Library cats are magical. I can attest to this.
I had a library cat who used to come and visit me and my colleagues at the library I worked at during the spring and summer 2015 and I can honestly say that it made my job the most enjoyable it’s ever been.
I’m a cat lover anyway, but colleagues who I work with who didn’t even like cats come to love Mushi Weasel (I’ll explain the name later).
Mushi first popped into the library as a young boy (we think we was around 10 months old), strolled in the front door, looked around the children’s library and then strolled out. I wasn’t there at the time, but apparently the public and staff thought it hilarious and just a one off.
Two days later he came back and again strolled around and left. After talking to some parents from the local junior school next door we became aware that he used to pop in the school playground after school almost every day to say hello to all the 7-11 year olds and have a belly rub! How unusual, we thought, this little ginger tom loves company. Secretly hoping that he would come visit again.
The next Tuesday he strolled in through the back and rather conveniently, the staff room. Len, the librarian who had been there the longest and always kept a stash of food, rushed to the fridge and held out a piece of cheese right under his pink little nose. He gulped in down and followed Len back to the fridge and a bond was forged.
Long story short, it got to the point where the little ginger tom we nicknamed Weasel, as he’d weaselled into all our hearts, was turning up every morning at we got in and left as we went home. Spending his day sleeping on the chairs, enjoying belly rubs, getting lots of food, greeting the customers and even helping us shelve the books. When we left at 6pm, he left too.
In the months he spent wiling away his days at the library a lady called Bobbi came into the library talking about her roguish cat that spend his days roaming the streets. I held my breath…when she told he he was a young tom and visited the school playground I knew it was the same cat. He was sleeping on the staffroom chair at that very moment. But we were feeding him morning, afternoon & evening! I knew he must possibly have an owner but not meeting them made the keeping him all the more special. Bobbi went to use a computer and I had to confess. I went over to her and ask her to come have a look at something I thought would interest her. I showed her to the sleeping cat and she burst out laughing!
“Don’t tell me he comes here too!”
” We feed him everyday” I said. “I hope that’s OK”.
“Of course! As long as I know he’s OK. He always come home in the evenings.”
Phew! So for a couple more months Mushi (we found out his read name from Bobbi) was lavished in affection from the library staff, the children in the playground, the children that visited the library and all the library regulars. He was bought gifts, food, toys and even a little scarf! And it become normal for him to fall asleep at my desk while I was working and stroking him.
But then, all of a sudden, he didn’t turn up.
He just wasn’t there, waiting outside the door, one morning. And as we waited for him to turn up later he didn’t come. He wasn’t there the next day, or the next.
We were all a little concerned but thought maybe he had found a new fun place to hang out and even though we were a little jealous, just hoped he was having fun.
It was only when we heard that Bobbi hadn’t seen him either we started to worry. She was posting messages around the village asking if anyone had seen him and then after a week of searching someone found him.
He had been hit by a car and broken him leg. Bobbi got him the treatment he needed but then had to move. Mushi Weasel never came to the library again.
While this is sad in some ways; he’s in fit health now, thank goodness, and probably living it up in his new home. Myself and the other staff look on the months he spent with us fondly and feel very lucky he was there to make that time special. We even get people coming in now, over a year later, asking about the ‘library cat’ and saying how much of a friendly creature he was and how every library should have one. I agree wholeheartedly and only hope we can have another experience as special as that one.
Thanks for reading!