His name is Cornelius Cornbread, and he’s one true Tennessee gentleman. He’s a black Bombay cat in Nashville who lives with Karen Mellette, a retired teacher. Cornelius also has a few siblings. It’s Cornelius that is the cat star of his family, however. He’s quite the popular cat on Instagram, and it’s due to his “sassy” white eyebrows. He’s had eyebrows since he was just a kitten. Karen notes that Cornelius doesn’t have has much fur between his ears and his eyes. The white eyebrows are actually his skin peeking through the black fur that he does have. What’s remarkable is that his white forehead marks are shaped in perfectly rounded eyebrows. His dapper appearance ranges from concern to sophistication-depending on what bowtie or other elegant apparel he’s wearing.
Cornelius was actually rescued along with several other cats. Tommy, Karen’s husband, found them in the trash. He brought Cornelius and the others home because they looked a lot like Inky. Inky was Karen’s cat who passed away due to what Karen referred to as “suspected cardiomyopathy”. Karen and Tommy named their newly-adopted threesome Cornbread, Beans, and Coleslaw. Of the three adoptees, Cornbread went straight to Karen and “let her hug him”, while Beans hid underneath the furniture. Eventually, Cornbread became the top cat in the house, and Karen remains closest to him. He eventually earned the full title “Cornelius Cornbread” as his Internet presence.
Lucky for Cornelius, Karen and Tommy have a passion for finding homes for feral cats. Tommy takes care of a feral cat colony which exists close to his work. Karen, Tommy, and a friend find homes for the feral cats. Karen and Tommy had already welcomed a family of feral cats into their home before Cornelius arrive. Sassy and her daughter Nellie, along with Polly and Patches, joined Bea and Inky and their Shih Tzu named Duke. When Cornelius joined the family, Karen was recovering from injuries to her tendons and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. She was on doctor-ordered bed rest following surgery and Cornelius kept her company; along with Bea and Duke.
Karen and Tommy had decided on “country dinner names” for the newly-adopted cats. They had planned to only adopt Beans, but his shyness was discouraging. Cornbread (aka Cornelius) came right to Karen, played and let her hold him right away. He “sealed the deal” for adopting all of the kittens, and continues as king of the hill. He likes to snuggle and curl up with Karen and has been Karen’s “little buddy” since the trio of kittens was adopted. It’s really because of Cornelius that the entire trio of kittens was brought home.
Cornelius is thought to have a form of hair loss called alopecia. Just like humans, cats can also have this condition, which is partial or complete loss of hair. In animals, it is most commonly caused by skin allergies. While some types of alopecia cause baldness by the ears, Sphinx cats have hereditary alopecia which leaves them completely hairless. Cornelius has a version called preauricular alopecia. This kind causes thinning hair between the eye and ears, and it is fairly common with cats. Alopecia can cause skin loss, redness, scabs, or bumps. It can also leave the skin looking completely normal. It can affect random areas on the cat’s body, or be seen in symmetrical patches. Cornelius just happens to have very evenly spaced patches in the shape of eyebrows. Lucky for him!
Cornelius Cornbread has been a popular feline ever since Karen started posting his photos online. He’s only four years old right now, but since his debut in 2018, he’s garnered more than 6,000 fans. Cornelius has his own Instagram and Twitter accounts. Due to his following, he’s also been the topic of several news articles.
Cornelius is true to his breed. His fur is completely black, right down to his paw pads. He has a sleek coat of fur is smooth and shiny and his eyes are bright yellow-orange ovals of inquisitive curiosity. Bombay cats were named for the port city in India, but they are actually a cross between the American Shorthair and sable Burmese. Cornelius is also very, very affectionate and clingy. This is true of many Bombay cats. So true, that owners have nicknamed them “Velcro cats”. Bombay cats are famous for their tendency to follow their owners constantly.
Cornelius has become the perfect, constant companion for Karen due to her health problems. She retired early from teaching and now spends her time mostly at home. Cornelius adores her and wants to be with her all the time. So much, that he is anxious every time she leaves him at home. Karen identifies him as a “highly intelligent” daredevil whose expectation is that he is to be the center of attention. When Karen and Tommy dare to give attention to another cat in the family, Cornelius always arrives to demand that he gets his share. Karen explains that he is “inquisitive, confident, and sassy” in his “unrelenting” bids for attention. But he is also very loving, too. He meows when Duke barks, he worries when Karen and Tommy worry, and he will sit with the other cats if they are “coughing up a furball”.
Cornelius goes by his nicknames when he’s not performing for the Internet. At home, Karen and Tommy call him “Cornbread, Corn, or Corny” which all suit his personality. He loves to have visitors come over. He likes to sit on their laps and really enjoys purring while they are there. He wants to jump onto their shoulders when he’s feeling particularly friendly. Karen and Tommy consider him to be “very vocal” because his meows change whenever he’s getting himself into trouble or into something in the house that he knows he shouldn’t be.
With all of his current popularity, Cornelius spends a lot of time dressing up for his public. He looks great in his bow ties, his neck ties, his hats and scarves, and even some Yoda-style capes. He’s certainly a fancy dresser! Following his photos is easy. Many find him at Cornelius Cornbread Chronicles on Facebook, in addition to his popular Instagram and Twitter accounts. Those in the know just call him Cornbread, by the way, and that’s fun, too.