Britain has its own celebrity railway station cat and her name is Felix. Felix is female despite the name. She has a book: Felix the Railway Cat, written by Kate Moore and published by Penguin. It has raised more than £70,000 for prostate Cancer UK. Every copy sold at Waterstones in Huddersfield is personally signed by Felix with her paw print. The book is in The Sunday Times bestseller list after being released in hardback in February.
The beginnings were inauspicious. Station management had no idea that Felix would turn out to be such a massive success. Andy Croughan, is the TransPennine Express Station Manager at Huddersfield. His colleague, Gareth hope, suggested in 2008 that they acquire a railway station cat. Andy’s initial reaction was to laugh and he would have been more disbelieving if he had been told that Huddersfield’s railway station cat would become famous with her own television programme, stage appearances and a Facebook page with 122,000 followers.
Such is her international stardom, that fans come to see her from as far away as China, Japan and Australia. Incidentally, you may wonder why she has the name “Felix”. They named her before they discovered that she was female.
Felix arrived as an eight-week-old kitten in July 2011 at Huddersfield station. She was initially listed as a pest controller but has risen way beyond that lowly work status. She is now a star attraction. The success of the book is probably due to the fact that even cat haters will probably find something interesting and amusing in it and that is saying something.
Felix receives postcards and presents from across the world on her birthday (I think her birthday was in June 2010). She has a current and a not too uncommon problem: unwelcome weight gain. She is a little bit overweight partly because being so popular fans surreptitiously give her cat treats. This lead to signs being put up to politely ask commuters not to feed her.
Unfortunately for Felix there are other temptations because Huddersfield is a station where you will find a lot more than trains and platforms. There are artisan stallholders at a market in or around the station. They sell food and there are two pubs on site as well. There is also a garden at the station which is tended by volunteers and which hosts poetry and art exhibitions. Felix can burn off some calories by patrolling these areas.
Felix as her own high visibility senior pest controller jacket. In the pipeline is a possible film which would be extraordinary.
There is a railway station cat in Japan who is also famous. Railway station cats are a great asset because they bring in commuters. They are good for business.
Source: The Times Sat 2nd Sept 2017. Book review by Sharon Smith.