A Lucky Black Cat

Liz recalls meeting a very special guest on a visit to an iconic London hotel.

Having recently marked Black Cat Appreciation Day I thought I would introduce you to a very special black cat – Kaspar. This feline gent lives permanently in The Savoy hotel in London and is a very sociable type.

Whenever 13 diners sit down to eat, Kaspar is brought in to round up the numbers to 14, regarded as a much luckier number. As you can see from the photograph, Kaspar is ready to eat with his napkin in place. Mind you, they do say that the cutlery can be a problem.

Kaspar at the Savoy

He was a special guest at the recent National Cat Awards, not that he was needed in his official capacity, there were over 200 guests at that event. He sat and regarded proceedings from a lofty height.

But why is Kaspar in the hotel? In 1898 a South African, Woolf Joel, hosted a dinner at The Savoy for 14 guests but one cancelled. A superstitious guest declared the first person to leave the table would die. Woolf Joel left first and soon after was shot dead in Johannesburg.

From then on, The Savoy decided to provide an extra guest, usually a staff member, for every table of thirteen.  But guests felt there was a lack of privacy. Then Kaspar was created by architect Basil Ionides in 1926 and has dined in style ever since.

So if you suffer from triskaidekaphobia, why not bring a black cat into your home? Whether they join you at the dining table or not is entirely optional!


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Liz O’Rourke

Liz is part of our Features Team and her hobbies include knitting and crafts, reading and foreign travel which are also her main responsibilities on the “Friend”. If you walk into the office you will soon spot her desk, it’s the one piled high with knitwear and balls of yarn!