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Gourmet cat may taste West End fame

Tuesday November 3rd 2015

A cat who had expensive taste in food could become immortalised in a popular, long-running West End stage show.

This follows a meeting 51 years ago between Cumberleylaude and the writer T.S. Eliot, whose Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats inspired the Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical Cats.

Cumberleylaude's existence has been unearthed following the discovery of a long-forgotten Eliot poem dedicated to him. The poem tells of the so-called gourmet cat's liking for duck, salmon and lavish French wines.

The work was found among some private correspondence between the writer and his friend Anthony Laude. Then 75, Eliot thanks Laude for a dinner he had organised at his Cambridge home in the summer of 1964.

The poet makes particular mention of Cumberleylaude, saying how Eliot enjoyed meeting him. He calls the cat a "fastidious eater" but "beautiful" and "dignified".

Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Cats' creator, has reportedly hinted that Cumberleylaude could feature in any forthcoming revivals. Laude died 12 years ago but the letter and poem were then found inside a book and sold by a friend on eBay three years later for around £900.

Copyright Press Association 2015