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Cat-awissa feline stars in new Tom Hanks movie

Schmagel the cat stars in the new Tom Hanks movie "A Man Called Otto." Newswatch 16's Nikki Krize caught up with the famous feline and his owner.

CATAWISSA, Pa. — Britany Hufnagle Long, of Catawissa, has been an animal lover for as long as she can remember.

Seven years ago, she found two kittens outside of a Sheetz Convenience Store and knew she had to rescue them.

"They were teeny-tiny little kittens at the time. Luckily my husband was ok with the idea of me bringing them home and springing them on him," Hufnagle Long said.

Britany named the kittens Schmagel and Schmiscuit.

Both were very friendly and social, especially Schmagel, the male.

"With my daughter being born, and she was kind of playing with him a lot, and he was really into that. Those sorts of things really led to thinking, let's see what he could do farther than that," Hufnagle Long said.

Hufnagle Long owns Hill Crest Canine Country Club, which is a grooming and dog boarding facility in the Catawissa area.

She also competes in dog shows, which is where she was approached by an animal acting agent.

Over the years, some of Hufnagle Long's pets have appeared in television shows, but recently Schmagel got his big break.

He has a large role in the movie "A Man Called Otto," starring Tom Hanks.

"The cat is a person, well, an animal that he tends to bond with and form a relationship with," Hufnagle Long said.

Hufnagle Long and Schmagel spent several months in Pittsburgh filming alongside Tom Hanks.

"He was fabulous. He treated people like he wants to be treated. He's very friendly. More so like family, I guess, at that point than someone else that you would just randomly see," Hufnagle Long said.

And that wasn't Schmagel's first time in front of the camera; he's been in a number of TV shows and has no plans on stopping.

"We did American Horror Story series with the animals this summer. He was in that as well, so we're always doing different projects," Hufnagle Long said. "He'll keep going as long as he wants to."

Britany says as soon as Schmagel is ready to retire from the big screen, he will be able to.  

In the meantime, if anyone wants to meet him and get a "paw-tograph," Schmagel will be at the Lewisburg Children's Museum on Saturday, February 11.

NOTE: An earlier version of this story stated that Schmagel will be at the Bloomsburg Children's Museum on Saturday, but that is incorrect.

See more pets and animal stories on WNEP’s YouTube playlist.

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