Fans of a “disappearing cat” are being asked to donate to its cathedral home where tumbling revenues have put jobs at risk.
Mischievous feline Leo gained worldwide fame last week after footage of him brazenly disrupting morning prayers was shared widely.
The video of the cat disappearing beneath the Dean of Canterbury’s robes while he was mid-sermon has been viewed more than two million times.
Canterbury Cathedral still faces a serious financial threat as a result of the coronavirus crisis and now fans of the feline are being urged to put money in the kitty.
The Dean of Canterbury, the Very Revd Dr Robert Willis, said: “If everyone who has found comfort in our daily online services or who has enjoyed Leo’s antics over recent days could give a donation, whatever amount, it would help enormously to support our cathedral community and to sustain this truly special place.”
The 1,400-year-old Cathedral has lost over £2 million in gross income since lockdown forced it to close its doors.
Its work is carried out by over 300 paid staff, supported by more than 600 volunteers.
In a statement, a spokesman said: “Despite halting all but essential spending and pursuing savings wherever possible, as our main source of expenditure, we must reduce staff costs and, ultimately, the number of people who work with us.
“The cathedral is entirely financially independent.
“It has received no income from visitors, events, our shop or hotel guests since March 2020, and it will be many months before these areas start to produce income for us, and even longer before that gets close to previous levels.
“In addition, our revenue from rental properties and other investments has been impacted since lockdown and will continue to be hard hit by the long-term impact of coronavirus on the wider economy.”
Since having to close due to the ongoing pandemic, Canterbury Cathedral has been holding daily worship services online, with the dean’s daily prayers regularly receiving 2,000 views each.