Cat Fights City Councilman For Territory In Local Library

Libraries: you either love them, or you don’t remember the last time you were made to set foot in one. For some, they have a reputation as dull, dusty, places, full of broken books that nobody wants to read — but one Texas city found a way to make their library the talk of the town!

When a cat was added to the facility’s staff, kids and adults alike couldn’t resist spending a few extra minutes in the book stacks. But after a few complaints, the town’s city council was forced to take a vote that determined the fate of the cat and the library’s heart and soul…

Meet Browser, a Tabby who was a library cat ever since he was young. His whole life, people considered him a mascot, an attraction, and a friend, but in 2016, all of that nearly changed.

His home was the public library in a small town outside of Fort Worth, Texas, called White Settlement. Staff and volunteers took turns caring for the cat, but he was pretty independent for the most part.

Browser was actually adopted from a shelter by the library when he was still just a kitten as a cheap resolution to a rodent problem, and ever since then, he certainly earned his keep…

Some of Browser’s hobbies included napping in the staff’s chairs, warming up on laptops when people are trying to work, and “attending” GED classes twice a week — he learned so much that he earned an honorary diploma!

While many adults enjoyed his presence as well, it was the kids who made up most of Browser’s fan base. They loved to give him a little pat when they came in. Some said he was their favorite part of their library visits.

On top of that, he inspired many kids to read, not just by making the library feel more fun, but also by listening enthusiastically when they took turns reading all sorts of books to him (mostly cat-related ones).

“He’s just like part of the family, you know?” a volunteer said. “People come in looking for the cat. They want to see him and they want to pet him. And he’s the most gentle cat I’ve ever seen — he wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Best of all, the library didn’t even need to spend any government money on Browser because the staff sold calendars of him every year. Who wouldn’t want this handsome guy on their wall?

Well, back in 2016, there was talk within the city council to have Browser removed indefinitely from the only home he had ever known.

It all started when an unnamed man wanted to bring his dog to work at City Hall but was refused entry with his pet. He felt there was a double standard with Browser and petitioned to have all animals banned from public buildings.

Additionally, concerns were raised about allergies. At that point, nobody had ever complained about suffering the side effects of the feline presence, but the issue was taken quite seriously.

City Councilman Elzie Clements campaigned avidly against Browser and voted to have him removed. “I know I’m coming up for re-election in November, and I probably just doomed my fate,” he said. The crowd laughed.

Public opinion aside, the council of White Settlement held a vote on Browser. The first council member voted for eviction. The second voted to let him stay. The third vote would make or break things for Browser.

White Settlement Public Library

Council member three voted to give Browser the boot! With a 2-1 vote against the cat, Browser was given a 30-day notice to leave the premises. “He’s just a precious cat,” another volunteer said. “And that is his home. It seems very, very cruel to remove him from it, after all these years.”

As it turned out, more than just a few people felt this way. When Browser’s story was shared online, it started an international outrage, with fans from all over the world begging the city to #SaveBrowser in the battle of Cat vs. Councilman

“Browser belongs to the community and we’re responsible for him,” Mayor Ron White said. “What kind of example for the citizens of White Settlement are we setting if after five years we no longer want Browser?”

“We don’t feel like that’s right,” one of the librarians said, even though she wasn’t worried about finding Browser a new home. “We don’t feel like it’s good for the cat. We don’t feel like it’s good for the community.” 

After an enormous amount of backlash, including angry phone calls and pleading letters, the city council members reconvened to once again discuss the fate of the beloved cat.

And they made the right decision! Browser was re-instated, and by November, White Settlement’s residents read some pretty shocking news in the local paper: Elzie Clements had lost his reelection for City Council. Perhaps his 9 lives were finally used up.

Now Browser is purring loudly in every corner of the library, happy to be back with the children and all the volunteers. Weirdly, he’s not alone in his interest for non-profit properties.

In Japan’s Hiroshima Prefecture, the Onomichi City Museum of Art has become the apple of a few cats’ eyes. Surrounded by the region’s signature cherry blossoms, it showcases artwork that highlights the natural beauty of Japan. And cats.

