I’m back!! For those of you who don’t know me from my 10 years at Bay News 9 in Tampa, Florida, welcome to the musings of a ‘crazy cat lady.’ Actually, my crazy extends to all animals, but somehow I ended up with a home full of stray, feral, medically unstable cats, so ‘crazy cat lady’ fits the bill best. I recently got out of TV news and now I’ve teamed up with the great folks at SPCA Tampa Bay as their new Social Media Consultant and one of my missions is to promote a wonderful initiative called Adopt-a-human. The goal is simple: to let people know that cats are perfect companions for everyone, from college students and young families to lonely senior citizens. Unfortunately, there are far more cats than dogs at SPCA Tampa Bay waiting for that forever home, but *you* can now help spread the word and find them those homes. I’ll be writing a blog each week for the Adopt-a-human Facebook page about the five cats that have adopted me during my adult life and how much love, fun, and general merriment they bring to my life. I’d like you all to join me! Write *your* cat story on the Facebook page and tell the world how being adopted by your cat has changed your life. Or, if your cat insists, let them write the blog so they can brag about how much joy and happiness they brought into your heretofore sad, pathetic lives. (Their words, not mine!) It can be be a long story or short one, cute or sentimental, we just want you to help us spread the cat love! Be sure to invite your cat family friends to join us as well and have them become a fan on Facebook at http://bit.ly/adoptahumanfacebook and http://bit.ly/spcatampabayfacebook .
So, I’ll start this week with some background info on how I came to be adopted by each of my kitties. I grew up in a very loving home where taking in strays was a common occurrence, so it was no surprise that I developed an incredibly strong stray-dar. (I totally made up that word and here’s my definition: someone who draws strays to them like metal to a magnet.) My first homeless friend came to me in college, courtesy of a loser ex-boyfriend of mine who had showered me with, um, NOTHING, on my birthday. He knew he was in the doghouse, so what better gift to get him out of it than a little tuxedo kitten he stumbled across while delivering pizza? I gave that boyfriend the boot not long afterward but happily kept Rhett around. He’s named after Rhett Butler from ‘Gone with the Wind’ and much like his namesake, my Rhett is dashing, debonair and a bit dangerous.
Ally came into our lives next. My husband, Nick and I were involved in a long-distance relationship and I thought a sweet little stray from a shelter would help keep him company between weekend flights to see each other. Ally caught Nick’s eye immediately and though she wasn’t the sharpest knife in the bunch, she was clever enough to hide her neuroses long enough for us to fall in love with her and sign the adoption papers before she completely lost it in the car. (That is a whole other story for another day.) I’m incredibly sad to say that Ally recently passed away, but happy that she spent 15 wonderful years with us and left us with countless good memories to remember her by.
Our perfect little Persian, Louie, joined the family a few years later thanks to the perfect storm of an incredibly bad day stuck in a news live truck for hours with only an old newspaper to banish the boredom. Flipping through the pet ads, this smushed little face jumped out at me with the tag-line “Free Persians to a good home.” A pleading phone call to the husband, a long drive to what I’ll charitably call ‘the country’, and an instant connection with a ball of fur with eyes that wouldn’t stop trying to climb my leg, that ‘good home’ was found.
At that point, my husband drew a line in the sand saying ‘NO MORE CATS.” I sweetly agreed while surreptitiously feeding and taming a feral cat that was living behind the TV station. Sweetie (named by a fellow crazy cat lady at work) had been dubbed the ‘dumpster cat’, since he was pretty bedraggled, scarred up from fighting and missing half his tail hair. Of course, that just made me love him even more. So when the station announced we were moving into a new building, I knew I had to take Sweetie with me. Selling Nick on a feral cat with a mangled tail was pretty hard. Even harder? Getting Sweetie to the house. I’ll spare you the details for now but I will tell you it involved tranquilizers, a ripped shirt and a big ol’ fence.
With four cats running around, (and a dog chasing after them,) there is never a dull moment in our house. I’m looking forward to sharing my cat stories with you each week here at Adopt-a-human and I’m looking forward to hearing all about the fun hi-jinks that the Bay Area’s cats get up to. Also, if you know of a human looking to be adopted, please send them to www.spcatampabay.org, where many wonderful cats are just waiting to find that perfect match!