Meet Oliver – the new feline celebrity in Bexhill On Sea

In the picturesque coastal town of Bexhill, a feline ambassador has quietly woven their way into the fabric of the community, capturing the hearts of residents and business owners alike. This charming four-legged explorer, known simply as “Oliver” has taken it upon themselves to embark on a remarkable journey, strolling through the streets with an air of curiosity and a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. Oliver’s daily routine involves venturing into the local shops, leaving a trail of joy and enchantment in his wake. His presence has become a delightful constant, transforming ordinary errands into delightful encounters and highlighting the beauty of unexpected connections in this quaint seaside town.

Oliver the new feline celebrity in Bexhill On Sea
Kirsty with mini Oliver

 

After discovering his fame through a facebook group set up by his owner Kirsty Bayliss, aptly named Oliver’s Adventures, which has over 2,000 members, I asked Kirsty if I could do a feature on him and was really pleased she came back with a positive response.

He is adored by the local community and I am sure many will be curious to find out more about Oliver and when/how it all started.

He turned 10 recently on the 18th June so what better way to say happy birthday to this remarkable chappy than his life in print now.

 

 

 

Thanks for doing this interview Kirsty. How old was Oliver when you got him and what’s his background?

Oliver was only 5 weeks old when he came into my life.  A friend of mine was going to collect a kitten and explained that if the rest of the litter didn’t go soon they would be thrown out. The mum cat had belonged to the ‘ex wife’ and the man who had the kittens wanted nothing to do with them. When I got to the house Oliver was the last one left and the only ginger cat. My family has always had ginger cats so it was fate.

Can you describe Oliver’s personality and has he always been the way he is?

I would describe Oliver as a free spirit. He was always been a wanderer but in the last 5 years it has progressed a lot.

Has Oliver always been an outdoor cat and does he have a garden and hang around much outside his own home?

Oliver has always needed outdoor space, I did once live in a first floor flat with him and he really didn’t enjoy being an indoor cat. He lives with my Nan and she has a fairly large garden, which he does enjoy, WHEN he is home and he loves to climb the trees and chase the birds.

Does he currently live with children and what do they feel about Oliver’s adventures?

Oliver doesn’t live with any children. However, as he lives with my nan, she is visited by her other grandchildren and my son. The cousins also love Oliver and love to hear about his antics.

Oliver the new feline celebrity in Bexhill On Sea
Oliver resting

So… what are Olivers likes?

Oliver isn’t fussy, he likes most things & people. I would say he’s more of a man’s cat, which is funny coming from a family of women. Snacks wise, he loves a cat treat or a bit of tuna.
And dislikes?
He dislikes being stuck in doors. He had an operation a couple of years ago and had to stay in which drove him crazy.

We know Oliver loves people but does he have any local feline friends and what’s he generally like with other cats?

I have only known Oliver to play nicely with one other cat and that was a long time ago. These days he is a lone wolf and only really likes people as friends.

When did you realise Oliver was visiting local shops?

I had been tagged in a Facebook post about Oliver visiting a shop at the end of the road we lived in. This became more frequent as time went on.

Does he also visit neighbours homes?

Yes. I had also been notified on Facebook about Oliver visiting/staying in neighbours houses. I’ve had to collect him a few times.

Oliver the new feline celebrity in Bexhill On Sea
Oliver as a kitten

Has there been any particular shops that didn’t like Olivers visits or has the feedback been 100% positive all of the time?

I’ve only had a couple of occasions where he wasn’t welcomed. Once due to a member of staff being frightened of cats, which of course I collected him straight away, and the second was the local Wetherspoons. I believe he was kicked out and banned for life.

I know he’s become a bit of a star locally. When did you decide he needed his own social media page?

I had been living with my nan with Oliver for a few years. When I finally decided to move I felt it would be best to keep Oliver there as he loved the area and people loved him. I made the Facebook page to make it easier for people to contact me if I needed to collect him.

How does he react when he’s collected and taken out of a shop?

That’s depends. When he’s been far from home he’s been pleased to see me but when it’s a bit closer he can get cross with me. If it’s walking distance he will always follow me back and if we’ve had to pick him up in the car 9 times outta 10 he’ll happily get in himself.

What’s his favourite shops to hang out in?

This does vary. At the moment it’s the One Stop Shop but he is also known in a local tea shop, called Tea Four Two, where they have a seat reserved for him. He previously loved a bike shop until the owner adopted a puppy.

Oliver the new feline celebrity in Bexhill On Sea
Olivers reserved seat in Tea Four Two
Oliver the new feline celebrity in Bexhill On Sea
Oliver in the bike shop before the puppy arrived!

What kind of feedback do you get from local shops? Are the owners always posting up and encouraging him or is it mainly the customers?

The amount of love we have had for Oliver has been amazing, I know he is a kind and gentle cat and this really warms people. He does not shy away from a cuddle and I know a few people have taken to this well. He has a packet of treats in most shops he visits, and even an employee badge in one!

Oliver the new feline celebrity in Bexhill On Sea
Olivers badge from the One Stop shop

How far away from his home are the shops Oliver visits and does he have to navigate any busy roads?

Most of the shops are close by where he lives. He can usually get to them with only one road to cross.

What’s the furthest Oliver has been spotted?

The furthest Oliver has walked was to a pub around 1.5miles away. Strangely enough the pub is located at the end of the road I have moved to. I was able to take him home in the morning after his long night of entertaining the locals. He is very road savvy. However this would have involved a few main roads which is a bit scary.

Does he have a routine he sticks to most days or are his days unpredictable?

Most days he does have a bit of a routine. He visits a gentleman at the end of the road and then heads to One Stop. He is rarely home in the day and often only goes back to eat at night.

