In Brief

Russian Museum Makes Good on Its April Fools’ Joke and Hires a Cat

Marai the cat at Serpukhov's Museum of History and Art (photo via @sluhserp/Instagram)
Maray the cat at Serpukhov’s Museum of History and Art (photo via @sluhserp/Instagram)

The newest employee of Serpukhov’s Museum of History and Art in Russia will receive his salary in the form of fish and patties. That’s because he’s a cat — and would probably rather feast on tasty meats than lick or nestle in rubles — recently hired after museum staff decided to play a goofy prank on local press.

Christened Maray, after the building’s previous cat-loving owner, the ginger feline had been frequenting the institution for a few years. On this past April Fools’ Day, human staffers decided to write a job application letter on behalf of Maray, issuing it along with a press release to Russian media and noting that the museum had accepted his bid for a position. After the publicity stunt naturally attracted inquiries, the museum decided to make the hire official. Maray now joins the ranks of museum pets, which include his fellow felines famously roaming St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum just over 500 miles away.

History, too, is filled with furry critters that called our cultural buildings home: the Museum of Modern Art had Don, a trusty German Shepherd whose antics made for terrific newspaper reports at the time; the Asian Civilizations Museum in Singapore has a statue and plaque to commemorate a feline visitor–turned–museum mascot; and the Victoria and Albert Museum’s first director, Henry Cole, had two dogs that roamed the grounds and are buried in the institution’s garden, their presence marked by plaques.

Maray is now the Serpukhov Museum’s official doormancat, working regular hours from 9 to 5 that are interrupted by breaks for meals and carefree strolls, according to Buzzfeed. As museum employee Nina Strelkova said, “All people who work in our museum love Maray. Many bring him food from home and take pictures with him. So he gets a little fat now. And visitors love the cat too — lots of them taking selfies with him.”

cat
The note “signed” by Maray (courtesy Serpukhov’s Museum of History and Art)
Marai the cat (photo via @oka_info/Instagram)
Marai the cat (photo courtesy Serpukhov’s Museum of History and Art)
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