The arrest of the infamous Julian Assange in London has surely raised a long list of serious questions about freedom of the press and the reaches of American justice. All that being said, what’s happened to his cat?
It is a real concern of literally tens of thousands of people who followed “Embassy Cat” on Twitter and Instagram, watching for more than one full year as an indisputably adorable kitten crawled along Mr. Assange’s shoulder and also sat in on meetings with his visitors. No matter what your feelings about Mr. Assange, the cat, who lived in the Ecuadorean Embassy with the founder of WikiLeaks, had become a media star.
True, the cat’s social media accounts were an extension of Mr. Assange’s political slant, promoting his causes and deployed to sell T-shirts for a man deeply schooled in celebrity and internet culture. However, if the cat’s purpose was to put a cute face on the thorny politics of an international fugitive, it largely worked. Social media was chock full of people asking about the cat’s fate on Thursday.
The fact is, little is known about the cat’s whereabouts today, or if we can even follow it on Instagram. The Ecuadorean Embassy in London did not return any emails seeking information on what happened to the cat. However, several published reports in recent months suggest the cat had left the embassy months ago.
La Repubblica, which is an Italian newspaper, reported in November that Mr. Assange had actually given the cat up “to spare the cat an isolation which has become unbearable and allow it a healthier life.”
Sputnik, which is a Russian state-run news source, wrote on Thursday that the cat was taken by an associate of Mr. Assange and had not been at the embassy since September.
“It is not here,” the newspaper quoted a representative as stating. “We are not a pet store, so we do not keep pets here.”
The Ecuadorean government, among a set of new rules delivered to Mr. Assange just last year, requested that he do a better job taking care of his cat, threatening to send the cat to an animal shelter if Mr. Assange did not comply.
The cat was well-known as Embassy Cat, however, Mr. Assange said in a 2017 interview with The New Yorker that he called the cat Michi or Cat-stro.
Since its first post way back in May 2016, the account has not been able to resist a cat pun,however, it does not stray far from the basics. It wished followers a good “Meow-ning,” drank “Meow-lk” and even demanded action “immeowdiately.” It aimed “purrfection” and was interested in “counter-purrveillance.”
The Instagram account has not uploaded any new photos of the cat since March 2017, while the Twitter account has not been active at all since March 2018.