Cat Catechumen

Link To Today’s Strip

When I first saw this week’s strips I was skeptical of the feasibility of a cat living in a church. I know that businesses, nursing homes, and libraries have kept cats in the past; I’ve seen the same puff pieces in the lifestyles section as everyone else.

But with roughly 20 percent of people having some level of allergic reaction to cats, I had a hard time believing that any church would risk annoying congregants and turning away potential parishioners by letting a feline frolic through the foyer. On the other hand, Tom steals more story ideas than Shakespeare, there was a good chance he’d come across some fluffy choir cat story on the news. So I went on a quest to find church cats.

After cutting out the results for the undead monster cat from Pet Semetary, I found, among others, the following adorable moggy muffins curling up between the pews. And really, aren’t cat pictures better than trying to find something to say about Lillian talking to Dinkle about vermin?

Samuel Emmanuel who lived at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Southern Pines, North Carolina from 2000 to 2006
Simon, who has lived in The Church of the Advent in Boston since 2012
Doorkins Magnificat, who lived in the Southwark Cathedral in London from 2008 to 2020, and became a minor celebrity/church mascot.

Canterbury Cathedral has several cats, and a few made the news this past year for sneaking into the live streams of The Dean of Canterbury’s prayers.

Canterbury Cathedral cat steals the show during sermon - again! | Meridian  | ITV News
Tiger, who also loves pancakes.

Sadly, back in 2013 the cathedral mourned the loss of one of their sweet sneaky boys. His name? Laptop.

Laptop: Canterbury Cathedral Cat Remembered | Canterbury cathedral, Cats,  Kitten meowing
Suck it Bingo. Here’s the Lion King of uniquely named church cats.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

29 responses to “Cat Catechumen

  1. Banana Jr. 6000

    They named the cat “Laptop” because he had a mouse.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Actually, they said he was named Laptop because he kept trying to jump onto choristers laps during practice.

  2. Sourbelly

    Thanks for the cool cat pictures CBH! I sure as hell have nothing to say about today’s jokeless, pointless wonder.

  3. William Thompson

    Why does the old bat seem so distressed that the cat would keep mice out of the choir loft? What’s in the missing next panel? “Bingo ushers them into the sacristy, where they break into the sacramental wine?” “He keeps the mice out so the rats can have free run of the place, which is why he tolerates you, Mr. Dinkle!”

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Lillian needs to be put in a home as she is obviously senile.

      I’ve had a confused look after reading every strip this week. I just cannot comprehend what Batty is trying to say with these strips.

      • Gerard Plourde

        You’re not alone. The only rationale I can come up with is my theory that it has something to do with his connection to the Band Leader Salute float at ext year’s Rose Parade.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    One might also ask why a church choir loft would have a mouse problem to begin with, although I suppose it’s feasible, I guess. I likewise guess he’s just given up on trying to base jokes on this premise, as there’s no gag to be had here. They like the cat and it controls their rodent problem…OK then.

    Coming next week: Harry notices the church loft water fountain and the church ladies explain it’s there in case anyone gets thirsty. Hilarity ensues.

    • William Thompson

      There’s a mouse story connected with the composition of “Silent Night.” Supposedly an Austrian pastor discovered that mice had eaten through the leather bellows of the church’s organ, rendering it unplayable and ruining the impending Christmas ceremonies. In a frenzy of creativity the pastor composed a song which could be sung without organ accompaniment.

      Plus, Batiuk’s ability to create is as poor as a church mouse. I don’t know why church mice are considered more impoverished than sectarian mice, but there you have it: some church/mouse connections.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Love the Silent Night story! I’d heard it once, but totally forgotten.

        I am currently working on the church/mouse connection. Expect more dumb tangents in the future.

      • Maxine of Arc

        I believe church mice would be expected to be extra poor because churches don’t generally house food and therefore there’d be slim pickings for the local rodentia. Still, mice manage to get by in most places, and a church would certainly provide shelter. And the very existence of the term does suggest that church mice were/are A Thing.

        Thanks for the cat pics, CBH!! I do remember seeing Tiger the pancake thief making the rounds. Also, “Doorkins Magnificat” is the greatest name ever.

