Living & Loving Museum Life

It’s not unusual for guests exploring the Kruger Road Toy and Prepare Museum in West Virginia to imagine they’re a cute, fuzzy, toy cat once they see Lavatory 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, Lavatory, who is not any stuffed toy.

This 12 months, Lavatory celebrates his tenth birthday and tenth anniversary on the 25-year-old museum.

Changing into Lavatory

Lavatory discovered the museum by way of serendipity as a stray kitten in 2013. The furry little man, then about 4 to five months outdated, sneaked into and stowed away in a van that belonged to the filming crew of Captain Z & the Terror of Leviathan, an indie comedy-horror film that was shot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 operating 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 perhaps 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 will you not?” says Becky Gerlak, IT supervisor on the museum.

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A customer favourite

Lavatory — named after legendary Twentieth-century American toy maker Louis Marx and Firm, the maker of the large robotic referred to as Massive Lavatory — lives and sleeps on the museum, and workers members all pitch in to deal with him. Museum guests are often delighted to come across the kitty, who has developed a fan following. Lavatory has his personal Fb web page referred to as “Lavatory Accepted,” and the museum will seemingly 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 Lavatory, after which try the museum’s assortment of classic toys, together with dolls, collectible figurines, automobiles, robots and video games. Becky recollects just a few years in the past, when a tour bus en route from Los Angeles to New York Metropolis with about 35 folks on board stopped on the museum as a result of somebody needed to fulfill Lavatory.

Proper at house

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

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

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

Melanie “Mel” Larch, a giant fan of Lavatory’s and an everyday customer, remembers looking the museum’s present store at some point and operating into Lavatory there. She sat down on the ground, and Lavatory climbed into her lap and sat along 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 terrific attraction for the museum — a terrific ambassador, if you’ll.”

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