Join our friendly cat community

‘Hi-de-Hi!’ star Ruth Madoc tells Your Cat all about her life with cats

‘Hi-de-Hi!’ star Ruth Madoc tells Your Cat all about her life with cats

‘Hi-de-Hi!’ star Ruth Madoc tells Jill Eckersley about her life with cats...

I’m not keen on posh cats. It’s moggies every time for me!” says actress Ruth Madoc. The next year looks to be a busy one for Ruth, as she is in a touring production of ‘The Wedding Singer’ for nine months.

She is well aware that most TV viewers will always associate her with Gladys Pugh, the part she made her own in the 1980s sitcom ‘Hi-de-Hi!’. When she spoke to us, she had just said her final farewell to one of the show’s creators, Jimmy Perry, whom she describes as “one of the great gentlemen of the profession”.

She says: “The part of Gladys opened up so many opportunities for me. As a working actress, I have to be away quite a lot, so although I love all animals, cats fit in with my lifestyle really well.”

Ruth lived with her grandparents as a child, where ‘Puss’ was always a big part of the family.

“She never seemed to have another name!” says Ruth. “Puss lived to be about 16 and then took herself off and passed away, as some cats do. Then, after I married, we had a house in north Cambridgeshire with about an acre of land.

“There were always cats around, as there often are in the country, to deal with the rats and mice. A friend gave me two cats and then, while I was filming ‘Hi-de-Hi!’, my husband discovered they had made a sort of nest behind the bar in our living room, and four kittens had appeared, two from each mum!

“One of the mums just upped and left, and to our surprise, our other cat took on the two extra kittens and fed them. We found homes for them — they were all black and white — and then had both mums neutered so there were no more surprises.”

Ruth currently lives in south Wales and says that in the last 18 months, cats have returned to her life: “There’s a field at the back of our house with horses, and we soon noticed at least four cats coming and going. We aren’t sure if they are truly feral, or they are strays.

“One kept coming up to our back door to be fed, and when the weather got colder, she started to come in. She was very nervous at first but gradually, she has learned to trust us. She is a very vocal cat, a tortoiseshell, so we have called her Minnie — Minnie the Moaner! We took her to the vet who told us she is about three years old. She wears a collar now and is microchipped so everyone can see she has a home.

“She is an extraordinary cat; I’ve never had one quite like her. In some ways, she is a bit like a dog. If I tell her to do something, she will do it — I can say ‘Go to bed, Minnie!’ and she will! She is quite nervous of people she doesn’t know. We wonder if she was ill-treated in the past, and we are thrilled she has now become a house cat and will sit beside us on the sofa and purr, which is lovely to hear.

“Minnie is definitely our cat now, but recently we have been seeing another, a little ginger. He hisses at us a bit but when the cold weather came, he was always around the back door, so of course we fed him and put a bed in an outhouse.

“I don’t want to end up as a mad cat lady with all the local cats moving in, though I have thought of getting another kitten to keep Minnie company. I had a neighbour once who had a magnificent pedigree cat she admitted she had paid £900 for, but for me, I would always prefer to give a good home to a stray or a rescue who needed one. It’s so rewarding to have Minnie snuggle up with me and know she’s now ours!”

This interview was published in the January 2017 issue of Your Cat Magazine.