THE unofficial mascot of the Bendigo Cinema - now identified as Cheezel the cat - has taken the voluntary role of on-again off-again greeter for theatre goers.
The handsome ginger cat, pictured above at home, has been turning heads online - where he has gathered a substantial social media following of well wishers, admirers and people concerned for his welfare.
His story gained traction on the Bendigo Facebook group, after local photographer Jackson Whyte posted an image of then mysterious moggy on the cinema steps with the note of concern: "Someone's kitty is at the cinemas, if anyone has lost their cat, he's here."
A Bendigo family has come forward to share pictures of Cheezel at home, acknowledging he is a much loved seven-year-old cat who tends to wander.
"He is an indoor cat with two electrics blankets of his own," concerned owner Greg Byrne said.
"He has a cat door and he gets selfies with people. He just craves attention and he loves people. It's so hard to keep him in because he scratches at the door and meows to get out and carries on."
Mr Byrne said the cat was healthy and well loved but his personality caused him to be continually "rescued" and returned.
"I don't know what I'm going to do," Mr Byrne said.
"We are worried a cat-hater will get him."
Mr Byrne said he was somewhat comforted to learn that the cinema staff were taking an active interest in the well-being of his cat.
Cinema staff member Kelly Robson told the Bendigo Advertiser earlier this week that the ginger cat was a regular at the movie theatre and was very well liked by the people who worked there.
"He comes around," she said.
"It started on the weekends and we think his owner may come to see movies here. We think his name is Cheezel. People always give him pats and he is very friendly. He always puts a smile on your face."
Mr Byrne said he knew that the cat was adorable.
"People have taken him home. There have been three occasions where good Samaritans have taken him home. He has spent the night at their house. He has been picked up by BARC. He's just one of those cats," he said.
"People get funny about cats being out and say they are a danger to wildlife but he's never killed anything or done anything. We used to live at Garsed Street and he would go to The Marketplace (shopping centre) and would sometimes sit in front of the Baker's Delight."
Mr Byrne said Cheezel had been raised in the home since he was a kitten.
"My kids always had him in their laps and he's always been ultra-friendly. My son started working at KFC and Cheezel used to follow him to work and he would need to be shooed all the way home.
"He has one electric blanket on the couch and another one at the end of the bed. He is so looked after."
His addition to the newsfeed May 8 at 9.39pm, sitting outside near the steps leading to the theatre entrance garnered nearly 100 "care" and "like" badges and 57 comments.
It was not his first appearance on Facebook, with many others commenting they had seen posts about him before. He has received many glowing reviews of his personality.
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