Where there’s barley, there’s mice. Introducing a fierce small feline or two to keep the population in check is a must!
Scottish distilleries and cats is a classic example of man and nature working in harmony. Love them or not, few would deny the significant role that cats have played in the history of Scotch whisky.
Over the years, most distillery cats have been happy to remain anonymous while keeping the rodent population down and in return they’d get the two things they love most – a warm place to sleep and a ready source of food – and the distillery gains a supremely effective rodent control system.
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But every now and then, one or two have emerged into the limelight to become characters in their own right, thanks to their impressive skills of mouse-hunting. Towser was one of them!
Towser was a Scottish long haired tortoiseshell cat who lived and worked for 24 years in the Glenturret Distillery, keeping the barely stores free of mice.
Although she was a kitten of the ’60s, she was not much into the ‘peace and love’ stuff – and she was still gamely terrorising mice until the very last day of her long life.
Towser killed nearly 30,000 mice at Glenturret distillery over a 24-year period, which means she must have killed three or four per day. That’s quite a vermin problem.
Towser’s longevity is attributed to the addition of a ‘wee dram’ of whiskey to her milk every night, probably not a form of treatment formally endorsed by veterinarians though!
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In the hall of fame of mouse-catching machines, Towser reigns supreme, and it’s all about her impressive numbers: 30,000 rodents down in almost a quarter of a century on duty at Glenturret.
In celebration of Towser, the distillery created Fairlie’s Light Highland Liqueur which featured Towser’s pawprints on the logo decorating the bottles.
Towser’s fame still lives on today where the people of Glenturret erected a bronze statue of her.
Even though Towser has had several successors, none of them have ever been able to match her mousing skills.
All photos are courtesy of Glenturret Distillery