Benedict XVI: A look back at the cat-loving pope’s favorite feline friends


Chico was a red tabby cat who belonged to the Ratzinger’s neighbors in Pentling, Bavaria, immortalized in the illustrated e-book, “Joseph and Chico: The Lifetime of Pope Benedict XVI as Advised By a Cat.” 

“Chico was a big reddish cat with a great deal of character,” Perego, the writer of the children’s e book, informed CNA. She reported that she was impressed to generate the e-book even though researching Benedict’s early life in Bavaria and conference Chico, whom the worldwide press have been now referring to as “his cat.”

In the e book, Chico the cat narrates the lifetime of Joseph Ratzinger from his childhood in Germany to his election as the 265th Roman pontiff. Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the pope’s private secretary, wrote in the book’s introduction: “The pope also loves cats and all animals for the reason that they are creatures of God.”

Chico, who was now entirely grown at the time of Benedict’s election as pope, died in the fall of 2012, according to Perego.


In the course of Benedict XVI’s apostolic journey to the United Kingdom in 2010, he visited the Birmingham Oratory proven by St. John Henry Newman. 

At the oratory, the pope encountered an unanticipated pal — a fluffy black cat named Pushkin. The oratory cat wore a ribbon with the papal colours, yellow and white, all over his neck for the situation. 

Journalists snapped photos as Pope Benedict stroked the cat’s chin and ears. He stated: “Aren’t you rather? What is his identify? How aged is he?”

Pushkin, who was 10 several years aged at the time, went on to stay a different 8 several years and even penned his very own memoir, “Pushkin the Pontifical Puss: Tails of an Oratory Cat,” which also information the time he fulfilled Princess Michael of Kent.

Contessina and Zorro

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Soon after Benedict XVI retired to Mater Ecclesiae Monastery inside the partitions of Vatican City State, he ongoing to greet some of the cats who lived in the Vatican gardens. Two of the Vaticats in certain made an effect.

“Contessa and Zorro, two cats that are living in our gardens, occur typically to say howdy to the pope emeritus,” Gänswein advised the Italian magazine BenEssere on March 25, 2016.

At a time when the pope emeritus was mostly concealed away from the planet, a photo of Benedict holding the tiny grey and white cat named Zorro caught the world’s notice.

Contessa, also known by the diminutive, Contessina, was a black and white kitten who was also photographed alongside the pope in the course of his yrs of retirement residing in Vatican City’s walls.

As Catholics bear in mind Benedict XVI forward of his funeral this 7 days, some have discovered approaches to honor the late pope, as nicely as his really like of cats.

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