Harry the neighbourhood cat

Harry the neighbourhood cat, a.k.a. Harry the English Gentleman and other aliases. Catch him on Instagram @fourthavenueHarry. Photo: Andrew Lavigne

by Sophie Innes

Harry is no ordinary cat. Everyone who lives on the canal side of Bank Street knows him. If you’re new to the Glebe or haven’t had a sighting of this famous cat, here are a few places you can look: Fifth Avenue Court, Fourth Avenue Wine Bar, Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s, Wild Oat Bakery, KV Dance Studio or practically anywhere on Third, Fourth or Fifth avenues.

Harry_the_Cat JAL_4223_2Now, to really understand this fiery orange cat you need to know his story, how he became the loving Harry he is now. It all started with Harry living on a farm in Cochrane, Alberta. He lived with a kind woman, Judy Baily, who had been expecting an indoor cat but got the opposite. Harry was a cat who wanted to roam the land. Judy was ready to give him up to the Humane Society when she remembered a little boy named Brody Rector who loved Harry. After giving it some thought, she gave Harry to Brody and his mother Shannon.

Harry was definitely not the first animal on the Rector’s farm. There were three horses, two dogs, two other cats and 24 chickens. That’s how Harry got used to having lots of company around. A few years later, Brody, Shannon and Harry moved to Ottawa to live near their close relatives, the Innes family.

There are so many ways to describe Harry, but these are the best. Harry thinks he’s human: he can ring doorbells, sneak into cars or suddenly appear from under your bedcovers. He always lets people pet him; more accurately, he chases them down the street until they pet him. Whether you believe it or not, Harry is famous. He’s the only cat to give and receive Christmas cards and he even has his own Instagram account (@fourthavenueHarry).

Harry has lots of nicknames like “Harry the Human,” “Harry the Stately Cat” and “Harry the English Gentleman.” Recently, I was talking to my good friend Ella Lambert when Harry walked up my front steps. Ella thought he looked like a tiger but I think he looks like Firestar, the Thunder Clan leader from Erin Hunter’s famous book series, Warriors.

Harry_the_Cat JAL_4216Like every cat, Harry has a negative side. As you know, he loves the outdoors but every day there’s a time when he has to come indoors. Let’s just say Harry doesn’t like that time. He can get quite grumpy and do strange things, like drag clothes from the upstairs wardrobes until he is fed. No matter what trouble Harry gets into, Brody and Shannon always shower him with love and affection.

So many things go into making our community great. Harry the neighbourhood cat is certainly one of them.

Sophie Innes is a Grade 5 student at Mutchmor Public School – another place where famous cats like to hang out. But that is another story.

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