Martha Stewart: Living the Good Long Life With Pets

“He came to the side of my bed and he whined. And I took him downstairs and took him outside. And we walked around, looking for this full moon, which was almost discreet. And so he went pee. And we came back inside. And I went back up to bed. But I don’t mind doing it. It’s just part of my existence. And they make me happy.”

A Lifelong Passion

Growing up as one of six children in a house in Nutley, N.J., Stewart recalls only having two pets during her childhood. The first was a bird named Blackie. “It was a giant crow my brother had found wounded and brought back to health. And Blackie was a fabulous bird.”

Her other pet was Shiner, a Fox Terrier her father gave away because he didn’t fit in as a kid-friendly house pet.

“The last time I saw Shiner, he was chained to a dog house in not a very nice neighborhood. And I was extremely unhappy about it.”

Stewart says she vowed then that she would someday have her own animals. And just after she got married she adopted a cat, Chigi Toto, named after the pope from the Chigi family in Florence. This amazing cat retrieved items Stewart threw for him, and he even learned to answer the telephone.

“One day I called home to reach my housekeeper, and my cat knocked the receiver off the hook and meowed into the receiver,” Stewart says. “And he did that a lot. He thought he was a human.”

And Chigi Toto is only one of the amazing animals Stewart has shared her life with. Her Chow Ghenghis Khan won Best of Breed in 2012 at the 136th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. And her Frenchies, Francesca and Sharkey, share the spotlight, penning their own popular blog called “The Daily Wag” on Stewart’s website.

Naming her pets is an affectionate ritual. Stewart christens them with both formal names and nicknames. She’s had a slew of cats named for composers, including Beethoven, and many pets have enjoyed noble names, such as Empress Wu.

“The names just depend on my mood at the time,” Martha says.

For her Chows, she often selects nicknames with double sounds, because she says it’s fun. For example, Stewart’s longtime companion Kublai Khan was also called Paw Paw, named for his big paws.

Join the Conversation

Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!