ESSEX, UK – The owner of a cat has taken to social media to explain to concerned shoppers just why his pet has made a shopping outlet her second home.
Gracie, who is 10 years old, walks half a mile from her home to Freeport Braintree, Essex, every day from 09:00 until it closes.
Her owner Lee Johnston said that he created a Facebook page after receiving several calls a day from worried shoppers.
“She’s savvy with cars. This is what she’s always done, and she’s always come out unscathed,” he said.
Mr Johnston said spreading the word about Gracie’s shopping habit has been a “battle at the start”, but the Facebook page seemed to have “sorted it out”.
“Once I explain how she loves Freeport, people accept it. I have to convince them that’s just what she does,” he said.
Gracie, who was once a rescue from a centre in Witham, was originally from Wembley according to her microchip – and no-one is quite sure just how she traveled the 60 miles in between.
“We think she likes people and shops because she was brought up in the city,” Mr Johnston said.
“She likes to pop into a shop, have a look around, go in another, maybe have a sleep.”
“She likes sitting in people’s laps, a bit of company. She goes in dressing rooms.”
Mr Johnston also stated if shops did not appreciate her company they “kicked her out”, but she had been made welcome in most stores.
Freeport’s manager Josef O’Sullivan said Gracie had become a “very popular visitor” at the centre since moving to Braintree just 10 months ago.
“Gracie has become a frequent visitor to Freeport Braintree and almost treats the centre as her second home,” he said.
“[She] has become quite the ‘celebrity’ amongst our retailers and visitors. If only cats could spend money…”
Photos: Lee Johnstone │ Source