Oliver the new feline celebrity in Bexhill On Sea
Oliver inspecting the till at the One Stop shop

Do you ever worry about him when he is out and about?

I used to worry all the time but the Facebook group has eased that a lot. If I ever worry I can pop a notice up and within 15 mins I know where he is.

Has he ever gone missing for longer than expected?

Before I had the Facebook group he could be gone 3 to 5 days at a time, often being found at the vets or once I had to go to the local cattery to collect him.

How do you feel when you see people posting about where Oliver is and the fact he brings so much joy to locals?

I used to feel a twinge of jealousy as he’s my baby but knowing he is making others so happy and they make him happy is the nicest feeling. He is a special boy and I’m glad others know that.

Oliver the new feline celebrity in Bexhill On Sea
Oliver Asleep at The Original Factory shop

Lastly, please sum up your feelings about Oliver, his part in your family and the life he has made for himself.

Oliver is my first baby. He has been there through some of my darkest times and my happiest. He’s always a good source for conversation and I’ve even had strangers approach me to talk about him. He’s so unique and has the best personality. I’m glad I made the decision to adopt him all those years ago.

What an amazing moggie who is fiercely protected and loved by the local community – and talking of community. This feature wouldn’t be the same without hearing from some of the shops and business’s that Oliver visits so I approached several for comment and here’s what they had to say:

Tea Four Two shop –  Sophie (manager)

Oliver the new feline celebrity in Bexhill On SeaWe first met Oliver around 5 years ago well before his adventures where documented. He came to our house and once we managed to track down his owners it turned out they were getting lots of messages about finding Oliver all over the town, so when our family took over Two Four Tea and he was at the door one morning it was a very welcomed stoke and some nibbles given to him. He started to arrive every morning so after a little while we had the chicken at the ready, he made himself comfy on one of our people watching chairs by the front window. After people walking past saw him one of our customers got him a cushion with his name. We look forward to his visits!

 

One Stop Shop – Debbie, Tia and Joy

Oliver the new feline celebrity in Bexhill On SeaWhen Oliver first started coming it was in the evenings and he spent his time with the staff. He would sit out on the shop floor greeting people. It eventually turned in to him waiting outside in the mornings when we opened. He has a chair in the office he stole from us to take his naps and he does indeed have his own badge: `Oliver – officer in charge`, which suits him well. The customers love him and ask to see him every day. He brings joy to the workplace and we love having him here. He can be a bit cheeky at times. He will chase birds in the backyard and cause chaos, he’ll find a shelf to sit on and watch the customers and they dont know he’s there watching and he loves a cuddle, usually when we’re busy and he`ll sit on our paperwork so we cannot get anything done.

The Original Factory shop – Rachael and the tofs team. 
Oliver is such a Ray of sunshine and a little legend in Bexhill. Everyone either knows him or what’s to know him. We at Tofs (The original Factory Shop ) Bexhill adore his visits; his quite the celebrity now.
He pops in normally most weeks. He will pop straight to the till area to receive a treat and some fuss from us. He then pops off to do his walk of the shop and especially the pet department to check out the new toys we may have got it.
On occasion he will find a little spot for his nap as all his adventures tire the little chap out.
Kate Poyser – Pathways
Oliver in his favourite place in the Pathways office, Oliver visits us and our 14 residents regularly. The resident are all adults who have mental health issues and Oliver always males their day and the staffs day happier. He is always a welcome visitor and wonders around the building looking for fuss and strokes. He will then find a resting place and curl up for a sleep. Oliver brings so much joy to Pathways – he is a great therapy cat and he doesn’t even know it

 

 

 

 

With each paw-step, Oliver reminds us of the simple joys and connections that lie within local communities. He has become an emblem of unity, bridging gaps and spreading warmth with his gentle manner. As he continues his daily rounds, touching hearts and brightening lives, his presence serves as a gentle reminder that sometimes it’s the smallest and furriest of beings that can bring us the greatest sense of belonging and togetherness. In a world that often feels fragmented, this local cat’s humble journey serves as a beacon of hope, urging us all to cherish the bonds we share and celebrate the beauty found in unexpected places

To follow Olivers ongoing adventures please visit his FACEBOOK page

Photos with permission from Kirsty Bayliss and the generous kind members of ‘Olivers Adventures’

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**Monday 31st July 2023**. I am very sad to say Oliver was put to sleep today. He had broken a vertebrae near his pelvis and this was down to a suspected road traffic accident. He went very peacefully and his mummy told him how loved he was as he passed to rainbow bridge. The community and his family are devastated as am I. RIP little one. xxx

Oliver is now featured in his own chapter of my new book The Little Book Of Extraordinary cats.


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Oliver the new feline celebrity in Bexhill On Sea

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anita Kelsey holds a first class honours degree in Feline Behaviour and Psychology (work based BA Hons) and runs a vet referral service dedicated strictly to the diagnosis and treatment of behaviour problems in cats. She is also a qualified cat groomer and specialises in grooming challenging or phobic cats. Anita, a strong advocate of a vegan lifestyle, is based in East Sussex but consults all over the UK as well as international requests. She lives with her husband, a music producer, and 1 Norwegian Forest cat, Kiki.

Click to read genuine reviews on Google Maps: https://maps.app.goo.gl/4grgX2M7kUB2EevJ8

Her first book ‘Claws. Confessions Of A Professional Cat Groomer‘ was published by John Blake in 2017 with her second book, Let’s Talk About Cats self published via Amazon worldwide in 2020. The Little Book Of Extraordinary Cats is Anita’s third book out now 2024.

Oliver the new feline celebrity in Bexhill On Sea