Meet MewPaul, the adventurous cat who's a regular at the pub
Ever met a famous cat who enjoys loud music and going to the pub?
Introducing one-year-old MewPaul.
This Bengal-tabby cross was adopted by Mike Ransom, 35, in May 2021, when she was just an eight-week-old kitten.
Ever since, she has become something of a local celebrity in her hometown of Hull, East Yorkshire, while her owner, Mike is now known as the ‘cat man’.
MewPaul has become a regular at her local pub and takes trains and buses to explore new towns – all the while perching on her owner’s shoulder.
Mike, who is a carer, jokes that his cat – whose name is inspired by the popular TV series Ru Paul’s Drag Race – is ‘more dog than a dog’ and her favourite bars, where she enjoys people watching, exploring and napping, are owned by the BrewDog chain.
This all began when Mike’s music obsessed cat leapt onto his shoulder at the front door to their house and ‘demanded’ to go out.
‘I was heading out to the shops and she jumped up and meowed in my ear, like she was saying, “I have an idea”,’ Mike said.
‘I had no idea if she would like it, but I bought a lead for her and it was like she just knew what to do.
‘She sits on my shoulder and just watches the world around her or wanders around, meeting people and exploring.
‘She’s known in most of the pubs and bars near us now and is treated like a celebrity.’
Despite being a ‘dog person’, in 2020 Mike decided to begin his search for a friendly feline to join him and his now ex-girlfriend in their one-bed flat in Hull.
‘I was furloughed from work in 2020 because I was a carer and the person I looked after was shielding, so we were just stuck inside watching Netflix,’ he said.
‘I’d never wanted a cat before but one of our friends had got one during lockdown and out of the blue, I decided I wanted one.’
During lockdown the number of people adopting or buying new pets dramatically rose as more people spent time at home.
After searching on Gumtree and local shelters Mike had no luck in finding the right cat and eventually he gave up on the idea.
That was until fate brought him and MewPaul together.
Months later in April 2021, Mike’s manager at work sent him the details for a kitten she had heard needed a home. It was love at first sight for the pair.
‘I knew I wanted her straight away,’ Mike said.
‘We had to wait a few weeks before she was old enough to leave her mum and then one day, I got the text to come and collect her from the pub around the corner from work.’
Meeting at The Grandale pub in Hull – which would soon become one of MewPaul’s regular haunts – Mike arrived carrying a cage and ready to take her home.
The energetic and confident little puss settled into the family fast.
While ordinary cat toys bored MewPaul – always acting uninterested and confused when presented with various games – she loved watching the TV and being around Mike.
‘On the second night, she curled up on my knee and from that point, I was the person she wanted to be with,’ he said.
‘We decided her name before we even got her. We were watching RuPaul’s Drag Race one evening and I thought, “That’s it, I’ve got the pun, and whatever cat we get, that will be the name”.
‘We didn’t know if it would fit, but as it turned out, she was such a diva, it was perfect.’
Before Mike took MewPaul on her first trip in the great outdoors, in June 2021, he bought a cat lead, moggie backpack and harness so she was fully-equipped and safe to leave the comfort of the flat.
After an initial five-minute trot around the flat with MewPaul on his shoulder, Mike prepared her for her first trip to some nearby playing fields in the backpack – without success.
‘She was meowing and squealing in the backpack, so I thought, “This isn’t working, she obviously hates it”,’ he said.
‘But it turned out it wasn’t the outside she disliked, she just didn’t like not being able to see everything.
‘I then tried to take her out on my shoulder with the lead to the park near my home and she loved it.’
Since then MewPaul has been excited to explore the world with her human accomplice and enjoys going on walks at least three days a week.
‘It is easier taking her out than some of the dogs I have had,’ Mike added.
And Mike doesn’t need to worry about her getting into any fisticuffs with other animals in the park.
‘She will sit on my shoulder and just watch the pigeons fly over – she never runs off or chases them,’ he said.
‘She quite likes dogs, too – they don’t know what to make of her, but she doesn’t mind them.
‘She is more of a dog than a dog.’
After exploring local spaces in Hull, Mike decided to head further afield – taking MewPaul on an 80 minute train ride into York in January 2022.
‘I was so surprised she wasn’t scared of the train because of all the noise, but she had a little nosey around when it set off and then settled for a sleep,’ he added.
Once they arrived in York, MewPaul was having the time of her life.
‘When we were walking through town, she was instantly drawn to every shop with loud music,’ Mike said.
‘We were then walking past a pub and I thought, “We can try the outdoor area and see how she gets on” but she was desperate to go inside and say hello to everyone.
‘She wandered around, gave my pint a sniff, but she preferred her cat treats.’
After such success with the first pub in York, the duo began to tick off their local pubs in Hull together on Mike’s days off and evenings.
Her favourite joint is now the BrewDog that they explored on a trip to Leeds in July 2021.
‘The staff did have a little chuckle that she was a cat in a BrewDog,’ he said. ‘She is now known as the “BrewCat” in the Hull BrewDog.’
And MewPaul has also earnt her owner a nickname. ‘I’m totally known as the ‘cat guy’ now,’ Mike said. ‘I have met so many people and made friends because of MewPaul.
‘She is a total diva and a proper social butterfly.’
After being constantly asked by strangers if MewPaul had an Instagram, Mike set up an account for her in June 2021, which is now almost at 2,000 followers.
‘She is like a local celebrity,’ he said. ‘She gets recognised in the street.’
MewPaul is also a seasoned traveller by bus and train now, packing light with just a portable water bowl and her Dreamies cat treats.
‘She loves the train,’ Mike said. ‘She wears her little t-shirt and harness and her Instagram account is written on the backpack, too.
‘I never imagined I would become the man who walks his cat.
‘I used to see people do this and think it was funny. I never thought I’d be one of them.’
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