Tributes have poured in from across the world after one of the cats at Linton Zoo died earlier this month.
Arnie – named after the action star Schwarzenegger – died on January 9.
He arrived at Linton Zoo as a stray cat in 2000, and was in many adorable pictures with lion cubs, eagle owlets and other animals.
His Facebook tribute page featured on news in the USA and globally.
Kim Simmons, from the zoo, said: “Never did we imagine when we posted a tribute to our dear old Arnie cat on the Linton zoo Facebook, that one little ginger moggy would touch the hearts of so many people across the world.
“We have been overwhelmed by the number of messages received over the last couple of weeks mainly via Facebook.
“From our Facebook tribute originally intended for the “Arnie fans” who have loved and known him from their visits to the zoo, or who have seen his pictures in the local and national press and TV over the years, the tribute has been posted on Facebook pages, websites across the world and even MSN United States.
“Some sites have told us the pictures and story of Arnie have had more shares, likes and comments than any of their other news items so much so that there has been requests for an ‘Arnie Encore’ which there will be in the next week or so, we are busy getting all his pictures and little stories together.
“So even in his passing Arnie has yet again put Cambridgeshire on the map.
“A huge thank you from all the family and staff at Linton Zoo for the many kind words and messages we have received.
“RIP Arnie cat.”
Linton Zoo’s Facebook tribute to Arnie read: “On the morning of Wednesday 9th January, after completing his staff greetings and doing his usual morning rounds to see his zoo friends, purring all the way, Arnie our Ginger Tom returned home for a spot of breakfast and then snuggled up on his bed and went to sleep.
There he passed away peacefully.
Arnie came to live with us in 2000, he was a stray who made an immediate impression on all of us.
Arnie had the most wonderful character, he quickly settled in with our two other zoo cats and was definitely here to stay. We believed he was a young adult at the time of his arrival.
Over the last year or so, Arnie had developed arthritis in his back legs along with other age related problems, for which he was receiving appropriate medical support.
Arnie (named after Arnold Schwarzenegger) had a full and quality life, his CV included:
- Welcoming committee for visitors and personal zoo guide to some specially selected individuals, to qualify for a guided tour you generally had to have a picnic although this wasn’t always necessary,
- Inspector of parked car bumpers (possibly checking for explosive devices planted under parked cars or that is what it looked like!),
- The chief keeper out of stray cats into the zoo and therefore protecting our big cats of nasty diseases,
- Zoo pest controller,
- the role of cheering up anyone feeling unwell, fed up or depressed.
But his most special job of all and one which he became very well known for, his photographs regularly making international news, was as the baby sitter of abandoned new born animals brought into the house for hand rearing (he would occasionally find his own baby rabbit or moorhen chick and bring it home for us too), his favourite was of course lion cubs.
Arnie baby sat all four of our adult lions when they were cubs and some of their offspring too, the last one he helped out with was Zara, first cub of Zuri and Safina.
A cat with an outstanding personality, Arnie was without a doubt a most extraordinary cat who had an extraordinary life, he will be missed by not only the people who knew and loved him, but by his many animal friends around the zoo too.”
For all the latest news see Thursday’s (February 7) Echo.