A stray cat found a perfect job at a Co Down pet store and became so popular that it took over their Instagram account.
The wild red tom arrives at 8:30 a.m. daily and joins Deputy Manager Alex Livingston for a cup of tea and paperwork before the store’s doors open to the public.
And now Alex is so in love with the kitten that he turned down the opportunity for a new job because he wants to be close to Tiddles to make sure he looks fed, safe and warm.
Tiddles’ role in dealing with customers at Jollyes Banbridge is to spend the day testing cat beds, munching on treats and enjoying the adoration of the customers he inspects at various places at the top of the shelves.
Incredibly, Alex fell in love with Tiddles so much that he even turned down a job transfer to another store because he couldn’t leave the cat behind – and apparently the feeling is mutual.
Tiddles is so stuck on Alex that he mopes and mops if Alex takes a day off, which prompted him to find ingenious ways to keep the kitten calm and happy at Jollye’s, Banbridge.
Alex, 44, born in Glasgow, said: âThey turn on the radio and make sure it’s tuned to Clyde FM, which I listen to in the morning.
âWhen I was on leave one day, the guys at work called me to say Tiddles was really in a bad mood, maybe he was pining and not himself. I thought it was probably there. first time his routine with me was changed, so I suggested they turn on the radio so he could hear the Scottish accents.
âIt seemed to do the trick and he immediately settled in and took a nap at the desk before starting his working day in the store.
âThere has been a real transformation in him since he showed up at the door about three years ago, skinny, hungry and in need of help.
âWe think maybe it came from a hoarding situation and when the animal welfare team went to help Tiddles escaped and found us and now he’s a permanent fixture in the store. We just love it. It is good for staff morale and our customers love it too, many of them just come to see it when they are shopping.
But even with his name and warm surroundings during the day, Tiddles at heart is a wild prowler, and he leaves the store at night when Alex returns home.
He said, âHe won’t stay inside when the shutters are down. I always give him chicken before I say goodbye for the evening, then he leaves and I drive back to Lurgan and worry about him until I see him the next day. We have a shelter for him but we believe he is going to an abandoned building nearby. Guess he’s on the hunt and he’s just a wild cat.
âThere were a few mornings when I came to work where he didn’t arrive on time and my heart sank – but he arrived later. I had considered bringing him home, but he’s a little wild for that – and he would be home alone, while he’s there all day with us, warm, loved and safe.
âBut as we all know, a free meal doesn’t exist, so Tiddles has become an honorary member of staff fulfilling a number of roles including product testing, customer service, inventory and the supervisor of the business. social distancing.
âAt first we were a little worried about having Tiddles in the store, especially since we have a range of birds on sale, but he’s great with them and instead he keeps them to make sure. that they are fine.
âWhen we have visitors from head office, we call Tiddles who are leading our VIPs around the store – it’s quite a spectacle. I think he actually knows everything we’re saying. Now that he has taken over our Instagram account, we don’t know what the next step will be.
âPeople tell me he’s the cat version of Greyfriars Bobby and he’s definitely Tiddles is a staunch friend.
âBefore the lockdown I was a little freaked out trying to figure out how I could take care of Tiddles if we weren’t allowed to work – and I was just about to buy some food and bedding and all kinds for him.
âI live 10 miles from our store, so I was hoping to bring a few people closer to keep an eye on him. Luckily, although we were included on the essential retailer list and all 67 Jollyes stores across the country remained open during locking.
âAnd yes, we really relied on this red tabby cat to help us and our customers through the good days and the bad. “