Begemot the 13-year-old cat is no ordinary kitty. This cat has a very special job: he’s the mascot and greeter at the Mikhail Bulgakov House Museum in Moscow.
Begemot got his unusual job back in 2005 when he was just a little kitten. Begemot’s original owners had to give him up when they learned their newborn baby was allergic to cats. They connected with the owner of the Mikhail Bulgakov House Museum, who said he would take the cat in.
Mikhail Bulgakov was a Russian author who wrote magical realism novels. One of his most famous novels, “The Master and Margarita,” was published back in the 1930s. One of the main characters in the novel is a big black cat named Begemot who likes chess and vodka. The cat can talk and often mouths off to the other characters.
The real-life Begemot prefers napping to chess, but besides that, he’s a dead ringer for Bulgakov’s classic character!
Over his 13 years in the Mikhail Bulgakov House Museum, Begemot has become famous in Russia.
People often come to the museum just to see the cat. His face is also on lots of the merchandise in the museum’s gift shop. Everybody in Moscow knows and loves Begemot.
The staff at the museum have also bonded with the cat. Yevgeny Markov, one of the museum’s night guards, told the Los Angeles Times:
“At night, I have my bed for sleeping, and he has his right next to me,” Markov said. “He’s a tough character. But he’s good company.”
On August 1, 2018, workers at the Mikhail Bulgakov Museum posted shocking news on Twitter: Begemot had been kidnapped.
That morning, Begemot had gone for his usual morning stroll. He typically didn’t go out for too long, and so the staff started to get worried when the cat hadn’t shown up two hours after leaving.
Then, Nikolai Golubev, the museum’s director, saw a strange comment on the museum’s website’s comments section. It said: “Why have you let your cat out?”
Later that day, a woman who worked in a nearby office contacted the museum. She said she saw a blond woman take the cat from the front steps of the museum, where he had been napping. The woman took the cat to a nearby Metro station and disappeared.
The museum contacted the police and put a post on their Facebook page telling the public what was going on.
“An unknown woman has stolen the cat Begemot, the staff member of the Museum-Theater Bulgakov House. Anyone with information about the cat, which has an identification tag in the shape of a bone and a ‘harsh character,’ should contact the museum as soon as possible,” the museum wrote on Facebook.
Since Begemot was so popular, news of the cat’s kidnapping quickly spread on Russian social media. Everyone was worried about poor Begemot. His disappearance was even reported in one of Moscow’s major newspapers.
Thankfully, the cat’s harrowing saga didn’t go on for too long. Five hours after Begemot’s disappearance, the police contacted the museum and said the blond woman had left the cat on the steps of Mossovet State Academic Theater. They still didn’t know who she was or why she had kidnapped the cat, but the important thing was, Begemot was safe!
A veterinarian checked Begemot out and said he was perfectly healthy. Then, Begemot went back to doing his favorite thing: napping in the sun. We’re glad that Begemot has recovered from his ordeal and is back with the people who love him!
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h/t: Honest to Paws