Best celebrity cat: Norm Lopez

Photo by ryan donahue

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He's chubby. He's furry. He's the international phenomenon who spends his days sprawled across the sidewalk on 14th Street between P and Q streets.

Norm Lopez, the 26-pound feline of the central city’s Friends of Norm Pub Crawl fame, has gained quite the following this summer, thanks to a local feature story on him picked up by the Associated Press.

According to Norm’s human and social-media representative, Tyler Lopez, Norm’s Facebook page has ballooned from around 500 friends early in the summer, to more than 5,000. His new fans hail from all corners of the globe: Brazil, Scotland, Malaysia, Germany, Switzerland, China, Italy and, most recently, France.

“I’m learning how to spell ’meow’ in all kinds of languages,” said Tyler.

Tyler first got Norm in January 2011, when the cat made it clear to her that he preferred to be an outdoor one. Over time, Tyler noticed Norm harnessing attention from neighbors, with passersby consistently stopping to wish him good day. That’s when she decided to host the first Friends of Norm barbecue celebration, which about 40 of the cat’s closest buddies attended.

This year, however, Tyler realized that Norm had just too many friends for a simple barbecue, so she created the Friends of Norm Pub Crawl, a celebration that took place on August 31, from which a portion of proceeds went to the Front Street Animal Shelter.

The neighborhood crawl also featured a $2 raffle that included prizes donated from local businesses, such as The Red Rabbit Kitchen & Bar, Dad’s Kitchen, Magpie Cafe, and Chocolate Fish Coffee.

Asked how the 12-year-old fat cat is handling his newfound fame, Tyler played it cool.

“Oh, he’s fine. He’s relaxed,” she said. “Nothing really out of the norm … for Norm.”