A cat stricken by allergies that led to him tearing his fur off has raised almost £40,000 for animal charities after becoming a global social media sensation. 

Five-year-old Morgan started attracting attention through pictures of him in the cute and colourful coats he wears to protect his skin. 

He now has a whole catalogue of “Morgan merchandise” that’s snapped up by dedicated fans from America to Australia. And owner Rhia Watson, from Norfolk, is thrilled that the fundraising efforts have seen him win Vets Now’s Pet of the Year Award. 

He has been presented with a trophy, a £500 Pets Pyjamas voucher and a bundle of goodies. 

Morgan the cat with his prize

“I’d never have dreamed that what started as a bit of fun to beat the boredom in lockdown could have done so much good,” said dental nurse Rhia, 43, who lives in Erpingham, near Aylsham. “It surprises me every day and I sometimes wonder if Morgan knows what people think of him. 

“It’s really satisfying to know this is helping little charities, and I was shocked but so happy at him winning this lovely award.” 

Rhia rescued Morgan, and twin brother Morris, as a three-week-old kitten in 2019. She didn’t realise Morgan had any problems until he suffered an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic during neutering and vets feared he wouldn’t survive. 

Morgan then had a reaction to flea medication and subsequently a whole host of other allergic issues showed up, including hay fever. Deodorant and air freshener sprays also trigger serious skin problems and are among a host of products which have had to be banned from the house. 

Desperate to stop him tearing at his fur, Rhia got him a small dog coat and it worked so well she now has a wardrobe of over 50. 

When she posted fun pictures on her Facebook during lockdown, she got so many comments she set up his own page. 

“He’s a born poser and he soon had friends all over the world following his little adventures in the garden and round the house,” said Rhia.    

“People were contacting me from everywhere and I had the idea of maybe printing a few calendars with pictures of him to sell for Christmas to help a local animal charity. 

“I ended up selling 250 and it was just the start of what has been an incredible adventure.” 

Morgan the cat lying on a couch

The calendar sales almost tripled the following year, and such is the demand Morgan now has hoodies, T-shirts, mugs, tea towels, hats and much more all bearing his coat-wearing pictures on them.    

Fans from Canada to New Zealand eagerly buy the merchandise and the funds raised have boosted the coffers of dozens of small animal charities. 

Initially, Rhia donated to Norwich charity Hallswood Animal Sanctuary but has since picked different charities across the country to help each month. 

She has also helped three cat charities in Cyprus having rescued a cat there two years ago, as well as fundraising for charities in Ukraine coping with cats left behind in the Russian invasion. 

Thankfully, ongoing medication and excluding products around the home have helped to keep Morgan’s allergies largely under control recently. 

“Despite his health problems he’s a very happy boy and a bit of a diva,” said Rhia, who has even had Morgan fans from America drop in to see him.  

“He’s very special to me, but it’s so strange to think that people all over the world idolise him.”