It may sound strange that a world capital city like Wellington, New Zealand, might have a need for mittens. Well, that's not quite what I meant. It's not mittens, but Mittens -- a Turkish Angora cat that wanders the streets of the downtown area. He is not shy about visiting various homes, businesses, and other areas. He also enjoys the company of the people who frequent the area for work or play.
While Mittens is blessed with a name that is not exactly unique or exciting, he lives a life that is quite uncommon among felines. Despite his wanderings he is not a stray. He belongs to Silvio Buinsma and his wife, along with kitty brother, Latte. Latte did not inherit the same tendency to wanderlust that Mittens was blessed with. He prefers to stick much closer to home.
People have repeatedly mistaken him for being a stray, so he has made many needless trips to the SPCA and the police department. It was an employee, Sam Thacker, at the SPCA who started Mittens' Facebook page The Wondrous Adventures of Mittens. Mittens has accumulated more than 43,000 followers.
Mittens also has a page on Wikipedia. There is not a whole lot of information there, but it does list that he was born in 2010 and that his occupation is pet, local celebrity, and media personality.
Putting out this information lets people know that this wandering feline is not a stray and must not be taken to the SPCA or the police. They know him well. and Bruinsma has made many journeys to their facilities to pick him up . . . again.
Mittens is fed only at home so that he knows where his next meal is coming from. He gets regular veterinary check-ups every time he ends up at the SPCA. He is quite healthy and well-cared for.
He has been known to visit a wide variety of places and even curl up for naps there. These places include bars, a community law center, Victoria University, yoga classes, clothing stores, barber shops, massage therapists, book stores, tattoo parlors, strip clubs, the library, and the list goes on. He is very cautious about the streets and has been seen waiting for the the traffic lights to change before crossing.
At one bar he curled up on the counter and entertained himself by watching the humans drink. At 2 a.m. Buinsma got a call from the bar saying they were closing and they needed Mittens to go home.
He regularly goes to church, but not necessarily during services. He has been known to attend class at the university. People sometimes criticize Bruinsma for letting Mittens go walk about every day, but there are those of us who know that cats like this become miserable when kept at home.
My late cat, Naomi, was much like Mittens and owned my neighborhood, including walking in to any open door and waylaying people in the street to make friends. She also made friends with much of the local wildlife -- squirrels, deer, fox, skunks, and so on. The only animal that scared her were large dogs and mountain lions. She lived to be 20.
"My philosophy with cats is you can keep your cat inside but if you have a cat inside and they want to get outside then they're not really living a quality life." Bruinsma told the New Zealand Herald. I heartily agree. You can't measure all cats with the same ruler. They are like people that way.
Even though Mittens has been gaining a certain amount of internet fame no one seems to be trying to cash in on his exploits. They are just letting us enjoy him as he is. These days that is a wondrous thing.
Word about Mittens is getting around. People travel to Wellington just to see if they can meet "his floofiness." Tourists have traveled from around the world to see him. It has become "the" thing to do in Wellington to get a selfie taken with him. However with the "new world order" of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, Mittens may be a rather lonely cat right now.
Images via Facebook