A feline that roams New Zealand’s capital city and is welcomed into tattoo parlors, hairdressers and office towers has become a social media star, with 30,000 followers who track his every movement online.
Mittens first came to attention in 2018 after repeatedly wandering inner-city dwellings, including the university, post office and a Catholic church.
After repeated encounters with the cat, an Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) employee started a Facebook page, “The Wondrous Adventures of Mittens,” to reassure locals that the cat was not lost and did not need to be “rescued” — he was just adventurous.
The page now has 30,000 followers, with locals tracking Mittens’ daily activities around town.
A selfie with Mittens has become a bucket-list item for many Wellington residents.
Owner Silvio Bruinsma said that Mittens had similar venturesome habits when they lived together in Auckland, but Wellington’s compact inner city has now made him much easier to track.
Mittens’ brother, Latte, also a Turkish angora, does not share the intrepid streak and rarely ventures more than 20m from home, while Mittens can roam up to 2km.
“He has made Wellington his playground,” Bruinsma told the Dominion Post. “I suppose my philosophy is, he doesn’t like being locked up and I don’t want to give him a life that is miserable.”
Although there was some initial concern for Mittens’ apparently aimless wanderings, locals and visitors now actively go looking for the cat.
Sam Thacker, one of the administrators of the Facebook group and a SPCA employee, has known Mittens for years and describes him as “street smart.”
“Please don’t pick him up and bring him into the SPCA,” Thacker wrote on Facebook. “He has come in too many times with well meaning people. All this means is that his owner has to come and collect him off us! We have had him in with us recently and he is perfectly healthy.”
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