Cat crowned ‘King of Ruddington’ gets birthday party thrown by entire village

Partygoers will don feline fancy dress and sip cat-themed drinks to toast Wilbur’s 10th birthday (Picture: PA)

A village is coming together to throw a birthday party for its most beloved resident – a cat named Wilbur.

The ginger tabby was crowned ‘King of Ruddington’ by locals who are used to seeing him stroll in and out of his favourite pubs and shops.

Wilbur even has his own Facebook and Instagram pages where fans can post about him.

Those same admirers have now banded together to throw him a party for when he turns 10 next month on July 7.

Organisers have ordered masks with Wilbur’s face on and people attending the event are being encouraged to wear feline fancy dress while cat-themed drinks are expected to be on offer.

King Wilbur can regularly be seen wetting his whiskers in his favourite watering hole (Picture: PA)
The King of Ruddington mingles with his subjects in bars, shops and even the local building society (Picture: PA)
Such is his celebrity, villagers have banded together to throw him a birthday party for when he turns 10 next month (Picture: PA)

Sarah Godfrey, who is organising the party, said: ‘Wilbur is part of our lives, as he is everyone who lives in the village.’

His original owner, Cathy Applebee, said he decided to break out by himself a few years ago when she took in two rescue kittens.

To keep away from the newcomers, the ‘bold’ and ‘friendly’ Wilbur instead spends his time visiting various shops and businesses around the village.

‘He’ll just take himself in to any shop, anywhere,’ Ms Applebee said.

‘There was one time when the doctor’s receptionist came back and he was sitting on her chair.

‘When there was a gym in the village he’d go and someone sent me a picture of him on the equipment in the gym.’

She said the decision to throw Wilbur a party ‘is lovely because it means, especially now he’s got his Facebook page, I can see what he’s up to’.

Wilbur has his own Facebook and Instagram pages where admirers can post about him (Picture: PA)
Around 100 people have registered an interest in attending his party so far (Picture: PA)

His favourite haunts include a local hairdresser, two pubs and the Nottingham Building Society.

Lesley Harper, who works in the building society, said he has been a big hit with their customers.

‘He’s been a regular visitor for most of this year,’ she added.

‘He’s a very laidback chappie, happy for customers and villagers young and older to pop in and say hello.’

She also said he is a cat of expensive tastes who ‘likes his gourmet cat food’.

Around 100 people have so far registered their interest in the event held a week after Wilbur’s big day on July 14 but Ms Godfrey says she has no idea how many will attend.

‘I think people just love how weird it is,’ she said.

‘It could be a couple of hundred – it could be 10, but I doubt it.

‘I think it will be really weird in a good way.’

The event will also raise money for local charities.

It took a group of travellers just seconds to get onto the King George V Stadium as they simply removed the bollards from the ground that were installed to stop them. A group of travellers made their way onto the playing fields on Friday night, despite the council spending ?15,000 on 120 wooden and metal bollards to stop illegal encampments. The travellers have set up seven caravans around the play park at the stadium, and also have a number of cars and construction vehicles. It is understood that they have been offering to work on the driveways of a number of local residents. The majority of their vehicles have license plates from the Republic of Ireland.Travellers get through council’s £15,000 defence to protect field

While organisers are hopeful Wilbur will put in an appearance at a venue which is one of his two favoured pubs in the village along with the Red Lion, they will be at the mercy of an animal who marches to the beat of his own drum.

Nobody knows that better than Ms Applebee, who has had to come to terms with the new living arrangements since Wilbur left home nearly half a lifetime ago.

‘I was really sad because I love him so much,’ she said.

‘But ultimately he’s his own character and his own mind and as long as I know he’s OK, and he’s being fed.’

She added: ‘Obviously I still really care about him but a cat’s a cat. He’s always been a roamer.’

Cat Week

In honour of Catfest, we will be partnering with the festival to bring you seven days of the funniest, cutest, coolest and most amazing cat content.

Until Saturday 29 June, read stories about all things cats, including kittens abandoned on rubbish dumps to fantastic cat art, and everything in-between.

Catfest will include cat-themed literature and film plus live music, poetry and crafts. There will be rescue kittens, talks from cat experts, Instagram cats and an auction as well as cocktails, cake and much more. Tickets have sold out, but you can still get involved on social media.

Part of the proceeds from the event will benefit Erham Rescue and International Trash Cat & Dumpster Dogs to help cats and kittens as well as street animals in need.

Are you the owner of a fantastic cat? Then tweet us your cutest kitty pics @MetroUK and @MetroUK_Life for a chance to be featured!

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