Papal blessing makes cat famous

Oct. 9, 2010 at 3:32 PM
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BIRMINGHAM, England, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Pushkin, the cat in residence at the Birmingham Oratory, has become a celebrity since Pope Benedict XVI blessed him on his trip to England.

The Rev. Anton Guziel, Pushkin's owner, told The Daily Telegraph the cat made himself hard to miss during the papal visit last month.

"As soon as the pope arrived the most terrible howling could be heard," Guziel said. "There was an awesome presence there and Pushkin wanted to acquaint himself with it."

After he prayed, the pope stopped for a chat with Pushkin, a black half-Persian, tickling his ears, telling him he is pretty and even shaking his paw, Guziel said. Several cardinals found the sight irresistible and took photographs.

Benedict visited the Oratory last month to honor Cardinal John Henry Newman, who lived at the Oratory Priests Home for almost 40 years before his death in 1890. The pope officially proclaimed Newman's beatification.

Guziel said Pushkin, who already exchanges Christmas cards with Princess Michael of Kent, has been getting a lot more mail in recent weeks.

"He had a letter from Canada from a priest who also had a cat called Pushkin who sadly died," he said. "Then he had a nice card with an embroidered cat on it from a lady, and mail from some cats who live in a Carmelite convent in Wolverhampton."

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