England’s unlikely World Cup mascot will be watching the Lionesses from his forever home as Dave the cat settles into his new surroundings.
While football might not have come home from Qatar, stray cat Dave did after the friendly feline became a firm favorite of the squad as he roamed freely around England’s Al Wakrah training base.
Manchester City duo John Stones and Kyle Walker were pictured with Dave on most evenings and the latter said the team would adopt the cat if Gareth Southgate’s men won the World Cup.
Despite their quarter-final exit at the hands of France, Dave was still given the chance to travel to the UK and was eventually rehomed by the Football Association’s media operations manager Anna Bush and her family.
“There was a discussion around Dave wanting to end up with a family with young children, so I put my hands up and volunteered and my children were absolutely delighted,” she told the PA news agency.
“They’ve never had a pet before and what’s the first pet to have! They (the players) are aware and delighted. He’s got a new home and a family to look after him.”
He left Al Wakrah in December, just two hours after the squad had departed for home, and headed to a veterinary clinic where he had blood tests and vaccinations.
After being in quarantine for months he was welcomed by his new family, instantly taking to his surroundings and showing he picked up a keen eye for football after his stint as England’s top cat.
While Dave lived the life of a stray during the men’s World Cup, he can watch the women attempt to follow up their Euros success from last summer in the comfort of his new home.
Even the Bush family has a way of making sure Dave – who now has his own Instagram page – is part of any success Down Under as he offers up his match predictions, with a little incentive to back Sarina Wiegman and her team.
“He has settled in so well,” added Bush.
“He loves the surrounding area and loves it in the sun – he is finding his feet and absolutely loves watching my two boys play football in the garden.
“One of them actually colored in both of the crests ahead of the Champions League and wanted Manchester City to win so he put a few treats down (on the City crest) and so Dave predicted that Man City were going to win the Champions League final and they did!
“Now we have to start doing that for the Women’s World Cup I suppose – bring on England on Saturday.”