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Puss in Boots? Patients left outraged after branch ‘bans’ beloved cat

Patients have branded Boots management “miserable gits” for banning the famous feline from its Didcot branch.  

Fur-ious Didcot residents have threatened to boycott Boots for banning a much-loved moggy from a branch in the name of “health and safety”.

Willow the cat is the star of Facebook fan page “The adventures of Willow from Didcot”, which features updates on the local kitizen’s whereabouts and boasts around 6,000 members.

But last week (July 5), group member Charlotte Budd said that she “saw Willow this morning being escorted out of Boots three times – he was desperate to go in!”

She claimed she was told that a visiting area manager “said Willow is banned from the store and so Boots staff are going to have to start actively getting him when he wanders in!”

“So sad - it’s his favourite shop,” she added.

Explaining the pussycat prohibition today (July 9), Boots told C+D that “as a pharmacy-led retailer, health and safety is our number one priority and we have a duty to ensure that we serve our patients in a hygienic environment”. 

“As such, we have asked our team members to restrict Willow's access to the store,” a spokesperson added.

Boots stressed that it “appreciates the strength of feeling on this matter”, adding that “like the rest of the local community, [its] store team are very fond of Willow”.


No more purrscriptions


The decision has been met with uproar from Facebook members. Willow sup-paw-ter Zoe Wigger said that “this sort of thing makes my blood boil” – urging the multiple to “sort it out”.

One asked whether management knew that “Willow is a star”, while another simply deemed them “miserable gits”.

“Good luck keeping a cat ‘banned’,” yet another member said.

Group member Barbara Townsend suggested that Willow “must actually bring in customers”, adding that she “[goes] in to look for him” and joined calls for a “customer boycott until he’s reinstated”.

Others have expressed sympathy for the forlorn feline. Josephine Napper said that “he can’t possibly understand why he’s suddenly being shut out”, calling him a “poor boy”.


Cat (M) clawback


Other members suggested that the celeb-kitty should move on.

“Personally I hope he sticks a paw up to Boots and becomes a resident at Superdrug - would save me a fortune,” Niki Davis Dallaway said. “Willow is the only reason I now shop in Boots occasionally.”

But “Puss in Superdrug doesn’t have the same ring to it as Puss in Boots”, another commenter pointed out.

Meanwhile, Patricia Thomson asked managers to “please focus on the important things, like increasing pharmacy staff”.

“Mind, Boots will be shut altogether soon,” another group member said. 

The mews comes after the multiple revealed plans to close up to 69 more stores across UK, with 581 closed so far in the UK as of the end of May.

Back in June 2019, C+D reported that Boots planned to close around 200 branches across the UK “over the next 18 months” as it announced it would “reduce [its] store count by 8%” in the UK. By October 2020, it had closed 138 of that number.

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