Reading to the Kitties

I’m happy to report that the cats at the shelter are fun to hang out with! There weren’t a lot of cats the night we worked because the others, including all the kittens, had been adopted (yay!!!). We were able to play ball with the free roaming (in the cat room) cats. Henry and Bobbette were the big scorers. Four cats were in kennels. I didn’t know why at the time, but I have since gotten the low down. Two of them I could have let out while I was there. I feel bad that I didn’t, especially for the black cat who really seemed to want to interact more with me. The other two are too hard to get back in their kennels, and I wouldn’t have wanted to “go there” on our first visit. The reason two of them have to be kenneled when they are alone is because one of the other cats doesn’t leave them alone otherwise.

Then I read them three stories that were up on my WordPress reader at that time. I looked for story-stories that were appropriate for cats.  No 50 Shades of Grey allusions for these cats under my watch ;). I read “the bingo ladies of old / Tess Tales” by Kate Crimmins, “Hennie Kirstein’s Well” by Amos van der Merwe, and “Does Kindness Matter: My Grandmother’s Legacy of Love” by Kristin Shaw on the Kindness blog. I animated my voice and gently acted out the stories. This was the perfect order to read them in, too. All the cats were enthralled and finally, near the very end, they all curled up and went to sleep–tuckered out and happy.


The handsome guy above (even his belly has beautiful markings) is Henry. He’s the king of the room.

 The sweetheart above (she might have a bad eye or is cross-eyed, a bit) is Bobbette. A truly darling cat who loves to play.

The black and white medium-length coat above is Felix. He’s a little shy, but came right out when hubby and I played ball with Henry and Bobbette. He also loved the stories I read to him.

This is the cat room. There are a few kennels along the walls for cats who need to be in there for their own protection when humans are not there or when they are new and acclimating to the cat room. I feel bad that I didn’t let Nakana and Betty out of their kennels, but I wasn’t sure if I could at that time.

Nakana is an all-black beauty. She was so sweet and so desperately wanted me to like her. And I do!

And then Betty might be harder to put back in the kennel, but I suspect she’s like my Tiger, so I am willing to try.

Lest you think Betty is in a small kennel, this is a 3 level townhouse!

I can’t wait to go back. On Saturday, hubby drove the animals who didn’t get adopted home from PetSmart.

For those of you wondering how my dad is doing. He was back at the hospital, very weak, but they got him going again and now he has moved to a short-term rehab facility–very new and nice–and he sounds stronger and happy to be at this place. And guess what? The facility has a dog and a cat!!! 🙂

 Cat lives in the therapy room at my father’s short-term rehab nursing center


Filed under Arizona, Blogging, Cats and Other Animals, Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, Nonfiction, Photographs

45 responses to “Reading to the Kitties

  1. What a great post to read on a Monday morning (with one of my cats on my lap and kneading my bathrobe)! The cat playroom is great. The Petsmart shelter we adopted from was only a tiny room with cages. I know when my daughter volunteered there, she let some of the cats out, but they just ran around and played in that tiny area.
    Glad to hear your dad is doing better–and at a great facility with pets!

    • Aw, Merril, I love that I can picture your cat kneading your bathrobe! Yes, the tiny areas break my heart. I was so happy to see that this place has such a beautiful cat room. It does make it easier to spend time with them. Thanks re my dad, too . . . .

  2. I had a “Felix” – his name was Sailor and he was the best pet I ever had; passed away some six years ago and I still mourn his passing. Sailor was shy too – but liked to be close by, attentive to conversation we held as if saying: “yes, I follow, I’m listening too :D”

    • Ina, Sailor must have been a handsome guy! There is something about the strong silent handsome male cats! I’m so sorry your Sailor is gone, but grateful that you have happy memories of him.

  3. I’ve been dealing with a sick cat the last few days. Lots of clean up. My cats are no prizewinners – yowling at all hours, fighting with each other, waking us up by flopping on our heads and walking on us. On the other hand, when I’m reminded of where they came from (the humane society), I’m glad that we were able to give them a home.

    • Haha, no, they can’t be naughty. Yes, I am so glad you were able to give them a home, too. And they no doubt are grateful, although you have a mischievous crew.

  4. How wonderful!

  5. I’m happy to hear your dad is doing well and happy at his rehab facility, Luanne. That’s great news. 🙂 So, did you bring home any “new friends?”

    • Bite your tongue, Ms. Jill! No, I didn’t! Seriously, I feel very confident about not wanting to because my cats could not tolerate another cat here now. That keeps me from fretting.
      Today my father complained that they are treating him like a baby. Sigh.

  6. Glad to hear your dad is in a comfortable, caring place! Your photos of the cats are amazing–oh, those eyes!

    • Pam, aren’t they the most beautiful things though? Going back tomorrow! It’s such a relief that my father is in a good place. What a difference.

      • Are you able to do this good work and not bring home a cat? (We have a son who can’t walk out of a shelter without rescuing a pup…)

        • I never thought I could. However, right now all 4 of my cats are elderly and one has a lot of health problems and there is absolutely no way we could bring a new cat in here without really disturbing our cats. So it’s (for once) not an issue. Whew.

  7. Good to hear about your Dad. If I ever have to go to a rehab center for a stay, I want one with pets or I’ll go into a serious withdrawal. I’m so glad the kitties liked my story. Tomorrow I am posting about my cat Hazel. They may enjoy that one.

  8. Thanks for the photo-and-story update on the cats. They are beauties. Also, it’s good to know that your father has found someplace nice for rehab — with a cat and dog, no less!

    • Such beauties! What a relief that my father is there. He’s less than happy right now, but not nearly as unhappy as at the other place. Mainly he doesn’t want to be put on rules by an institution (so much like his daughter in that respect haha).

  9. Kev

    They’re all such beautiful darling! 😀

  10. Glad those little furry, four-footers are bringing you joy. What bliss they feel being readd to aloud!!

    Parallel lives as my 93-year-old aunt is making the ‘independent-hospital-rehab-assisted circuit as is your Dad. God Bless our wonderful caretakers who accompany and watch over them when we can’t always be there.

    • Sammy, I was thinking about that today. These people who try to make their lives better are so wonderful. Dad is in a good place now and they really care about him. Re the reading to kitties. I highly recommend it. It seemed to have a very good effect on them, and I honestly think that my own cats are so civilized because I talk to them and always acknowledge them when I walk past them, have manners with them, etc. I know it sounds funny, but it is what it is! So reading to the shelter cats does some of what that interaction with cats in my own house does.

  11. So sweet. I love that kindness piece by Kristen earlier this month. So wonderful. Glad you enjoyed your time and that Dad is doing well. xo

  12. You are really kind to do this for the cats. The world needs more like you.

  13. I think a health care centre that has in-house pets must be an exceptional place. Does your dad like the critters? The shelter you’re volunteering at looks like quite the place, too. The pink panther on the wall is perfect!

    • There are 2 of these short-term places in Kalamazoo, and I learned that both of them have animals. My friend used to visit her mother at the other one and bring her dogs to visit! Isn’t that pink panther hilarious? I love how there are so many resting and hiding places and toys to play with. Wahoo! Fun times for the kitties!

  14. Great pictures. It is fascinating to learn how your reading aloud soothed the cats. You are a gifted person in more ways than your writing.

    • What a lovely thing to say. I am about ready to say that this reading to cats is a huge success. I’ll see what happens tomorrow night when I read. But i think it’s like how I talk to own cats a lot and give them respect, as well. They respond well.

  15. Oh Luanne, so glad your dad is doing a bit better again and also has a cat at the rehab place, what a little cutie too! Eldest son and girlfriend have a black and cat called Betty, she is darling. Love the image of you reading stories to them all, they all look very content, I have to agree 🙂 My poor Maisy isn’t well at the moment, taking her to the vets later this afternoon. My daughter is really worried about her…hoping all will be well. Got to keep our babies happy…furry or otherwise 🙂 xo

    • And a big curly dog, too, at the short-term nursing!
      I’m so sorry about Maisy. That is so distressing. What is wrong? Please update me about her.
      Aw, your son’s Betty must be precious.
      Let me know about Maisy . . . . xoxo

  16. THey all look so sweet!

  17. I’d love to scoop all these cats up and give them a hug! I love cats, but my husband is horribly allergic (to dogs too), so we can’t have any. Whenever I visit my mother, I smother her cat with attention. The poor cat. Probably dreads my visits now. 😉

    Thanks for visiting my site. I appreciate it!

  18. This is both therapeutic to them, making them socialized and also, for you in turn. The photos of these sweet and beautiful creatures really cheered me up, Luanne. Your idea of reading to them is also an excellent suggestion and this sounds like a fun evening!

    • Robin, I got the idea from thinking about beginning readers reading to animals in the shelters–how it’s a benefit for the child and for the animals–and thought that maybe we’re overlooking reading as a way to socialize cats. And it definitely works. This last time I read them from Fresh Off the Boat, the book that inspired that new TV comedy. I had to censor, though, as there were a lot of words I wouldn’t read to cats ;).

  19. Love this post! What a wonderful way to give cats some TLC as well as socialize them. We have tuxedo similar to Bobette. Ours is named Maxine 🙂

    • Bobette is such a sweetie. A really really nice cat. She is a little cross-eyed and has a bobbed tail for some reason, so I worry that it will be hard for her to find a good home, but she would make someone a really ideal companion. I have a tuxedo, too! Mine is Pear Blossom. Too bad Maxine and Pear and Bobette can’t have a little cuppa together :).

      • Maxine is a chunky monkey too 😉 She seems predisposed to be plump. But at 11, she’s still pretty active and likes to treat our narrow hallways like a bobsled course and literally bounce her feet off the walls as she careens around the corners. Wish we could get that on video 🙂

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