BUSKER Tim Wheeler found the perfect way of luring in the crowds in 2009 – his sidekick Mr Pinky.

The 10-year-old ginger tabby cat fast became one of Oxford's most recognised faces as he faithfully sat alongside Mr Wheeler at his spot near St Michael at the Northgate Church in Cornmarket.

Regular bus users to the city got used to Mr Pinky sitting on the X40 when his owner made the twice-weekly trip from his home in Tilehurst, Reading.

This picture shows the pair on holiday in Swanage.

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Mr Wheeler, who played the harmonica, said he had rescued the stray cat eight years before after it 'just started following him around'.

He said: "Mr Pinky is a marvellous friend who I think likes protecting me. I take him everywhere and he is just like a pet dog, really.

"The bus journey takes about one hour and a half but it doesn't seem to faze him.

"He just happily sits there looking out of the window.

"Mr Pinky only moves if he needs the toilet, when he will jump down from his seat. I have a trolley which I push, and I keep his litter tray in there."

Mr Pinky was catnapped two years before but subsequently left outside Reading's Royal Berkshire Hospital. He was looked after by a nurse until the RSPCA reunited him with Mr Wheeler.