Living & Loving Museum Life

It’s not unusual for guests exploring the Kruger Avenue Toy and Prepare Museum in West Virginia to imagine they’re taking a look at a cute, fuzzy, toy cat once they see Bathroom sleeping or sitting nonetheless among the many classic playthings. However then, the kitty strikes and … shock! They’ve met the museum’s beloved resident cat, Bathroom, who isn’t any stuffed toy.

This yr, Bathroom celebrates his tenth birthday and tenth anniversary on the 25-year-old museum.

Turning into Bathroom

Bathroom discovered the museum via serendipity as a stray kitten in 2013. The furry little man, then about 4 to five months previous, sneaked into and stowed away in a van that belonged to the filming crew of Captain Z & the Terror of Leviathan, an indie comedy-horror film that was shot within the Wheeling space, the place the museum is positioned.

On the second day of filming, the kitten got here working from one of many autos within the car parking zone, trotted up the steps to the museum and made himself at house. A supervisor tried to search out the kitty an adopter for possibly an hour, however staffers knew they had been goners. They agreed: The kitten had a house already, proper there on the museum.

“All of us fell in love. How are you going to not?” says Becky Gerlak, IT supervisor on the museum.

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A customer favourite

Bathroom — named after legendary Twentieth-century American toy maker Louis Marx and Firm, the maker of the large robotic referred to as Large Bathroom — lives and sleeps on the museum, and employees members all pitch in to handle him. Museum guests are normally delighted to come across the kitty, who has developed a fan following. Bathroom has his personal Fb web page referred to as “Bathroom Accredited,” and the museum will probably add a web page devoted to the cat to its web site (toy, Becky says.

Many individuals come from close to and
far primarily to see Bathroom, after which try the museum’s assortment of classic toys, together with dolls, collectible figurines, vehicles, robots and video games. Becky recollects a couple of years in the past, when a tour bus en route from Los Angeles to New York Metropolis with about 35 individuals on board stopped on the museum as a result of somebody needed to fulfill Bathroom.

Proper at house

Bathroom is pleasant and loving to friends, and he usually likes to be petted however not picked up, Becky says. Bathroom generally follows individuals across the museum, and also you by no means know the place you’ll stumble upon him. Some followers ship Bathroom presents of catnip toys and different goodies. Throughout my go to, Bathroom was lounging on the large staircase and watching over the foyer.

Having a cat provides the museum — which even has a claw merchandising machine within the foyer stuffed with plush toys referred to as “Bathroom’s Loot” — a hotter, fuzzier and extra homey and alluring really feel, Becky says.

“Individuals say that he’s lovely,” she says. “Lots of people say that he seems like their cat. … They see Bathroom, and it makes them really feel extra at house as a result of they keep in mind their cat.”

Melanie “Mel” Larch, an enormous fan of Bathroom’s and an everyday customer, remembers looking the museum’s present store someday and working into Bathroom there. She sat down on the ground, and Bathroom climbed into her lap and sat together with her for a number of minutes.

“He’s only a actually candy cat,” says Mel, who travels to the museum from West Virginia. “He’s a fantastic attraction for the museum — a fantastic ambassador, if you’ll.”

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