  5. Mr. A

    Panel 3: Dinkle goes slack-jawed as the unending inanity of this storyline turns his brain to mush. I feel ya, bud.

  6. Banana Jr. 6000

    Yesterday Dinkle felt the need to brusquely inform Lillian about his keen mastery of the word “mascot.” So this explainer about what cats do may be Lillian’s idea of a passive-aggressive response.

  7. spacemanspiff85

    With so very many of these strips, I would swear there was a last panel missing, since they make no sense as they are.
    And I really love all those cat pictures. 🙂

  8. Hitorque

    I’d have thought mice would be more of an issue on the lower level than way up in the choir loft?

  9. billytheskink

    Good thing for Dinkle that Bingo can’t keep rats out of the choir loft…

  10. J.J. O'Malley

    Wait, Bingo’s a “he”? I thought the old biddies said there hadn’t been a male in the choir loft in decades.

    That being said, is there any reason that this week’s cat-astrophic cacophony couldn’t have been condensed into a weekend double bill? Monday’s strip could have run on a Saturday, and every “joke” about BIngo could have easily been squeezed into a Sunday-sized opus, thus freeing up four days or so to have given some closure to Funky’s AA meeting, or one-offs of Westview during the pandemic to make his mini “time jump” less jarring, or something.

    Still, I for one am grateful that Battyuk does his strips a year in advance, so that he was unable to take part in today’s “No Pants” strip parade.

    • batgirl

      Maybe the next strip will explain that Bingo doesn’t count as a male because he’s been fixed (which I hope he has been, as male cats can spray if they aren’t).
      And maybe the strip after that will explain to Dinkle that there’s a condition to his remaining in the choir loft…

      (Sorry for any typos – my text has turned invisible for some reason).

  11. Englebert Humperdoo

    And where’s the litter box, pray tell?!

  12. The Duck of Death

    You gotta love Dinkle’s startled, confused expression in P3. “Wha…?! Mascots — now that’s a concept I’m familiar with. But cats providing companionship and keeping mice away?!?! Now you’ve lost me, sister!”

  13. Banana Jr. 6000

    All of CBH’s real life “church cat” stories are heartwarming. These animals took an interest in the church community, and vice versa, and all of their lives were made better. This is the sort of fellowship that church attendance should inspire. Any one of those stories would have been easy to adapt into an arc. Tom Batiuk introduces a church cat, and spends six days telling us it exists.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Yeah, imagine if we instead had a flashback to a little black kitten in the rain, meowing to be let into the church. Sneaking in when a door opened. And then curling up to be found somewhere adorable and symbolic. Like at the base of a statue, or inside the offering tray, or napping in front of the suggestion box. A church council meeting where they argue or vote on keeping the cat. And then a few days of flashbacks to the cat’s life in the church. Interrupting a baptism, comforting a widow at a funeral, pretending to sing with the choir. Maybe the widow he comforts is the lady who found him. OR is the hard hearted old lady who thought cats have no place in the church.

      • The Duck of Death

        Well, we’ve just had a conversation in the ofDeath household, and nobody here can think of a single purpose for having a cat around other than companionship and vermin deterrence.

        Leading me to conclude that in Harry’s culture, they’re used exclusively for food and fur skins.

      • batgirl

        That would be so much fun! But unrelated to Les or Dinkle, so TB doesn’t care. Maybe if Lisa had gone to that church.

      • That is a charming scenario, but it requires a storyteller, which Batiuk most definitely is not.

  14. batgirl

    There’s a lovely British children’s book series called The Church Mice, which I highly recommend. They go on adventures with the Church Cat as their reluctant mentor. The art is detailed and fun to look at.
    The Church Cat doesn’t eat the mice because of sermons about brotherly love, if I remember correctly, so he spends his time getting them out of trouble.

  15. Doghouse Reilly (Minneapolis)

    You might say he’s a ball-bearing mousetrap!

    • batgirl

      I was thinking of that very slip-it-past-the-censors description! Appreciate a man with a grasp of the classics.

  16. Chester the Dog

    But can Bingo save Los Angeles from burning?