He stands like a king. He sleeps on a throne, without a care. He lives in a beautiful historic home on Palace Avenue, surrounded by artworks and antiques. He eyes visitors imperiously. He is Angus the Cat, Ruler of Peyton Wright Gallery.
In 2013, Angus, a stray, was found by gallery owner John Schaefer near his home, north of Santa Fe. Schaefer already had cats at home, and there was no room for a large alpha male. Once Angus arrived at the gallery, though, he settled in quickly.
A gray tabby with a golden undercoat, white socks and a squeaky meow, Angus is also affectionately known as “Panzón,” painter Frida Kahlo’s affectionate name for artist-husband, Diego Rivera. It means “potbellied,” and the name is not inappropriate for Angus. Despite a rigorous diet, he remains “big-boned.”
Angus spends good-weather days lounging under the gallery’s rose bushes. He can also be found prowling the perimeter hunting birds and mice, which he is known to catch and bring into the gallery. He seems utterly at home at the gallery’s receptions, where he strolls confidently among the patrons’ feet, cheerfully accepting morsels of food.
The tabby’s “throne” is actually an eighteenth-century Peruvian viceregal chair that is covered in silver repoussé bearing the Habsburg crest and adorned with a red velvet seat. Angus is very conscientious about the fine objects around him and always treads carefully. Whenever a fine carpet is rolled out, he is the first to loll on it. Imperious nature aside, he is very friendly and always happy to share a chair with a human. Just don’t try to pick him up: he does not appreciate it.
Schaefer jokes that Angus doesn’t believe he’s a cat. When the Santa Fe Pet Parade used to travel down East Palace, he enjoyed sitting on his porch, observing with curiosity the creatures passing by.
Angus would very much like it if you stopped by to say hello.
Kevin Paul is a multimedia artist with a penchant for running trails. He is a long-time resident of Albuquerque’s South Valley, where he and his wife, Kayla, watch migrating birds and tend their garden and orchard. He has spent many years in and around the Santa Fe art scene.