ST. PETERSBURG, April 9. /TASS/. Cats’ Republic, a famous St. Petersburg "cat cafe" is encouraging its furry inhabitants to work from home, launching an online video service where cat-lovers can watch these feline antics live since the cafe is closed due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. The cafe’s press service announced this new avenue of interacting with the cats and supporting the cafe on Thursday.
"The cat would do its job (run on a wheel, play, jump, count, take a lovely nap, meow loudly and so on), while you watch the animal live at a stipulated time on our website or during a live feed," the press service informed, adding that the cats would be paid for their efforts in the form of online donations.
Cats’ Republic published the CVs of about 20 felines describing their skills and abilities on its VK page. For example, Maru, a Hermitage cat, can solve math problems by ringing a bell with his face or paw. Moydodyr, a Sphynx cat, can spin a wheel, while Hemingway, a Maine Coon, can "recline royally," and Murzik, a Munchkin, can pose for photographs. In May, the cafe will select the hardest-working feline employee.
The cafe recapped that all cats are up for adoption. "Self-isolation is a perfect time to invite a cat to your home. You can get used to each other faster and become friends. All our cats have a veterinary passport and a "dowry." Besides, there is a probationary period for all felines," the press service stated, adding that they are ready to welcome the cats back if necessary.
Cats have been living in the Hermitage, originally a tsar’s palace, since the 18th century after Empress Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter the Great, the tsar who founded the city, issued an order to bring mice-catching cats from the city of Kazan, famous for its rat hunters at that time.
Now, from 50 to 70 rat-catching cats roam the Hermitage’s basement and they also appear on the neighboring embankment and square. Their population is regulated to avoid territorial disputes. In recent years, the cats of the Hermitage have become a popular tourist attraction in the city.
The city has even established a special holiday - Day of the Hermitage Cat. Apart from that, it offers a tourist trail, Cats of St. Petersburg. In 2015, the British press put the Hermitage Museum’s cats on the list of the world’s most unusual tourist attractions. One of the Hermitage cats, its white-furred Achilles, was an official oracle of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.