Charlie, our Magical Mr Mistoffelees

As regular readers know, we lost our little black Charlie recently. He was, like all cats, quite a character, bossy, affectionate on his own terms and, as one of the veterinary nurses once described him, sassy.

His background

Charlie, or to give him his full name. Wisecracks Dougie Howl Ette, actually had a pedigree. With a lot of Devon Rex in him, he was a smart, attention seeking cat who was both affectionate and the boss. He first lived in the Newtown suburb of Wellington, but fell out when his owner had a baby. So he walked 8km to find a new home in Northland. His lovely owners (who we met and kept in touch with) went on an extended trip to Europe, leaving him in a cattery he didn’t like. He fell out with them because of that. His constant fascination with Kelburn led him to spend a lot of time on this side of the valley, eventually deciding that we were the humans he wanted to live with and becoming head of the household. Below you can see his heritage and what I always thought would be a good passport photograph.

His hobbies

Charlie had a number of hobbies…which came and went according to the seasons. On cold winter days, he was quite content to watch videos for cats on YouTube, or take an interest in what we were watching, though he wasn’t sure to make of the photograph of himself! And no he wasn’t supposed to be on the table…….

He was a cat who loved an adventure. From spending a few days in Old St Paul’s church, to spending a holiday weekend in an Italian restaurant in Thorndon. to sleeping on a white wedding dress in a bridal shop and enjoying the old video rental shop in Kelburn village, he certainly got around. He was twice shut into neighbours’ houses for several days, and we once had to pick him up from the Massey University campus in Mount Cook (over an hour walk for a human).

The great outdoors

Charlie loved the outdoors. He loved the sun, as long as it wasn’t too hot. He loved to watch butterflies and bees, to sniff the air to sense who or what had been around, whether it would rain or if it was too windy.

His friends

Charlie had lots of friends, mostly human. Indie, pictured with Charlie below was a particular favourite cat friend. They could sit for up to two hours just watching each other, and even sleep in the same house (but in different rooms). Then of course there was, Bodie, a 10kg ginger car who used to live next door. It was fun to watch Charlie hiding and ambushing him, chasing from our garden at great speed.

Mostly though Charlie had lots of human friends. Here are some of them below. These are photos that have been sent to me of Charlie visiting and generally enjoying the company of people.

A photogenic cat – when he wanted to be.

Photos supplied by neighbours.

Saying goodbye

In recent months, Charlie had a number of high stress incidents from getting locked into someone’s house for two weeks, to getting badly bitten to receiving a scratch to his eye. He got used to his frequent visits to our wonderful vet’s practice, and in fact spent his last moments there after suffering a stroke, being looked after by people who loved and cared for him.

A big thank you to Kelburn Vets for looking after him and caring for him and our neighbour Zoe for always looking out for him and sharing so many photos of his ‘secret’ life.

Charlie 18.11.2007 – 28.02.23

Title of the post from TS Eliot Mr Mistoffelees from Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939).

Thistles and Kiwis is a Wellington, New Zealand based blog written by Barbara, who likes cats, summer, good food and pretends to garden.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram @thistlesandkiwis. If you want to get in touch, email me on or


  1. I so enjoyed reading this. As we would say in Maine, Charlie was some cat. My, he certainly made the rounds, didn’t he? Wonderful how so many people took him in and loved him. I agree with Gerrie. His life would make a great children’s book. Farewell, Charlie! You will be missed not only in your neighborhood but also around the world.

    Liked by 1 person

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