The Instagram feline known as Embassy Cat has thousands of followers. On Twitter, more than 30,000 have followed the cat.
The cat owned by Julian Assange moved in with the WikiLeaks founder in the Ecuadorian Embassy in May of 2016. Some say the cat was given up to a shelter after Assange allegedly refused to change its litter box. Other reports are that Assange gave it away so it could live a “healthier life.”
Some are worried though that the cat was inside the embassy as Assange was dragged into custody Thursday morning in London. He is now being held at Metropolitan Police headquarters, New Scotland Yard, soon to appear before a magistrate and then be extradited to the U.S to face computer hacking conspiracy charges.
The cat’s fate is not certain, but it’s social media, the IG account in particular, documents notable moments and events of its owner’s years in asylum.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Assange Introduced Embassy Cat in May of 2016, Then Just a Kitten
Assange soon dubbed the kitten Embassy Cat.
He began tagging images with #counterpurrveillance
“Everyone loves me! look who’s shown up to greet me! 😻💢 #nodogsnomasters #counterpurrveillance”
2. Embassy Cat Was Witness to Assange Meetings With High Profile Visitors Including Documentation Michael Moore & Marxist Media Theorist & Activist Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi
Embassy Cat sat in the lap of Franco “Bifo” Berardi, the Italian activist and theorist.
When Michael Moore visited, Assange wrote: “Meowchael Moore gives me new counterpurrveillance training: how to catch a drone!” The filmmaker is seen in several images playing with the cat.
The Guardian reported that in 2016, in the weeks leading up to and following the publishing of Hillary Clinton’s emails obtained by Russians hackers and provided to WikiLeaks, as was suggested by then-candidate Donald J. Trump, included Moore, who Assange photographed, but also Vivienne Westwood (who Assange featured on a now-deleted livestream), journalist John Pilger and German hacker Andy Müller-Maguhn.
When Pamela Anderson visited Assange, he shared a video of Embassy Cat sniffing a rose she’d gifted the WikiLeaks guru.
3. Assange Shared Cat Hijinks & Play But Also Made Pointed Political Statements Using Embassy Cat as a Prop
“Paws! Catfight is about to start!#debates #clinton #trump”
Assange posted the video on the night of the September 26, 2016 debate between Trump and Clinton.
That came just 8 weeks after Trump invited Russia to hack Clinton’s emails.
“I will tell you this, Russia: If you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
At that time, this was the Embassy Cat post:
“Look who’s back and up close! #DNCleak @metpol #counterpurrveillance”
“Police counterpurrveillance alert!
@wikileaks #dnc #assange”
Assange created Embassy Cat memes like this one. IG commenters pointed out Assange was not “detained” rather could walk out the door at any time, albeit and then face arrest.
4. Embassy Cat’s Uncleaned Litter Box & Assange’s Hygiene Were a Problem For Embassy Staff
The Equador embassy was reported to have admonished Assange for not cleaning Embassy Cat’s litter box. It also was not fond of Assange’s hygiene regimen, or lack thereof.
In a memo obtained by The Guardian and published in Spanish here, Embassy officials said in October of 2018 that Assange must clean up after the cat or else. “…(Assange) must care for (the cat’s) well-being, food and hygiene,” or it will be given to a shelter.
Some speculated, or joked, that shredded documents may have been used as cat litter.
5. Despite Concerns About the Fate of Embassy Cat, the Feline Was Given Away, Either by the Embassy or Assange Himself
Italian publication La Repubblica reported that Assange, being “destroyed slowly,” it said, gave up Embassy Cat because its “isolation became unbearable.”
“For the record: Julian Assange’s cat was reportedly given to a shelter by the Ecuadorian embassy ages ago, so don’t expect a feline extradition in the next few hours. (I genuinely offered to adopt it)”