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Patrick Roberts

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Working Felines: Shop & Store Cats 4

Socks the store cat, Bournville Garden Centre, near Birmingham, West Midlands


Bournville Garden Centre
West Midlands

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South of Birmingham, the UK's second city, lies the Bournville estate, set up originally in the early 1900s by the Cadbury family, of chocolate fame, for their workforce. Part of the estate was devoted to growing plants for the workers, and in more recent years that has evolved into the Bournville Garden Centre.

Shop cat Socks of the Bournville Garden Centre near Birmingham, UK Socks the store cat, Bournville Garden Centre, near Birmingham, 2013 A 'regular' at the centre for the past seven years (in 2013) has been Socks, a black-and-white female 'tuxedo' cat, who arrived as a stray and decided to stay. She's become a favourite with staff and many of the customers, with her favoured spot when she's on duty being at the till, keeping an eye on things. 'We have to work around her,' says manager Steve Palmer. 'She lies across the counter and you have to stack stuff around her, but she sits there nonchalantly. She absolutely thinks she's the boss!' She also enjoys wandering around among the plants — although staff try to keep her away from the catnip! — and she occasionally likes to walk across keyboards, which can cause chaos. Off-duty and sleeping time is spent in a cat bed in the back store-room.


Images courtesy of the Birmingham Mail.

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Our featured feline at the head of the page is Socks, pictured in 2003 surveying his 'estate' in the early morning sunshine. Affectionately known as Soxy, he blossomed from a thin and hungry stray into a substantial and handsome cat who loved life and company, and his gentle ways endeared him to many friends. He is now no longer with us, but you can read more from his human companion here.

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