From taking up residence in supermarkets to making a hospital their second home, some cats will go pretty much wherever they want.
Some just crave companionship and attention, says feline biologist and behaviorist Roger Tabor, but “most cats don’t” and “these are the weirdos.”
Is it possible to “supervise” a cat in such situations?
The ginger cat Garfield and the black cat Lupine became famous at Sainsbury’s in Ely, Cambridgeshire, and Aldi in Haverhill, Suffolk.
Garfield – ‘Mr Sainsbury’s’ – amassed thousands of social media followers before his death in 2019, and Lupin’s Aldi antics prompted dozens of people to photograph the cat.
Cat expert Roger Tabor, from Brightlingsea in Essex, says the reason they chose supermarkets is because ‘both of these cats are very social animals, which doesn’t happen unless they are socialized with people very early on. “.
“They’re not only very relaxed, but they seem to thrive where it’s warm and attract attention.”
A bronze memorial to Garfield is planned for a park near Sainsbury’s in Ely after supporters donated to a crowdfunder.
Meanwhile, Lupine’s owner admits that she has “went down the path of shame” several times, retrieving her cat from the store.
Mr. Tabor says cats that seek out other people “are a large minority.”
“They’re not intimidated, or wary, and they make friends right away, but throughout the story it’s that wariness that generally keeps you safe.”
The hospital cat
Cats in a clinical setting are probably not ideal, but for more than five years, fluffy ginger cat Henry has been a regular visitor to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, with over 5,000 followers on his Facebook page.
Although he has a comfortable home nearby, the seven-year-old has made the hospital his second home, despite being put out whenever he is seen patrolling the corridors.
Addenbrooke’s bosses continue to embrace Henry as one of their own and acknowledge that the cat “seems to have found a place in the hearts of many of our employees and patients” — but they’re thrilled he’s not encouraged inside.
“In any hospital, administrators will think about allergies, but on the other hand there’s the consideration of how popular Henry is and in times of stress, cats are really stress relievers,” says Tabor.
“Sure, you can try to supervise a cat, but in an environment with revolving or open doors, it’s very difficult. It’s a real dilemma.”
The hospital recognizes that Henry seems determined to stay.
“We are all very fond of Henry, but his affection for us sometimes becomes a problem when he enters the food hall,” says a spokesperson.
“Even though it’s Christmas, please don’t be tempted to treat Henry.”
Speaking of Henry, Lupine and Garfield, Mr. Tabor says, “Most cats don’t do these things. These are the quirks of the cat world.”
Why choose crowded supermarkets or hospitals?
“They’ll get the attention they thrive on,” she says.
“The positive reinforcement they get from meeting people outweighs the negatives of being constantly put off.”
The cat thief
Theo is a 13-year-old Siamese crossbreed who has been terrorizing parts of Ipswich with his thieving ways and embarrassing his owners for years.
He is a cat burglar, a kleptomaniac kitty who seemingly cannot be reformed.
Theo has been known to break into neighbors’ houses through open windows or cat flaps and take home any treasures he can find, from soft toys to money and Christmas decorations.
“Cat burglars like Theo are rare, but they make the news,” says Tabor.
“With cats like this, the normal pattern of development in the first few weeks hasn’t occurred and while he wants to hunt and retrieve things, he has become fixated on toys he considers prey.
“From the cat’s point of view, he’s not a thief, he’s just acting normal.”
Theo shows no signs of mending his criminal ways.
“At the moment he likes to visit my neighbor and steal his cats’ Kevin the Carrot soft toys,” says Ms. Drouet.
“We talked to Theo about his theft, but I don’t think even he knows why he does it.
“He definitely has a shifty edge about him — maybe his father came from the wrong side of the tracks and is genetic.”
Mr Tabor adds: ‘To put a positive spin on this, the owners have perhaps come off quite well. I’m sure Theo’s neighbors find him quite delightful, and he is definitely better than some of the other things cats catch and bring. home.”
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