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Bowie the "gangster cat" is putting his racketeering days behind him.
The fearsome feline, who has reigned Mafia-style over Lawrence’s main street for the past three years, will no longer be extorting tidbits and pats from local business owners and passers-by with his persuasive purrs, as owner Tracey Henderson and family complete a move to nearby Waitahuna.
However, Mrs Henderson said it appeared Bowie - named for his rock-star-like bicoloured eyes - would be missed by his adoptive town, despite his chequered past, and occasionally grumpy ways.
"When we came down from Auckland three years ago, Bowie quickly became a bit of a local celebrity.
"He’s actually a South Auckland boy, and a bona fide gangster. When we adopted him from a friend, he pretty soon hopped over the fence and took on the neighbours’ rottweilers, then came back with his tail stripped.
Mrs Henderson said Bowie had previously shied away from having his chest rubbed.
"A bullet had been lodged in his chest for who knows how long; so he eventually came home minus a tail - and a piece of lead."
When his story spread in Lawrence, his notoriety - and a life of treats - was assured.
"He’s a law unto himself, and basically pretty social, although he’ll let you know if you’re in trouble.
Those grateful for his "protection" included the local bakers, vet, former butcher, and several local cafes.
"Joking aside, I know people are going to miss him. We’ve had several requests just to let him stay and roam, or to bring him in every now and again."
Mrs Henderson said instead Bowie was slowly being familiarised with his new country estate, where he remained safely inside for the time being.
"Who knows? You just wouldn’t put it past him to stroll back into town and take up where he left off."