Many residents in Wellington, New Zealand, know Mittens, the cat, an outgoing ginger Turkish Angora who is always exploring. Mittens, now 11-years-old, is always on the go, showing up in all kinds of places:
- Wellington restaurants
- The library
- Open cars and homes
- The Salvation Army
- A salsa bar
- A strip joint
- Tattoo parlors
- Victoria University
Who knows where “Wellington’s fluffiest and friendliest,” will show up next?
Since he was a wee kitten, Mittens has lived with his guardian (as he likes to be called) Silvio Bruinsma, an accountant, and his family. It was he who convinced his wife to adopt the kitten.
Early on in Auckland, the kitten was fond of meeting new people with an unusually gregarious personality. Then, the family moved to the city, which allowed Mittens many more opportunities.
“[Mittens] goes wherever he wants. He approaches people and people love that. He puts a smile on people’s faces,” said Mr. Bruinsma.
All over Wellington, people started sharing stories of the nomadic friendly feline. From there, they began sharing pictures of Mitten’s daily adventures online. Bruinsma told the Dominion Post that Mittens had made the city his playground and didn’t want to change his stripes.
“I suppose my philosophy is, he doesn’t like being locked up and I don’t want to give him a life that is miserable,” he said.
Although many cats could get into trouble, Mittens is “street smart” around busy roads, even stopping for traffic lights.
When asked what the oddest place Mittens has ventured, Bruinsma had salacious details:
“The oddest place he’s been to is a strip joint,” he said. “And he actually lost his collar there.”
Below, see just a few examples of Mitten’s daily adventures.
The Wondrous Adventures of Mittens
After repeated encounters with Mittens, the Wellington SPCA set up a Facebook page called “The Wondrous Adventures of Mittens.” That way, people who found Mittens could post about him there. Meanwhile, others would know he wasn’t lost. His active lifestyle is just part of his typical daily routine. Today, the page has over 69K members.
Rules for the group have included:
- Do not tell Mittens to go home
- No speculating or asking where Mittens is
- No discussing Mittens being picked up
After finding out about the page, Bruinsma couldn’t believe it when he saw just how active Mittens had been.
“I knew he was wandering around, I just didn’t know it was getting so documented online,” said Silvio Bruinsma.
On an average day, he would go just about anywhere, ready to interact with everyone he met along the way.
“Cuba street, he used to hang around at Glassons a bit, the Salvation Army store, the church down the road, he likes,” he explained.
Before long, he became a local legend who would eventually become an international cat celebrity. At home, he shares some cuddly time with his brother Latte, who isn’t nearly so adventurous we hear.
Mittens, His Royal Floofiness
Now, Mittens has a royal title, His Royal Floofiness, reports New Zealand’s 1 News. Every day, he goes out to greet his loyal subjects in his kingdom, the Capital of the nation.
Also, he earned himself his own Wikipedia page, which lists his occupation as “local celebrity” and “media personality.”
In 2020, Wellington’s mayor gave Mittens the key to the city and was a candidate for New Zealander of the Year. Another contender included the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, and health officials handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In the end, a Māori advocate and actor of 40 years, Jennifer Ward-Lealand, beat out the cat by a whisker.
See Mittens below from the Hallmark Channel:
Owing to his well-established international celebrity, Mittens started appearing on all kinds of merchandise. Plus, he’s inspired a hit music video single and his own museum exhibit called “Floofy and Famous.” During the 2020 pandemic lockdown, the exhibit helped raise funds for the SPCA.
See the video from Angel Star:
The Adventures of Mittens Picture Book
Most recently, New Zealand’s 1 News reports that Mittens will now appear in his very own picture book.
His guardian Silvio Bruinsma wrote “The Adventures of Mittens, Wellington’s Famous Purr-sonality.”
“I thought it was a nice way to capture some of stories and the adventures he’s had and also, really, for my kids,” Bruinsma said.
Get your mitts on 'The Adventures of Mittens' by Silvio Bruinsma! 😻 😻 😻
— Wellington Museum (@WgtnMuseum) August 17, 2021
Inside, the rhyming book features work by the award-winning illustrator Phoebe Morris, who once met Mittens at a book shop. Later, the cat decided to jump into her car’s back seat, she said.
“There was a later time where he actually got into my car, which sounds really bad but I didn’t invite him into my car — he just jumped straight in the back seat and into the boot.”
And, Morris has the photo to prove it. (See below)
Morris, who is allergic to cats, says she had to take antihistamines. However, she purrservered, and now the beautiful Mittens memoir will benefit charities like the SPCA.
Featured image: Screenshot via 1 News New Zealand
See the video from 1 News New Zealand: