As Mary Shustack noted, we are feline-smitten in April WAG, in part because we’ve always enjoyed cultural cats. Hello Kitty is such a fave that we have a Hello Kitty boom box, alarm clock, journal, handbag – well, you get the idea. (You have to love a girl who has an elaborate wardrobe, a compliant boyfriend, Dear Daniel, and jets around without really doing anything. Hello Kitty is the Barbie of kitties.)
Another fave is poor Sylvester, who never seems to outsmart Tweety (“I Thought I Thaw a Puddy Tat” Pie.
Susan Katz – founder of Hudson Valley Pet Food Pantry and wife of WAG copy editor Peter Katz – is, along with her husband, the parent of three felines featured in our March issue. She was kind enough to share some of her thoughts on her feline fascination:
When asked what I like about cats, I had to stop and think about it. I had always grown up with dogs and never had a cat until I was in my 30s and had gotten married to a “cat person.”
We became a cat and dog family. I had one dog; my husband had one cat. I never really became close with his cat and, after my dog died, I felt a bit “alone,” so to speak. I didn’t have my own “furry friend.” As fate would have it, my daughter had two cats at the time – Antony & Cleo (as in Cleopatra). She was moving and couldn’t take them so she asked me if I’d “adopt” them. Being an animal lover, of course I said yes. So, they came to live with us and that was my introduction to the world of cats. I found them to be total opposites – Cleo being nonchalant and to herself, and Antony being totally friendly and playful. I took to them right away. Then, my other daughter, who lived in Florida, had to give up her cat (whose name was Other Cat – long story). I offered to bring Other Cat up to New York and carried him on the plane with me. He was a tiny Angora cat – about 6 pounds and very lovable. He loved to sit on my lap and even slept in bed with us (although he did snore quite a bit). That’s when I became hooked on felines.
Since then, we’ve had several others, all rescued from shelters. We’ve been through very tough times with them. Cleo had a brain tumor and had to have surgery. Other Cat developed kidney failure and had to have fluids twice a week (but he lived to 21). And, most recently, our Silly Moo (black-and-whit Tuxedo cat) developed what we believe was cancer and left us at only 13.
Presently, we have three cats – Cocoa Puff (Calico and Main Coon combo), Daphne (black) and Leopold (orange). They’re my children and I take care of them as I would children. They have their own personalities and are wonderful company when I’m home alone. They even make sure I’m up by 5:30 a.m. to feed them.
Our cats are a wonderful part of our family. I talk to them, comb their fur, cut their nails and give them treats. I think they understand some of what I say to them. They are there to sooth me when I’m anxious or fearful, and they’re there to make me laugh when they carry on together. I blink my eyes at them frequently. That’s supposed to tell them you love them. I’m sure they know I do.
In 2010, I founded the Hudson Valley Pet Food Pantry. We give free pet food to needy families. I’m an animal lover and want to be sure those who are financially struggling are able to properly feed their pets.
I’m convinced I’ll always have cats. They are good company, don’t have to be walked and are funny and charming. But above all, they’ll love and trust you until the day they go over that rainbow bridge.
For more, visit hvpetfoodpantry.org.