A stray Maine Coon called Leo became a millennial sensation in April of this year after starring in the 2019 remake of Stephen King’s Pet Semetary.
Leo plays Church (short for Winston Churchill), a playful cat that is one day killed after being run over by a passing truck. Church is buried in a Pet Semetary near to where his owners live. The day after burying the cat, owner Louis finds Church alive (but undead) in his garage.
The story of Church was allegedly inspired by Stephen King’s own experience of grief after his daughter’s cat was run over and killed. Back then however Naomi’s cat did not come back to life.
Although four different cats played Church throughout the film, Jarrett told Time Magazine that his Leo had the most amount of screen time. ‘The cat you see all across the different platforms, and in the trailer, almost any time he’s in in the undead makeup—that was Leo,’ he said.
Leo the Stray
Jarrett – a cinematic animal trainer – discovered Leo at an animal shelter. He was instantly impressed by the cat’s expression and demeanour. ‘He’s got this beautiful face,’ Jarrett recalled, ‘and these eyes that are so expressive.’
Once the filming was over Jarrett adopted the cat as his own. Leo’s Instagram account has over 19,000 followers and looks set now to remain as a memorial to the downed feline.
It was on the 30th May that Jarrett announced on Leo’s account the demise of his beloved cat. On a picture of Leo reclining on a bench in front of a glowing fire Jarrett wrote: 'Leo has passed away […] he will be forever missed […] may his star always shine bright.’
As principal 'poster cat' for the film the post seems perfectly in keeping.