Wednesday, 01 August 2018 14:53

Tributes after death of feline celebrity

Written by
Paula Gabb and Millie in happier times Paula Gabb and Millie in happier times
Paula Gabb says her much-celebrated cat Millie – known locally as Barnet’s “library cat” and latterly “Waitrose” cat – has died “peacefully” after being poorly for some time with a thyroid problem.

Millie, a 17-year-old tabby, regularly stationed herself outside the Waitrose entrance in the Spires shopping centre and made friends with countless shoppers and passers-by.

Such was her love of adventure that she mastered the walk across the Stapylton Road zebra crossing, regularly stopping the traffic as she went from the library across to the Spires or returned to her home in Carnarvon Road.

Ms Gabb said that Millie had been on medication for some months after being diagnosed with a thyroid condition.

“She had improved in recent weeks, but I knew she didn’t have long, and she passed away peacefully.

“She will be sadly missed by me, my sons, and all the lovely people to whom she gave so much joy, love and amusement. RIP dear Millie.”

A trip to Waitrose will never be the same again

Tributes to Millie on the Nextdoor community website express sadness at the passing of a “real local character” who so loved attention – and the odd tin of cat food, despite all Ms Gabb’s efforts to persuade kind-hearted people not to give her food.

“A trip to Waitrose will never be the same again,” said one admirer expressing her sorrow at Millie’s death.

Millie first gained notoriety when she became a regular visitor to Barnet library, often settling down in a comfortable chair for a quiet snooze away from the excitement of the dogs that Ms Gabb cared for.

Once the library closed for alterations and new security procedures were introduced, she became a regular visitor to the Spires, and was not averse to making her way to the Waitrose fish and meat counter – only to be hustled out by the manager.

On other occasions she could be found having forty winks in other nearby shops.

Most recently she started venturing further afield waiting to greet customers outside the KFC Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant or Harry’s the butchers.

Such was Millie’s fame that she has three YouTube videos to her name and has had hundreds of likes on Nextdoor and Facebook.

No doubt the consensus among Millie’s many admirers will be relief that she died peacefully rather than meeting a sticky end crossing the road.

Ms Gabb has already started writing Millie’s biography – she says so many people have asked her to tell the story of a very special cat.




  • Comment Link Thursday, 31 January 2019 15:35 posted by Sally

    Can we get local sculptor John Somerville to create a sculpture of Millie for the Spires?

  • Comment Link Thursday, 31 January 2019 17:28 posted by Jo

    Rest in peace beauty. Xxxx. Read rainbow bridge

  • Comment Link Thursday, 31 January 2019 19:32 posted by Stephen

    Terribly sad news. What a lovely, friendly and intelligent cat she was. Will never forget seeing her use the zebra crossing by the library. Barnet will never be the same.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 31 January 2019 19:44 posted by Ruth Lederman

    I agree a campaign of a sculpture or plaque in memory of Millie should be started.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 31 January 2019 20:05 posted by Mandy

    She will be so missed. Beautiful cat with such a huge personality xxx

  • Comment Link Thursday, 31 January 2019 20:20 posted by Mrs Greenwood

    I am deeply saddened by news of millie passing away. She brought a smile to people's face and lifted our spirits just seeing her sitting so cute outside Waitrose. Spires will never be the same without our beloved millie . Rip xxxxx

  • Comment Link Thursday, 31 January 2019 21:24 posted by Athena

    R.I.P little millie you will be very much missed xxxx

  • Comment Link Thursday, 31 January 2019 22:04 posted by Stephen

    Here is the lovely Barnet cat in action:

    Just want to check, is it "Milly" (see this story: or "Millie" (see this one:

    Definitely agree that there should be a sculpture by way of tribute to her.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 31 January 2019 23:05 posted by Linda martin

    I only met her the once just before Christmas. Such a placid cat .didn't know her name at first. My sister knew her as from driving buses and on a break stopped go make a fuss. I hope we can get a statue of her outside Waitrose. MILLIE you made a big impact on me .may you always be remembered as MILLIE THE BARNET SPIRES CAT. Rest in peace Millie.

  • Comment Link Friday, 01 February 2019 07:29 posted by Christine

    Loved seeing Millie and giving her a stroke when I went to Waitrose, she was a very special cat and I will miss her. I think a statue is a lovely idea

  • Comment Link Friday, 01 February 2019 08:51 posted by Marcin

    Very sad news

  • Comment Link Friday, 01 February 2019 10:08 posted by rob

    Oh, this is such sad new. My wife and I loved seeing Milly when we visited the spires, she always made us smile

    Sallys idea of a sculpture is a wonderful idea - If there is a fund set up to make it happen I will happily donate (could Barnet Society set up so its 'official'?).

