THERE is a well known saying that cats have nine lives.

But the proverb said nothing about them having only one name.

Moggy-mad solicitor James Mather is taking advantage of some legal wording in the law by changing his pet’s name by deed poll.

James, from Flint, took six-year-old cat Jack into his care after he was found abandoned and emaciated in Brymbo.

Determined to give him a fresh start, and making the most of his legal know-how, James opted to rename his new pet Sweep.

Sweep will act as company for his owner’s other cats Sooty, seven, Smudge, eight, and a 25-year-old African parrot called Moses.

James said: “I do love cats. I’ve had them as pets for 25 years and I find them fascinating and wonderful company.

“I have a friend who works at a local vets who rang one day to say they had found a stray nearby. He was starving and probably close to visiting the big cattery in the sky.

“After a fortnight’s expert veterinary care he was able to walk, albeit shakily, and keep his food down.

“I couldn’t help myself. I had to have him. He has got the longest tail I have ever seen and he is eating me out of house and home but I don’t mind.”

He added: “I thought ‘new life, new name’ and decided to change his name by deed poll. You can’t have Sooty without Sweep so that’s what I went for.”

James, 59, has been a partner at Berkson Wallace Solicitors in Ellesmere Port for 10 years. He says the beauty of cats is their independence and company.

“I live on my own so with cats I never come home to an empty house,” he said.

“Dogs have owners but cats have staff. They don’t live with me, I live with them. If my cat was lying down on the sofa I wouldn’t dare move it. They are kings. Stroking a cat is the closest you get to feeling the power of a lion.”

James ensured Jack performed all of the steps to make the legal process watertight, including the ‘signing’ of deed poll paperwork – with a pawprint.

He added: “There is nothing in statute that says it is just human beings who can change their name. If the cat comes into the office he can make his pawprint on the deeds then it would be perfectly legal. My colleagues think I am a nutcase.”

And how has Sweep been readjusting to his new name?

“He still ignores me when I call him,” said James.