Birmingham & Black Country

Pope-blessed Birmingham Oratory cat sent fan mail

Pushkin the Birmingham Oratory cat that was blessed by Pope Benedict XVI in September, pictured sitting on Father Anton Gusiel's knee
Image caption Pushkin was cuddled and blessed by the Pope during a state visit in September

A black cat that was blessed by the Pope during his UK state visit has been sent international fan mail, apparently from other felines.

Pushkin, a 10-year-old half Persian cross, belongs to Father Anton Gusiel and lives in Birmingham Oratory.

He met Pope Benedict XVI on 19 September when the pontiff visited the church founded by Cardinal John Henry Newman, who was beatified that day.

One letter from a cat praised Pushkin for getting past the Pope's security.

'Much comforted'

In the letter, written on behalf of the convent dwelling tom cat Ginger, it said he admired the way Pushkin had outwitted the Pope's bodyguards to gain an audience, which had set a precedent for all cats to be received by the pontiff.

Father Gusiel said: "We have also had some correspondence from Canada from a priest who had a cat called Pushkin. His cat sadly died.

"So he was very much comforted by hearing about the Pushkin story.

"To some extent he has rather stolen the show."

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