Shelter kitten becomes Arkansas library cat

ASHDOWN, Ark. (AP) — Madeline is a library cat who walks through the Ashdown Community Library likes she owns the building.

The rhythm of her tail swings left, then to the right and comes to a brief stop in the middle of her stroll as she checks things out.

She is a cocky, prissy 6-month-old tabby with gold and brown colored hair.

Madeline’s life changed when Ashdown librarian Maureen Nations adopted her from the local animal shelter to become a library cat, according to the Texarkana Gazette.

The idea was approved by the Little River County Library Board, which includes Ashdown Mayor James Sutton and Little River County Judge Mike Cranford.

Nations got the idea to adopt the kitten as a library cat from Dewey, a kitten abandoned at the Spencer, Iowa, public library whose tale inspired several books for children and adults.

Nations decided to name the Ashdown library kitten after a children’s book “Madeline,” written in 1939 by Ludwig Bemelmans.

Nothing frightens the character in the book–not tigers, not mice, not even getting sick. To Madeline, a trip to the hospital is a grand adventure, according to the book’s introduction.

Nations believes Madeline the Cat will be similar to her literary namesake. And local veterinarian Dr. Kenneth Martin gave her a clean bill of health.

She seems smart and checks out patrons from children to senior citizens who visit the library.

Briar Bowser, a 2-year-old boy, was ecstatic getting the chance to chase Madeline. Briar’s mother, Jessica, chased after the toddler and Madeline to make sure neither became agitated with the other.

Briar grinned and said “whoa” as Madeline disappeared under a book shelf.

KaitLynn Bagley, 7, watched Madeline and Briar, but was shy about petting the cat.

Madeline is winning over skeptical patrons.

One library patron told Nations she didn’t like the cat, but on the third visit, Nations noticed the skeptical patron petting the kitten.

Another library customer reads the newspapers every day and Madeline joins him in a chair. The man arrives between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. to read the Texarkana Gazette, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the weekly Little River News.

Nations believes Madeline likes to hear the turning of the newspaper pages.

Madeline stays in the library Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and goes home with Nations when the library is closed.

“Madeline has been a real hit and is becoming a celebrity,” Nations said.

After strutting during a regular patrol of the library, Madeline goes to bed near the library checkout desk and sometimes in a windowsill. Other times, she disappears in another room, rests and returns refreshed to the children’s corner.

The most important message in the library is a piece of paper taped to the front glass door saying, “Don’t let the cat out.” But so far, Madeline hasn’t tried to leave.