The councilman who tried to evict the cat attempted to remove the feline from the library one more time before leaving

By Cathy Free
Updated December 20, 2016 09:11 AM
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Browser the Library Cat still has nine lives to give, but one can’t say the same about a politician who wanted to give the popular feline the boot.

Former White Settlement, Texas, councilman Elzie Clements, who lost a bid for reelection in a landslide on Nov. 8 after trying to remove Browser from the town’s library this summer, tried again to put an item on the agenda before his last council meeting on Dec. 13th, banning the grey tabby.

“We told him, ‘No way — that’s not going to happen,” Mayor Ronald White tells PEOPLE. “We couldn’t believe he would even bring it up again. Everyone said, ‘Forget about it. We’re not touching that cat.'”

Instead, White, who is in his third year as mayor of the town of 18,000, decided to name the beloved feline “Library Cat for Life.”

“God willing, as far as I’m concerned, Browser is still employed and will stay at the White Settlement Public Library for as long as he lives,” says White. “The fact that (Clements) brought it up again is just mean-spirited. There are a lot more important things to debate in our city than whether to get rid of a cat in the library.”

Browser made international headlines last July after the City Council voted 2-to-1 to ban him from the library because they feared some patrons might have an allergic reaction to the bookish feline. The decision sparked backlash around the globe, with hundreds of scathing emails flooding city hall inboxes.

Ultimately, Browser received a reprieve, to the relief of library patrons, who have enjoyed visiting the cat since he showed up at the library six years ago as a stray and was adopted to help control a rodent problem.

“People love that cat,” Lillian Blackburn, president of Friends of the White Settlement Library, tells PEOPLE. “Imagine taking him out of this building after six years, when it’s all he knows. He struts around like he owns the place. It’s his home.”

Browser cuddles up next to children and allows them to read to him, says Blackburn, and he regularly makes an appearance at a knitting class, intrigued by the yarn.

But he especially enjoys yarns of another variety.

“He loves to hang out around the books and wander between the shelves,” she says. “He’s such a gentle soul — people adore him. And if somebody does have an allergy, all they have to do is call the library and they’ll put him in a back room for a while, so they can come in. As far as I’m aware, there haven’t been any problems. Cats and books seem to go together somehow.”

Calendars featuring Browser are sold every year to help pay for his food and veterinary visits, adds Mayor White, who admits that the friendly feline is more popular than any politician.

“I go to the library occasionally, and Browser will jump up on the table to get petted, then jump down when he’s had enough and go somewhere else,” says White. “He’s very independent. Which of course, is always a good thing for a cat.”