Spanning the globe for feline news … takes us to White Settlement, Texas, for a report on Browser, a domestic shorthair who makes his home at the library. The City Council voted to evict the local celebrity in 30 days, citing concerns about patrons’ potential allergies. Townspeople leaped to his defense. From The Guardian of London:
“A woman spoke about the history of cats in libraries. A man mentioned WebMD statistics on the low prevalence of cat allergies. Others talked about how the cat brought children into the library to read. A little boy was sad he had only been able to pet the cat once. … After the meeting, more than 700 people signed a library petition in favor of Browser staying. Nearly 12,000 signed a Change.org petition pleading the same cause. A Facebook page in support of Browser had over 2,000 likes; the library’s page was littered with comments from supporters around the world.”
White Settlement Mayor Ron White reported more than 1,200 messages of support from every corner of the U.S. as well as England, Germany, Australia and Guam (“where America’s day begins”).
So the City Council backed down, in a special meeting broadcast on Periscope, handled by a reporter from the local ABC affiliate. Browser will continue to make his home in the library, which sought his services in 2010 to fix a rodent problem. Before that he was in the animal shelter; obviously he was in no danger of going back, because many families were eager to be owned by him.
The story took a couple of weeks to play out. Browser didn’t seem disturbed by the attention and continued to make his rounds, visiting with children. I doubt he’ll run for Council because celebrities don’t need that noise.
I close with a note about the distinctly non-PC name of the city, a suburb of Fort Worth. There were originally two settlements in the area, one predominantly white and the other Indian. In 2005, city leaders proposed changing the name to West Settlement and put it on the November ballot. Voters crushed the measure 2,388 to 219. Don’t mess with Texas.