"Once the Pope had prayed, he saw the cat and smiled delightedly and came over and he started to talk to him. He said, 'aren’t you pretty, aren’t you pretty? What’s his name? How old is he?’ Then he stroked him, tickled him under the ears and shook Pushkin’s paw. At that point the cardinals all rushed in and started taking photographs."
Fr Anton said Pushkin had received a stream of fan mail since the encounter. "He had a letter from Canada from a priest who also had a cat called Pushkin who sadly died. Then he had a nice card with an embroidered cat on it from a lady, and mail from some cats who live in a Carmelite convent in Wolverhampton."
Pushkin is also "a good friend" of Princess Michael of Kent, Fr Anton said. "They correspond and send Christmas cards to each other. He has added the Pope to his Christmas card list."