A writer and actor has claimed he was refused two cats that 'desperately needed re-homing' because he was gay.
Alex Andreou, who runs the Sturdy Beggars Theatre Company, had travelled two hours to Hackney to adopt the cats after responding to an advert by a woman on Gumtree.
The pet owner didn't refuse outright but sent him a text message when he was ten minutes away informing him that she had decided to leave the cats with a neighbour instead.
According to a text exchange Mr Andreou posted on social media, he was asked 'how comes you're single, are you gay?'
He confirmed this was the case and asked if that was an issue.
The pet owner replied saying: 'I am religious so I strongly disagree with the lifestyle. I am sorry if I hurt your feelings.'
Mr Andreou, who lives in Bermondsey, wrote back: 'Darling, I've been beaten and called a "fa***t" since I was 8. My feelings are quite robust. And, yes, sorry is what precisely what you are.'
The owner of the cat then inquired: 'Are you not afraid of going to hell when you die?'
After sharing the exchange on Twitter Mr Andreou said 'What the f*** is wrong with people?'
He added: 'So I'm on the bus and I'm sobbing and people are staring at me because the truth is it hurts as much as when I was 8 years old.
'Followed by much loveliness from all of you, followed by the inevitable "you made this up for attention" trolling part of the cycle.'
He said he didn't want to 'name and shame' the 'hateful old lady' as 'that would make me a little more like her and I am nothing like her.'
Mr Andreou, who was born in Greece but now lives in London, was met with hundreds of supportive messages from well-wishers after his post went viral.
Author Peter Jukes told him: 'Oh Alex. You're going to heaven. Those guys are already in hell.'
Labour MP Stella Creasy said: 'Fwiw Alex that's horrifying, and if you want a kitten know @charlie_jale has some gorgeous ones in need of new home?'
The RSPCA also responded saying: 'We have lots of cats awaiting furever homes - perhaps we can help find you a feline friend?'
Despite the initial rejection there appeared to a happy ending as a few hours later, Mr Andreou tweeted to say a friend was going to pick up the cats for him on Thursday.
He said: 'I am so happy. I may then have to festoon the cats in Rainbow Flags and send her photos. Is there a company that makes pink litter? Pride cat bowls?'
He added that he was thinking of naming the cats 'Freddie Purrcury' and George Meowchael' and there would be 'cushions everywhere and a fridge full of protein'.
But he told his followers on Twitter today that his friend who was collecting the cats on his behalf had been informed the owner had performed a U-turn.
He said: 'She's been advertising for months and said she has rejected a lot of people, but only out of love for the cats. She also said the reason she used a stock photo is that she doesn't have a camera and all cats look the same.
'I told her that I reported her ad so it's taken down, alerted the police in case it's part of a scam and to get a f***ing life. And hung up.'