  • Comment Link Friday, 01 February 2019 18:20 posted by Jean

    I had stopped at the zebra crossing for her on more than one occasion and had the pleasure of meeting with her in the spires, a lovely girl - sounds like she had a wonderful life x RIP Millie x

  • Comment Link Saturday, 02 February 2019 09:56 posted by Norma and Tim

    We read in The Times of Millie's demise. Where else? Not the Barnet Times but THE Times. I hope they print her obit - she deserves it. She was a legend. End of an era but so happy to have known her. Her presence will always be felt outside Waitrose (and, latterly, the Vaping Shop and Harry's the Butchers!). May she rest in peace with our dear cats as she has now expanded her territory to include Heaven.Thank you, Millie, for the joy you brought to the residents of Barnet.RIP x

  • Comment Link Saturday, 02 February 2019 10:19 posted by rob

    an update to my post earlier - millies owner setup a fund for a statue - here:

  • Comment Link Saturday, 02 February 2019 11:08 posted by JB

    So sad to hear of Millie's passing
    I am not a "cat petson" but she won my heart.
    This morning , on my trip to the Spires, it didn't feel the same knowing Millie was not there ....very sad.

  • Comment Link Monday, 04 February 2019 11:32 posted by Judy Smith

    The truth about Milly.
    I moved to Barnet 6 years ago, when there were friendly little shops inside the Spires, the lovely shaded arched entrance, its shiny cobbled stones, the well maintained flowers and little trees, the small coffee shops with mothers chatting, little children playing in the play area and watching the muppet show.
    Milly the cat was always there in the middle, happy, greeting children and adults alike, letting herself be petted and occasionally being fed treats.
    The passing away of Milly marks the end of the friendly local Spires, with the closing down of small local independent shops giving way to big corporate chains. Her death symbolises the end of Barnet as we know it and the beginning of a de-humanised, cold, new commercial Spires.
    She died searching for the human warmth and pleasant surroundings she was used to for years. She died disappointed in not finding her usual cosy spots.
    I saw Milly soon after Spires lost its local character, after the cobbled stones were gone and many of the little shops had closed down. It was heartbreaking to see her curled up on the cement. No longer were bowls of water left out for her anymore.
    The death of Milly the cat marks the end of the Spires as we knew it, with characterless chains taking over. The local shops are all gone or on their way out.
    Why is nobody complaining?
    It is shocking that the weekly town food market is now being replaced by a cheap hotel, in line with the Spires' new owner's plan to increase their income, to the detriment of the local community. The cold and characterless, commercial environment they are creating, with cheap chain shops and big low budget restaurants, common for out-of-town developments but not for the centre of a small town.
    All this only to increase their profits, yet without any consideration for the well-being of the local community.
    Barnet high street is now a victim of the fast money hungry developers profiting from a new easy planning permissions policy.
    The high street green spots are now being filled with new buildings, the existing buildings have floors added, or demolished in order to produce new apartments for sale.
    Worryingly the town is losing its character and will keep getting worse.
    The small shops have no support from the council to help them survive, and cherished outlets are being closed one after the other, unable to afford the increasing rents.
    Milly’s death is a warning call for Barnet’s residents. Where are they and why is nothing being done to protect their town and life-style?
    A concerned Barnet resident"

  • Comment Link Monday, 04 February 2019 16:37 posted by paula gabb

    Hello everyone.

    i am Millies owner, and have just been reading all the wonderful comments on here... I have also received 180 messages on Nextdoor, and 24 likes. On facebook hundreds of messages have been received, its been overwhelming...

    One thing is clear, she touched so many peoples hearts in so many ways , a small cat with a huge personality, a legend, a very intelligent cat, are just a few comments !

    People have asked for something in Millies memory. A statue, a plaque, a bench with a plaque have been the main suggestions. Because of this i set up a Go Fund Me fundraising page, Millie, The Spires Cat...To date people have donated 1,700 which is amazing !!

    I am meeting with the Spires Manager this week, and any funds left over once the memorial has been agreed, will be donated to the RSPCA at Southridge where dear Millie originally came from aged 3...

    Thank you to everyone who has kindly donated.

    i will keep people updated, once i know !


  • Comment Link Tuesday, 05 February 2019 21:23 posted by Nancy

    Amazing how a small feline could bring so much happiness and warmth to the world. More than many humans can do. RIP Milly will miss you on my trips to the Spires.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 06 February 2019 14:59 posted by Bob Jacobson

    Of course she let us all adore her in the hall outside the Waitrose. But on one of the last times I bumped into her Millie was heading into the clothing store I was also entering. She proceeded right to the back room and I mentioned her presence to the clerk. "Oh yes," she said, "she comes often". I wonder if Millie was ever more distant from home than the Spires?

    P.S. I have known a few wonderful Millies, and the first was my mother.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published
All comments are moderated so there is a delay before you see them on the site
The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Barnet Society