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

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

Becoming Loo

Loo discovered the museum via 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 The furry little man, then about 4 to five months outdated, sneaked into and stowed away in a van that belonged to the filming crew of Captain Z & the Terror of Leviathan, an indie comedy-horror film that was shot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 situated.

On the second day of filming, the kitten got here operating from one of many automobiles within the car parking zone, trotted up the steps to the museum and made himself at residence. A supervisor tried to seek 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.

“We all fell in love. How can you not?” says Becky Gerlak, IT supervisor on the museum.

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A customer favourite

Loo — named after legendary Twentieth-century American toy maker Louis Marx and Company, the maker of the large robotic referred to as Big Loo — lives and sleeps on the museum, and workers members all pitch in to deal with him. Museum guests are normally delighted to come across the kitty, who has developed a fan following. Loo has his personal Facebook web page referred to as “Loo Approved,” and the museum will possible 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 Loo, after which take a look at 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 City with about 35 individuals on board stopped on the museum as a result of somebody needed to satisfy Loo.

Right at residence

Loo is pleasant and loving to company, and he usually likes to be petted however not picked up, Becky says. Loo typically follows individuals across the museum, and also you by no means know the place you’ll stumble upon him. Some followers ship Loo items of catnip toys and different goodies. During my go to, Loo was lounging on the large 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 “Loo’s Loot” — a hotter, fuzzier and extra homey and alluring really feel, Becky says.

“People say that he’s beautiful,” she says. “A lot of people say that he looks like their cat. … They see Loo, and it makes them feel more at home because they remember their cat.”

Melanie “Mel” Larch, an enormous fan of Loo’s and a daily customer, remembers looking the museum’s reward store sooner or later and operating into Loo there. She sat down on the ground, and Loo climbed into her lap and sat together with her for a number of minutes.

“He’s just a really sweet cat,” says Mel, who travels to the museum from West Virginia. “He’s a great attraction for the museum — a great ambassador, if you will.”

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