The mysterious case of Auckland’s upwardly mobile celebrity cats

As revealed on The Real Pod this week, cats Brian and Christine Rice-Green are having a second chance at living with New Zealand TV royalty.

In a shock twist straight out of any M. Night Shyamalan thriller, The Spinoff has learned that the feline friends of Matilda Rice and Art Green are not who they claim to be. The two ragdoll cats, Brian and Christine, became the toast of the social pages last year when adopted by The Bachelor NZ’s royal couple, but it would appear that this is not their first rodeo in the public eye.

In fact, The Spinoff understands that the pair once enjoyed a life of luxury under the care of Sally Ridge and Jaime Ridge, stars of The Ridges, crafting legends and large instagram-havers. A listener of reality TV podcast The Real Pod sent through the following pieces of compelling evidence that suggest Brian and Christine once enjoyed life as Tommy and Coco… Ridge.

Exhibit A: “Tommy” and “Coco” on Jaime Ridge’s Instagram, 2013

Jaime Ridge can clearly be seen here referring to Brian and Christine, nee Tommy and Coco, as her “babies”. Indeed, they would have been ~one year old here. Pay particular attention to the brown patch covering Coco’s face.

Exhibit B: “Tommy” and “Coco” on Sally Ridge’s Instagram, 2014

Brian (Tommy) can clearly be seen here attempting to stop Sally Ridge from leaving the house by sitting on her shoes. You’ll notice Coco’s brown splotch has darkened and grown. Also note Tommy’s grumpy face. 

Exhibit C: Tommy and Coco on The Lonely Miaow Facebook page, 2017

Perhaps after such an aggressive move by Brian (Tommy), the pair were put up for adoption through The Lonely Miaow in September 2017. (The Ridges and the Lonely Miaow have not responded to requests for comment).

“CoCo has always lived with her brother Tommy – also a ragdoll,” read the entry on the Lonely Miaow. “They are looking for a lovely forever home that would like to take both of them together.”

The pair found that forever home – and their second chance at fame – that very same week. “We’ve been thinking of adopting a cat for a while, when my friend sent me a screenshot of these two beautiful cats up for adoption on the Lonely Miaow website called Tommy and Cocoa,” Matilda Rice wrote on her blog. “I instantly fell in love… Since they were brother and sister, we couldn’t really split them up, so we ended up adopting them both.”

Brian and Christine on Matilda Rice’s blog – grumpy face, brown splotch intact

Brian and Christine were instantly propelled to fame – again – following the adoption. “We adopted the most beautiful cats in all the land!” Rice gushed on her Instagram story, which featured a still irate-looking Brian (Tommy) walking away from the camera – perhaps in an attempt to conceal his identity. “Meet Brian and Christine.”

It is currently unclear what caused Brian and Christine to be emancipated from the Ridge dynasty and eventually put up for adoption through an organisation dedicated to rehoming “stray and abandoned” cats. We are able to confirm that the cats were still in Sally Ridge’s care in June of 2016, as reported in this story about The Ridge’s infamous ‘mouse in the kitchen’ scene.

Current co-owner Matilda Rice described the secret identities of her cats as being “news to me,” when first approached by The Spinoff. However, after being presented with the above exhibits, she was left stunned by the dramatic and devastating reality. “It is 100% them,” Rice exclaimed, “what the hell!”

When asked if either of the cats had demonstrated a penchant for arts and crafts around the home, Rice said “not particularly.” It would appear there were no other behavioural remnants from their previous life on the Ridge estate, apart from one major clue.

“No wonder they turn their nose up at Whiskas,” Rice mused. “They’ve grown up on caviar.”

Please listen below and subscribe to The Real Pod for more updates on this developing story:


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