There really was a Richard Whittington, who served as the lord mayor of London in the early 1400s. He was real, but the cat legends connected with him probably aren’t. According to the stories, Dick was a poor country boy hoping to make a fortune in London. He worked for a merchant who was sending a ship to Morocco, and Dick offered his cat to the ship. Morocco was besieged by mice, and since Dick’s cat became the country’s savior, the king of Morocco paid Dick an exorbitant price for the mouser. Dick built his fortune on this and became a man of substance. Naturally he came, in time, to get his cat back.