As if Hong Kong needed more bad news—the city’s beloved celebrity cat, Brother Cream, died Sunday, according to his owner.
“Our hearts are broken as our beloved cat Cream Bro passed away today after struggling with various health problems over the past several months,” a post on the cat’s Instagram account read.
“We miss him terribly and treasure the time we had with him in our lives over the past 14 years,” it added.
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Our hearts are broken as our beloved cat Cream Bro passed away today after struggling with various health problems over the past several months. We miss him terribly and treasure the time we had with him in our lives over the past 14 years. He will always be the most lovely, kind hearted and handsome boy in our heart. Cream Bro was adopted 13 years ago. He was well known for his support and passion in various charity activities for helping stray animals. Over the past years, some of you have came to store to visit him, brought him treats and gifts and I wanted to thank you for your kindnesses and for helping make his life as good as it has been. Cream Bro was full of love and acceptance. He will always be in our hearts. Thank you so much for being caring and giving support to us during this time of grief. We hope that everyone else who has loved and lost a pet knows that the love they shared was special, and they will meet again over the rainbow bridge. 我們以最深切的悲痛告訴各位喜愛忌廉哥的朋友，忌廉哥在今天已經離開我們了，過去數個月期間，忌廉哥一直與病患鬥爭，今天貓生畢業回到彩虹橋了，終年14歲。 13年前我們領養了忌廉哥，牠不單為我們帶來歡樂和愛，還成立慈善基金幫助各界不同的流浪動物。 回顧過去的歲月，謝謝每位來過探望過忌廉哥的朋友，感謝您們帶來的零食和禮物，最重要的是，您們的愛護和關心，讓牠一生充滿愛和傳奇。 謝謝您們的關愛，您們每一真誠的慰問，都成為我們在這艱難時間當中的支持。 在此我們鼓勵其他痛失愛寵的朋友，我們和動物互動的愛，是讓這個世界充滿正能量的來源，請讓這份愛流傳下去，最終一日我們會在彩虹橋再遇的，因為愛是永不止息⋯⋯
It’s a sad day for all 43,000 of his Instagram followers.
Road to stardom
But there was a time he was relatively unknown—the British shorthair lived a humble life at his owner’s newspaper stand in Tsim Sha Tsui until he went missing one day in 2012.
Social media buzzed with news of his disappearance and netizens initiated search efforts. When he was found at a nearby alley 26 days later, local media celebrated his return. Brother Cream, three pounds lighter but otherwise unscathed, became an instant star.
Local advertisers took notice and soon, Brother Cream was everywhere.
He was on a bus.
He greeted arriving passengers at the airport.
He played basketball in an Xbox game in a commercial for the Microsoft console.
The global spotlight and a good heart
It was only a matter of time before Brother Cream wound up in the international spotlight. The feline has been featured in CNN, Al Jazeera and the Dodo. Last year AFP‘s fact-checking agency debunked a rumor that Brother Cream had been tear-gassed. (Brother Cream was not tear-gassed—the cat whose picture was circulated has a white stripe that runs from its forehead through its nose, while Brother Cream had several brown stripes on his forehead.)
Brother Cream wasn’t all about the fame and the fortune. He gave back, too—his owner, Ko Chee-sing, set up the Cream Bro Foundation in 2013. Brother Cream was receiving “countless amounts of cat food,” Ko told Hong Kong Free Press in 2016, so he decided to set up the charity and ask fans to donate money to the foundation instead. He then distributes the money to animal welfare organizations handpicked by its volunteer team.
From feline model to philanthropist to highly sought after interview subject, Brother Cream has lived many lives—and Hong Kong will miss every single one of them.
“Take care,” one Instagram user wrote in the post about his passing. “Cream will always be in my heart.”
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