Purring Gray Tabby Wins Heart of Small Town

Amazing “tail” of Thomas, stray cat turned celebrity.


(Julia Khvoshch / Shutterstock.com)

Thomas Stuart can’t represent you in court but he will scare away any mouse that comes your way. Although he spends his time at a law firm, he doesn’t have a degree, bank account or opposable thumbs. As you may have guessed, Thomas Stuart isn’t a lawyer or even a person for that matter! He is a gray tabby cat that lives along Main Street in the small town of Stuart, Virginia.

Attorney Chris Corbett’s law practice first spotted Thomas a year ago. They would leave food out for him at the back entrance, until Thomas wisely figured out that they also had a front door. Thomas would meow and put his paws up on the door until they let him into the office. One day, he showed up with a bad abscess, which was most likely the result of a fight with another cat. Corbett took him to the vet and at the same time, also got him neutered. At night, Thomas sleeps in the hallway outside the upstairs apartment of one of the firm’s assistants, Erica Cipko.

In addition to his legal “work,” Thomas also likes to practice self-care. He comes to the Divine Designs hair salon almost daily. According to salon owner Teresa Jones, “He’s just such a baby. He lays in the window on a blanket sometimes, and sometimes lays in clients’ laps … or a dryer chair.” Thomas took the “treat yourself” attitude almost too literally, and began to get pretty fat. As Corbett said, “[Thomas] is so appealing and has such an air of familiarity and savoir faire about him that people just naturally want to feed him.” 

Thomas is a family man (or cat in this case). Last summer, Thomas brought another cat named Tiny and three small kittens to the office. Two of the kittens, Oswald and Gizmo, still live with Thomas and Tiny. Out of all of the cats, Thomas is a celebrity in his own right. Jones stated, “I even have clients come by just to see him. They’ll call and say, ‘I’m in town. Is Thomas there?’”

Thomas has essentially become the small town’s mascot. Businesses post pictures of him if he visits their establishments and he even has his own Facebook page. Most notably, Cindy Hollingsworth of Ridgeway wrote a children’s book about him titled Thomas Stuart: Town Cat. Hollingsworth noted, “Thomas has a very interesting spirit about him, and he just is very much a part of a town.”

In our “new normal,” it is uplifting to lighten the mood in the workplace – and pets are perfect for inviting a smile. PR consultant Travis Claytor has a concept that will cheer up any virtual meeting or gathering; you can invite one of his farm animals to be an attendee. With Cece the Pig, Toby the horse or any of the other farm animals (and fish) on a video call, the mood is fun and employees are happy.

Cats are known to raise our spirits and reduce anxiety. And so our purring friend, Thomas Stuart, gives joy to everyone he meets. Cuddling Thomas can brighten anyone’s day, so if you ever find yourself in Stuart, Virginia, be on the lookout for a gray tabby surrounded by his adoring fans.

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