Queen perform Bohemian Rhapsody at Live Aid in 1985
He wrote: “Freddie treated the cats like his own children. He would constantly fuss over them, and if any of them came to any harm when Freddie was away, heaven help us.
“During the day, the cats had the run of the house and grounds, and at night, one of us would round them up and bring them inside.”
Jim took the last known photographs of Freddie, days before his death, in his garden – with one of the cats, of course, by his side.
READ MORE: The Beatles song that secretly featured Rolling Stones member on sax
Freddie Mercury loved his cats deeply
Freddie Mercury last ever picture in his garden with cat Oscar
Freddie Mercury with his cat Oscar
The star’s live-in PA and friend Peter Freestone said: “Oscar was the first cat at Garden Lodge. He was a big ginger Tom. He ruled the roost.
“Until when Fred died, he just left. He left the house. He didn’t want to stay there anymore. He found another owner.
“Freddie used to say, ‘You own dogs, cats own you.’ I think that was one of the reasons he loved cats. Freddie liked their temperament.”
Inside the house, however, Delilah was “the princess” who Freddie always turned to, right up to the very end.
Jim said: “One of his final actions was stroking her fur.”
Freddie Mercury with Jim Hutton and one of his cats
Peter added: “She was a..hmmm.. I think the word is spoiled. She got everything she wanted. On the last tour, I was at home. Every two or three days he would ring and he would want to talk to a cat. You pick her up, put her under your arm, put the speaker down by her mouth and squeeze (to make her miaow). And then he could say he had spoken to Delilah and he was really happy.”
Elvis Presley fan on meeting The King inside Graceland before he died (REPORT)
Freddie Mercury last days: Mary Austin describes their devotion (INTERVIEW)
Freddie Mercury: The FINAL woman in his life ‘They were in love’ (INSIGHT)
Over the years Freddie had ten cats: Dorothy, Tiffany, Tom, Jerry, Delilah, Goliath, Lily, Miko, Oscar and Romeo, the last six of whom outlived their owner.
He shared Tom and Jerry with Mary, who also later gave him Tiffany, the only thoroughbred cat he ever had. The others were rescued from shelters “To save their lives.”
Freddie commissioned artist Ann Ortman to paint all his cats over the years, but only one famously had a song named after and written for her.
Freddie Mercury cat waistcoat: These Are The Days of our Lives video
“And then you make me slightly mad, When you pee all over my Chippendale suite.”
Peter put the record straight about the song: “In the dining room, one wall was windows, floor to ceiling, and he had these amazing racing green satin curtains that would cover the whole wall and (there was) a series of golden arches along the bottom where Delilah had peed.
“She was allowed. He would do anything for all of his cats. He just loved cats.”
Queen Innuendo album; Freddie with cats
In the artwork for the album Innuendo, the Queen frontman is depicted with three cats wrapped around his head and neck.
And for his final video shoot for the These Are the Days of Our Lives, he wore his favourite waistcoat, a 1990 Christmas gift which was screen-printed with his cats.
Freddie Mercury life and death
Eventually, in later years, Freddie also had a loving relationship with Joe Fanelli (who also lived at Garden Lodge until the end) and then Jim Hutton.
The Queen singer also provocatively proclaimed: “If I go first, I’m going to leave everything to her (Mary). Nobody else gets a penny, except my cats.”
In the end he left Mary his house, fortune and half his future Queen earnings. The other half went to his parents and sister, with £500,000 bequeathed to Jim, Joe and Peter.
The cats remained at Garden Lodge (except Oscar) and Delilah was often spotted up on the garden wall.
IN TEN PICTURES: FREDDIE MERCURY, IS ON BBC 2 TONIGHT AT 9PM