As possibly everyone who’s ever met a cat will know, they’re impossible creatures to control. No matter how much you try to bribe them with treats or toys, cats always do as they please. However, we’re not sure if we’ve come across any kitty quite as stubborn as the Brockley Cat.
It all began in November 2015, when customers at one chain of the British supermarket Sainsbury’s noticed a very unusual shopper prowling the aisles. In particular, it appeared that a ginger tomcat had claimed the branch in Brockley, London, as his territory. He perched on shelves, wandered around and generally made himself at home.
And the cat’s presence in the store delighted a number of locals. Indeed, many of them flocked to Twitter to document any sightings of the feline using the hashtag #brockleycat. One video, captioned “just browsing,” documented the cat sauntering around the shop. Another user, meanwhile, uploaded an image of the cat on an empty shelf.
Customers said, however, that the cat was extremely friendly. And word of his stardom spread all around Brockley. “He was flat out on the mat yesterday by the door under the heated fans. Everyone was stopping to give him a tickle,” one woman would even post on a Faceook page dedicated to the local area.
And as he was clearly fond of his new hangout, it seemed that this kitty was going to have a fight on his paws. Store security declared war on the Brockley Cat, after deciding that he posed a health and safety risk. As a result, they tried to remove the mischievous feline – but he was having none of it.
In typical cat fashion, when security took him outside, he simply “sauntered straight back in,” according to Twitter user Jenny Stevens. The process was repeated numerous times, but the defiant animal simply refused to stay away. Then, he disappeared.
However, Brockley Cat wasn’t gone for long: after a few weeks of no sightings, he returned to the store. Of course, having risen to the status of a local celebrity, his return was confirmed on social media. “Spot the cat,” wrote Helen Galt in a photo update of the ginger kitty on a local Facebook page.
Indeed, the Facebook group had become somewhat of a fan page to the mysterious cat – in a range of posts he was duly described as the “star of Brockley.” One user even suggested that he should “be part of a Brockley tourist attraction.” Furthermore, thanks to his miserable-looking face, he was compared to another internet sensation: Grumpy Cat.
During his reappearances, however, the animal seemed to have gotten wiser about the store security guards. At least, he made it a point to stay out of reach. Later images showed Brockley Cat perched on top of a store freezer, gazing down at shoppers as they passed.
Meanwhile, Galt’s post sparked a great deal of conversation among the online community. One commenter revealed that she walked past the store on Christmas Day to find the poor kitty “outside looking really confused.” Another person, meanwhile, was able to identify the cat, shedding some light on why he seemed to love Sainsbury’s so much.
“Cat’s called Olly Oliver and he lives in the road next to [Sainsbury’s],” wrote Lucy Thompson. “He lives in the house next door and he’s in here every day, all the time,” Sainsbury’s confirmed. “He’s not allowed to be here, the staff like him, but he is a health and safety risk.”
And with all the attention his beloved pet was getting, Brockley Cat’s owner eventually came forward. His name is Adam Oliver and, according to his Twitter profile, he has many strings to his bow. “LSE behavioral economist, journal editor, very amateur photographer, keeper of animals, terrible player of the banjolele and I will have my vengeance,” reads his bio.
The cat, by the way, is actually called Olly, and owner Oliver blew his cover to reassure his pet’s fans that he wasn’t a stray. “Don’t worry. Not lost. He’s my cat,” he wrote on Twitter. “I’ve told the Sainsbury’s staff to throw him out if too pesky,” he added.
In fact, Oliver got the now handsome six-year-old Olly when the cat was only six weeks old. And it turns out that Olly has a brother named Stilton, though that cat is apparently less adventurous. Overall, though, Oliver is pretty bemused by his Olly’s sassy antics.
When asked if Olly had any other stores on his round, Oliver quipped, “Olly is always at Sainsbury’s – I don’t think he can fit any other shops in his schedule.” He also defended his kitty by claiming that his disgruntled expression was “just his face.”
But curiosity about the the cat didn’t end when the mystery of where he came from was solved. Encouragingly, Time Out London named Olly its “animal of the week” for being the most badass cat in town. With his free-spirited ways, Olly had captured the hearts of the nation.
And with fans going crazy for Olly-related updates, the cat now now has his own Twitter account to satisfy them. His feed contains frequent updates about his daily naps, his moments with his brother and, of course, his adventures in Sainsbury’s. One update shows him utterly unimpressed by his owner’s choice to shop at a rival supermarket.
Another post showed Olly patiently waiting for human intervention at the door of Sainsbury’s. “Unfortunately automatic doors don’t open to cats,” posted Marjo Anneli. “Never give up, never surrender,” an undefeated Olly replied.
Recently, a fellow celebrity even reached out to Olly via the internet. Using the hashtag #freakyfacts, Alice Cooper retweeted a meme about the ginger tom’s inexplicable obsession. Ever the cool cat, Olly tweeted back that “a superstar knows a superstar when he sees one.”
Indeed, Olly has already experienced the perils of fame; he can no longer go about his daily business without being accosted by fans. In October 2016, moreover, he even had to tell them, “Please don’t feed me. I’m getting fat.” However, Olly still keeps it real – stalking the shelves at Sainsbury’s, despite staff’s efforts to keep him out.