Ponsonby mourns Lasagna, Buddy, Oscar and “Ed Sheeran” – the ginger cat who loved.

Ponsonby, the famous feisty cat who loved to hang out in bars, restaurants, pharmacies and law firms, has died.

Ponsonby businesses are mourning one of their proudest customers.

The famous ginger cat known as Lasagna, Ed Sheeran, Oscar and Buddy had to be put down on Sunday.

“Rest in peace, little big man,” the staff at Prego, an equally famous restaurant in suburban Auckland where the cat loved to sit on customers’ laps and drink from their glasses, wrote on social media. “You were the coolest cat. A cheeky little feline, but cool nonetheless.

Known for surprising late-night revelers emerging from bars and restaurants on Ponsonby Road, the homeless man has been fed and cared for by lawyers, pharmacists and restaurant workers for the past six years.


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No one knew how the cat ended up on the streets of Ponsonby, but a microchip scan shortly before his death on Sunday revealed he was once named Reko and his owners may have lived 23km away on Bucklands Beach in Auckland.

“I take comfort in the fact that I don’t think any cat would ever be loved by so many people,” said attorney Chris Gill, who gave the cat the nickname “Buddy.” “At midnight he would sit on a street corner and say hello to everyone who was in any imaginable state of intoxication as they wandered down the street.”

At the Prego restaurant (where it was called “Lasagna” before it acquired a number of other names), he loved to sip drinks from customers’ glasses and treated the shaded outdoor sail as his personal hammock. At a nearby pharmacy, “Buddy” (as the employees knew him) regularly sat on the computer keyboard, blocking access.

At Ponsonby's Prego the cat known as Lasagna, Oscar and Ed Sheeran "ruled everything".
At Ponsonby’s Prego, the cat known as Lasagne, Oscar and Ed Sheeran ruled the roost.

A cat can be temperamental by nature. One of his favorite stories is about him biting a woman. She went to the pharmacy to get some medication and found him grinning at her from the counter. According to another, as yet unverified story, one former Ponsonby resident took the bus from North Shore daily to visit and feed the homeless. And although he had a permanent home in the entrance of the law firm Gill, Coutts and Co., he liked to spend his nights under the floorboards in Prego.


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“There was a loose board under our Prego house,” says Gill. “And he used to sleep under the restaurant, as I expected, because it was quite warm there. Then he would jump out in the morning and bask on the hoods of our cars.

“He was very good in the bar, but not so good in our office. He had a tendency to scratch his claws on sofas.”

Unichem 218 Ponsonby pharmacy owner Heather Fitzgerald said staff who fed the cat daily – “he preferred treats to regular cat food” – were concerned after not seeing him for the last three days.

“On a really rainy day, he would just come here and sit all day. And he always wanted to sit at the keyboard of our computer at the point of sale – half the time we couldn’t serve people!”

Prego’s post on social media about the cat’s death drew numerous responses.

“He was the coolest red dude in town, flying high, beautiful boy,” Heidi Somerville wrote on Facebook. “He was such a character,” wrote Irene Gardiner. “I loved the way it was on the counter at the nearby pharmacy, not to mention the customers. . “

Buddy, as he was known at Unichem 218 Ponsonby, in his favorite position behind the counter.
Buddy, as he was known at Unichem 218 Ponsonby, in his favorite position behind the counter.

Brandon Lelaulu, CEO of Prego, said he had never met a cat with such a personality.

“His favorite place to hang out was the open sail, right above the mushroom heater. During lunch he just crawled over and stayed right above the heater. Everyone has a photo of a cat on their lap. I would be horrified if I saw him on social media drinking wine and water from people’s glasses.

“But, you know, he was in control of the situation. He is the king of this place.

Lelaulu said that when the restaurant was closed during a high Covid alert: “I drove past and saw him sitting alone in the yard, running the roost.”


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“Please, the staff never fed the cat,” Lelaulu says.

“We have had a no-dog policy for some time now and it would be very inappropriate for us to feed a cat! But he just came and did his job. He wasn’t invited as such, but 99 percent of the clients loved him. It made people’s experience so much richer.”

Buddy (or Lasagna, or Oscar, or Ed Sheeran) photographed while visiting Est.  1901 bar on Ponsonby Road near Prego.
Buddy (or Lasagna, or Oscar, or Ed Sheeran) photographed while visiting Est. 1901 bar on Ponsonby Road near Prego.

On Sunday evening the cat showed up in Prego’s staff room and looked visibly unwell. He went home with staff member and veterinary nursing student Zoe, who then asked her father Nick Bolster to take him to an out-of-hours veterinary clinic.

Bolster said staff discovered the cat had a microchip and made phone calls trying to find the owner.

“I’m not sure what happened there… they bought the cage we put him in. He looked like he was in a lot of pain and was breathing very shallowly. One of the veterinarians came out, looked at him and said, “We’re going to help him move to another place.”

Ponsonby businesses that have cared for the cat in recent years are discussing possible farewell and commemoration plans, including a permanent brass plaque.


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