While England won’t be coming home with a World Cup trophy this year, the defeated soccer team will return to the U.K. with Dave the Cat — a friendly feline that won the hearts of players Kyle Walker and John Stones during the controversial championship in Qatar.
“He’s big now. He’s getting big,” said Stones during an interview posted on his Instagram page.
“I just fed him before I came here,” continued Stones. “I don’t know, the first day we got there, we’ve got like a little table around the corner. Next minute, Dave pops out. Then every night he’s there, sat, waiting for his food. But the other day, actually, he didn’t eat all his food.”
“We were a bit annoyed at him,” added Stones. “We think he’s getting a bit greedy.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup spurred enormous controversy after reports surfaced that at least hundreds of migrant workers died during construction of Qatar’s stadiums. Meanwhile, LGBTQ fans confronted fears of prison time for kissing publicly in the Islamic monarchy.
There was also a welcome amount of cat-related moments emanating from Qatar. Many appeared on the field during practice sessions for France, according to CNN. Staff for the Brazil team, meanwhile, grabbed a stray cat interrupting a news conference and dropped it from a table.
The England team initially announced that they would adopt Dave if they won the World Cup, according to the BBC. But after losing 2-1 to France in the quarterfinals Saturday, Walker and Stones — who play for Manchester United — were forced to reassess.
“He was just there one day, so we’ve just adopted him, me and Stonesy,” Walker told the Football Association’s official media channel. “Dave is welcome to the table…Some people really don’t like the cat, but I love him.”
Christened as such by Stones “because it’s just a good name,” Dave will have to endure four months in quarantine before he can be released to the feline-friendly duo back in Manchester.
“He had a little scrap with the other cat the other night,” said Walker during a press conference last week. “I think they’re fighting over territory and the food. But he’s doing well, and hopefully I can see to my promise where I said that he would come home with us if we was to win the World Cup.”