IT’S the age-old proverb: when the cat’s away the mice will play. And now bosses at a city supermarket have been forced to heed the warning after discovering some of the furry pests were running loose just months after they evicted resident moggy Pixie.
Pest control experts have been called in to tackle the problem at Asda The Jewel after vermin were seen scurrying about in the aisles.
One disgruntled customer, who asked not to be named, said: “I saw mice running along the aisles a couple of weeks ago. I also heard a member of staff joking about mice being in the warehouse. It’s disgusting. A place with food and there’s mice running about.”
Up until December last year, Garfield-like cat Pixie had been a daily visitor to the store, regularly sleeping in the shopping carts or his preferred bolthole under a Christmas tree at the foyer. Dubbed “Asda Cat”, Pixie’s idle antics had generated so much attention that customers created a Facebook page in his honour.
But despite a backlash from feline fans, the celebrity cat was given the boot by supermarket bosses after several complaints from customers.
And in a heart-breaking blow for his fanclub, Pixie has now been missing since mid-March.
Cat owner Jennifer Loy, 35, who lives in nearby Corbieshot, said Asda could have avoided the mouse problem if Pixie had been allowed stay put.
“I could see the problem if he was going into the store and eating off the fish counter but he generally just hangs about the foyer,” she said.
“If Pixie was back in Asda today, there wouldn’t be any mice in there, that’s for sure.”
One of Pixie’s biggest fans, Andrew Mackie, 55, from Craigmillar, has offered a reward for information leading to the return of “Asda Cat”.
He echoed the view that Pixie acted as a natural deterrant to brazen mice.
He said: “Although Pixie rarely took a wander round the store, he would have kept the mice at bay because they would have sensed him and vice versa.
“He did go into the warehouse from time to time if he wasn’t at the entrance of the store so he would have had an impact in there as well.
He added: “He was probably keeping the mouse population down and maybe Asda didn’t realise this when he was there. He would have had a huge impact on keeping mice away, even though he would lie around everywhere, but his disappearance has also had a big impact on his fans.”
A spokeswoman from Asda admitted there had been mice at the Edinburgh store. She said: “As soon as we became aware that we had an uninvited guest we worked closely with expert contractors to quickly evict the visitor.”
Quizzed on whether Pixie the cat could have solved the problem, the spokeswoman joked: “We should have sent him in!”
The spokeswoman declined to comment on whether the store still had mice.