It’s not unusual for guests exploring the Kruger Road Toy and Practice Museum in West Virginia to imagine they’re a cute, fuzzy, toy cat once they see Lavatory sleeping or sitting nonetheless among the many classic playthings. However then, the kitty strikes and … shock! They’ve met the museum’s beloved resident cat, Lavatory, who isn’t any stuffed toy.
This 12 months, Lavatory celebrates his tenth birthday and tenth anniversary on the 25-year-old museum.
Turning into Lavatory
Lavatory discovered the museum by 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 The furry little man, then about 4 to five months outdated, sneaked into and stowed away in a van that belonged to the filming crew of Captain Z & the Terror of Leviathan, an indie comedy-horror film that was shot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 positioned.
On the second day of filming, the kitten got here operating from one of many autos within the car parking zone, trotted up the steps to the museum and made himself at residence. A supervisor tried to search out the kitty an adopter for perhaps an hour, however staffers knew they have been goners. They agreed: The kitten had a house already, proper there on the museum.
“All of us fell in love. How are you going to not?” says Becky Gerlak, IT supervisor on the museum.
A customer favourite
Lavatory — named after legendary Twentieth-century American toy maker Louis Marx and Firm, the maker of the large robotic known as Huge Lavatory — 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. Lavatory has his personal Fb web page known as “Lavatory Authorized,” and the museum will probably add a web page devoted to the cat to its web site (toy andtrain.com), Becky says.
Many individuals come from close to and
far primarily to see Lavatory, after which try the museum’s assortment of classic toys, together with dolls, collectible figurines, automobiles, robots and video games. Becky remembers a number of years in the past, when a tour bus en route from Los Angeles to New York Metropolis with about 35 individuals on board stopped on the museum as a result of somebody needed to fulfill Lavatory.
Proper at residence
Lavatory is pleasant and loving to visitors, and he typically likes to be petted however not picked up, Becky says. Lavatory typically follows individuals across the museum, and also you by no means know the place you’ll stumble upon him. Some followers ship Lavatory presents of catnip toys and different goodies. Throughout my go to, Lavatory was lounging on the large staircase and watching over the foyer.
Having a cat provides the museum — which even has a claw merchandising machine within the foyer full of plush toys known as “Lavatory’s Loot” — a hotter, fuzzier and extra homey and welcoming really feel, Becky says.
“Individuals say that he’s stunning,” she says. “Lots of people say that he appears to be like like their cat. … They see Lavatory, and it makes them really feel extra at residence as a result of they keep in mind their cat.”
Melanie “Mel” Larch, an enormous fan of Lavatory’s and an everyday customer, remembers shopping the museum’s reward store in the future and operating into Lavatory there. She sat down on the ground, and Lavatory climbed into her lap and sat together with her for a number of minutes.
“He’s only a actually candy cat,” says Mel, who travels to the museum from West Virginia. “He’s an incredible attraction for the museum — an incredible ambassador, if you’ll.”