for adding a cat to a television show. The bottom line is that they add a talking point and an extra dimension. They also make the character of Winston more attractive.
Lamorne Morris said, “It went from me completely despising working with this cat to looking forward to it”. He said fans love it (the relationship) and he joked that a movie is on the cards, “We’re working on the movie right now, Winston and Furguson”. Furguson is a succcess story. Another celebrity cat. They do do well don’t they?