A village is planning birthday celebrations to honour its most beloved resident – a ginger cat named Wilbur.
Widely known as the “King of Ruddington”, Wilbur is a fur-miliar sight as he saunters around the Nottinghamshire village getting food and affection from admirers.
Wilbur even has a Facebook page where his fans post photos of him.
His 10th birthday is set to be marked with parties at two of his favourite haunts – a pub and a building society.
Cathy Appelbee, Wilbur’s original owner, explained he “took umbrage, packed his bags and left home” about five years ago when she brought home a pair of rescue kittens.
“He took one look at them, his back went up and off he went, but now the village has embraced him because he’s such a friendly boy,” Ms Appelbee said.
She calls him “Six Dinner Sid” after the children’s story about a cat who has six meals a day from various owners.
“I do miss him a lot but it’s nice to see the community embracing him,” she said.
“One lady came down from West Yorkshire to visit her grandson and said ‘I’ve come to see Wilbur’.”
Ms Appelbee still takes Wilbur to the vets when he is not feline well – like when he had a bad tooth 18 months ago.
Wilbur’s first party will be at the Nottingham Building Society on 5 July and the second is a larger public party at the Frame Breakers pub on 14 July.
Lesley Harper, who works at the building society, said Wilbur insisted on “gourmet” cat food when he visited.
“He’s lovely and he comes in to us most days,” she said.
“Our customers come in to say hello and we have people that aren’t customers but they come in to see him and take photos.”
Wilbur’s Facebook page was set up by his publicity agent Nicola Burton.
“He’s literally part of the community,” said Mrs Burton.
“If you live in Ruddington you know who Wilbur is.”
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Mrs Burton said Wilbur regularly caused “chaos” as he nonchalantly wandered across the road.
“He literally stops traffic. I’ve seen him hold up traffic in four different directions as he goes over the crossroads,” she said.
“He goes in various shops and delis and all sorts. He’s got lots of different homes.”
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Like many celebrities Wilbur has licensed his own merchandise, which includes T-shirts and knitted Wilburs. People will be able to buy these, and cat-themed cocktails, when his birthday party is held at the pub on 14 July. So far, 70 people have expressed an interest in attending.
The party will raise money for defibrillators for the village and heart charities.
“We’re hoping that the main man himself will also put in a guest appearance,” said Mrs Burton.
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