'Safety of humans comes first' says Virgin after Garfield the ginger tom gets his marching orders from city store for scratching

PUBLISHED: 15:55 01 August 2016 | UPDATED: 11:30 02 August 2016

Garfield fans Ethan and Jack Davey with the popular cat outside Sainsbury's in Ely

Garfield fans Ethan and Jack Davey with the popular cat outside Sainsbury's in Ely

Archant

Ely's famous ginger tom Mr Sainsbury's (aka Garfield) has been banned from a city store after a customer complained he had scratched her daughter.

Rhys Raine-Diplock fusses Garfield outside Sainsbury's in ElyRhys Raine-Diplock fusses Garfield outside Sainsbury's in Ely

But Garfield – whose popularity led to his own Facebook page and nearly 4,000 ‘likes’- is still welcome in the lobby and car park.

Garfield has been one of the most popular visitors to Sainsbury’s in recent years where he pops by for a fuss and to snuggle down to sleep on the couch in the Virgin Travel in-store concession.

But after an incident where he scratched a young girl who went to fuss him and a complaint was made at Virgin head office, staff were asked to shoo him outside if he wanders in to settle on their sofa.

Sainsbury’s, however, say the fluffy friend is still welcome in the lobby and car park where customers take selfies with the popular pet and upload them to Facebook page Mr Sainsbury’s aka Garfield.

Garfield the cat has been banned from the instore Virgin desk following Garfield the cat has been banned from the instore Virgin desk following "an incident."

A Virgin spokesman said: “We can confirm that Mr Sainsbury’s (aka Garfield) has been asked to leave our Ely store after some less than prrrrrfect behaviour recently.

“As one of the most loved furry faces in town we hope that he will paws for thought on his actions, however the safety of our human customers has to take priority.”

Garfield’s owner Tina Battaglia said: “I just want to say thank you for all your support for Garfield, the positive comments far outweigh the negative ones!

“Apologies to anyone he has scratched or nipped, but most of you do understand a cat’s warning signals - and please don’t tickle his tummy even if it looks like an invitation!

Garfield the cat has been banned from the instore Virgin desk.Garfield the cat has been banned from the instore Virgin desk.

“I’m glad he brings a lot of happiness to people, young and old.

“It’s a shame he has been ousted from his comfy sofa but we do understand that the Virgin staff have to abide by the rules. I’m sure they miss him too.

“You can still spot him around the car park though, or maybe inside the doors, so keep snapping and posting those pics.

“He seems to see Sainsbury’s as his second home.

Garfield the cat.Garfield the cat.

“Thanks again, and just a gentle reminder not to feed him, though I’m sure you all don’t do that anymore.”

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said: “Garfield is still hanging out in the lobby. All the customers know him; he is very popular.”

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