Call it the ‘case of the missing video store cat.’
When The Book Man owner Amber Price drove by the Menzies Street Video Tonite location and noticed it shuttered permanently, she immediately wondered where Martin had gone.
Martin, in case you’ve never met him, was the Video Tonite resident cat for many years. The portly tabby cat sat at the front door, paced the aisles, and greeted customers willingly. In recent years, as the video store diversified to include the Starlight Cafe, Martin became a whipped cream aficionado. When a coffee drink was being made, he’d run for leftover cream.
When not prowling the movie aisle and lapping up cream, Martin was also a feline celebrity. He posed numerous times for many photographers as part of The Book Man’s pet project, a cat calendar that benefits Ena’s Community Cats. Price works closely with that organization’s founder, Ena Vermerris, and is a cat lover herself.
Another locally famous cat is in that calendar, The Book Man’s own Nietzsche.
For Price, nothing could make more sense than for The Book Man to adopt Martin, so he could join Nietzsche and remain a store cat. This way, the children and cat lovers who adored Martin at the video store could continue visiting him at the used book store.
And that led to some impromptu “kitty sleuthing.”
“Who knew this was how I was going to be spending my day?” Price said on Monday. She put the word out on social media, along with some beautiful pictures she had on file of Martin, from his modeling days.
She sifted through tips and rumours, made calls and fielded them. And it seems she has learned his fate. He was adopted out many months ago to someone through the help of Chilliwack SPCA.
But that’s as much as they can confirm.
In an email to Price, the SPCA noted that they could not share other people’s private information, and that they carefully screen any potential adoption applicants.
“You can be sure he has gone to a good home,” the SPCA said, adding that it would be unfair to ask the new owners to surrender him.
“Imagine how an adopter would feel if asked to give up an animal he/she or perhaps an entire family has grown to love; and Martin himself will be adjusted and settled by now,” the SPCA added. “Would it be fair to him to disrupt his new life and expect him to adjust to another new situation?”
They suggested The Book Man adopted another cat from the shelter.
“While in some ways, I completely understand, and agree, Martin was no ordinary cat,” Price said. “He did not just belong to one person. In a way, he belonged to everyone who ever visited the video store, and was a member of our community.”
She said it’s likely the new owners have no idea that Martin is local cat celebrity, and has delighted thousands of people over the years from his post at the video store.
She said she’s disappointed the SPCA wouldn’t at least ask the new adoptive family and is feeling “a deep sense of loss knowing that he will never again be appreciated and loved by his fans.”
“I do not have peace about this whatsoever,” she added.
She had been hoping that Nietzsche and Martin would become good friends.
Nietzsche is “very chill” with other cats, and has been curious and friendly with virtually all the animals that have visited the downtown Chilliwack store.
If anyone has information on Martin’s whereabouts, Price is hoping to hear more and can be contacted at The Bookman, at 604-792-4595.