Nippon

Painters Wasaku Kobayashi and Wada Eisaku naturalist styles have drawn thousands to the small gallery. But even for all its popularity, it was one famous artist’s work that really put the museum on the map… 

Wikimedia Commons / Galerie Nichido

Mitsuaki Iwagō is renowned for his wildlife photography. So when the celebrated cameraman announced he’d be opening an exhibit at the Onomichi, the art world flocked to see his latest masterpiece firsthand.

Matsuzakaya

The collection was titled Cats, and, unsurprisingly, the photos depicted the candid moments of furry felines all over Japan. It was an immediate success, but no one expected a museum visitor would wind up being the biggest draw!

Juxtapoz

On a summer’s day in 2016, the security guard stationed at the door of the Onomichi was greeted by an unusual visitor: a black cat. Since the museum was located in the heart of a park, the guard assumed the little guy was simply a curious stray.

bijutsu1 / Twitter

But when a guest triggered the building’s sliding doors, the seemingly innocent cat attempted to dash inside behind them! The guard was amused, but since the museum had a strict no-pet policy, he plopped him back outside.

bijutsu1 / Twitter

But this particular furball would not be deterred. The very next day, as he completed his daily rounds, the security guard discovered the cat waiting outside the sliding doors once again.

The Siver Post

“I’m guessing that [the cat] spotted some of the exhibits through the glass, and since the photos included those of black cats, he must have thought he had found a new friend,” said the museum’s curator, Shinji Umebayashi. “And then he just kept coming back.”

Life With Cats

Puzzled by their unusual guest, museum staff did some digging and discovered that the cat – named Ken-chan – belonged to the owner of a nearby restaurant. Ken-chan began returning to the gallery almost every single day.

bijutsu1 / Twitter

The cat would show up at the front door, attempt to enter, and quickly be placed right back outside. Staff and visitors alike marveled at the playful routine, baffled by Ken-chan’s determination to enter the museum.

NITOOS

Word began to spread of this adorable game of cat-and-mouse between Ken-chan and the Onomichi security guard, and pretty soon crowds gathered just to see the resilient cat’s efforts. Nothing was working! So it was time for Ken-chan to get creative…

bijutsu1 / Twitter

The next time Ken-chan showed up, the staff was surprised to find he’d brought a friend. The orange tabby was another local cat, and it appeared Ken-chan convinced him that, when it came to getting into the museum, two heads were better than one.

bijutsu1 / Twitter

Just like Ken-chan, the orange cat began returning almost daily, both alone and with his buddy at his side. And though the staff took to him as they had Ken-chan, their newest feline friend – whom they dubbed “Go-chan” – was also denied entry into the gallery.

NZ Herald

The story of these cats and their efforts soon became a viral sensation. Some online users implored the Onomichi to let the cats inside, while the vast majority of others were content to tune into the museum’s regular updates on the dynamic duo.

NZ Herald

Since then, the popularity of the two cats has grown to become so great that the Onomichi has put out a line of souvenirs in honor of their unofficial mascots. Ken-chan and Go-chan have even inspired artwork of their own!

Even after years of futile attempts, both cats continue to return day after day, likely hoping that their newfound fame – and adorable looks – will earn them entrance. Until that happens, they’re content to enjoy the museum’s grounds. 

bijutsu1 / Twitter

“The museum is in a park, so there’s no traffic to worry about,” said Umebayashi. “[The cats] treat the park like it’s their own garden.” However, the pair might have to take a day off from their mission for one very special purpose…

bijutsu1 / Twitter

Earlier this year, officials from the Russian resort community of Zelenogradsk invited Ken-chan, Go-chan, and the Onomichi staff to be their guests at an upcoming cat-centric holiday celebration. This seemed like the perfect place for the felines to take a well-deserved vacation.

Russian Voyages

While it’s unlikely that the Onomichi will break policy even for their most honored “guests,” the story of Ken-chan and Go-chan will continue to delight animal lovers for years to come. And besides: why pay to see a few photographs when the real stars are waiting just outside?

bijutsu1 / Twitter

Can’t get enough of this adorable duo? We can’t blame you for that in the least. Check out this video to see more of Ken-chan’s and Go-chan’s adorable feline antics!

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