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Crash, the one-eyed cat, won Cadbury Chocolate's 2023 Easter Bunny Tryouts

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Easter Sunday is, for many, an occasion for spiritual celebration. But pretty much everybody gets in on the chocolate, maybe a visit from the Easter Bunny or this year, the Easter Kitty.

(SOUNDBITE OF CAT MEOWING)

SIMON: Crash, a one-eyed cat who was once a stray is the winner of Cadbury Chocolates 2023 Easter Bunny tryouts, a contest that is pointedly not limited to bunnies.

(SOUNDBITE OF COMMERCIAL)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Everyone wants to be the Cadbury Bunny.

SIMON: He had some tough competition, not including BJ Leiderman, who writes our theme music. There was Cyprus, the beaver, Bunny, the dog, of course, Pink, the duck, and Stewie, an impossibly cute miniature horse. But Crash is a charmer who can high-five, strut through hoops and, as it turns out, hold a pose like the Mona Lisa.

PATTY CUTLER: Well, one of the things they had to do was they had to look at the camera for a certain number of seconds. I think it was, like, I don't know, 30 seconds or something. And they had to keep looking at the camera, which for an animal is a long time (laughter) to have them sit there and do that. But he did.

SIMON: That's Patty Cutler, executive director of the Simply Cats nonprofit shelter. She rescued the orange-and-white cat on the road at the site of a car accident, hence Crash's name. He lost an eye in that accident, but his personality is apparently undimmed.

CUTLER: He really doesn't meet a person he doesn't like. He's just a very outgoing cat, which, if you know cats, is not typical.

SIMON: Crash's commercial has delighted viewers across the country, people now turn out to see him - so many, in fact, that...

CUTLER: We decided this week that we had so many people that wanted to meet him that we have set up some meet-and-greets. So he's actually got appointments with people all week to come in and meet him (laughter).

SIMON: Crash has perhaps helped the candy company, who's recognized his pluck and spirit, but also Patty Cutler to continue her shelter. The $5,000 prize will support Simply Cats with veterinarian supply expenses that go towards rescuing cats like Crash. Patty Cutler believes that Crash's celebrity inspires an appreciation for pets who may look just a little different - one-eyed, bunny-eared or both.

CUTLER: They're all worth saving when you can do it.

SIMON: A fine message to hear on a holiday weekend, for sure.

(SOUNDBITE OF JOHN FAHEY'S "ORINDA-MORAGA") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Simon
Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.
Lennon Sherburne