“My name is Princess. I may not have a brightly coloured coat but there’s nothing more classic than black! And I may be a few hairballs older than a kitten, but I still have my moments of madness and mischief! Most importantly, I’m not too old for love! I can prove it if you let me. I’m a phenomenal kisser and an even better face rubber! So to sum it up, I’m a princess named Princess overflowing with purr-sonality and custom kisses, patiently waiting to fall in love again! Could you be the object of my future affections? I’m well worth the drive to Port Hope!”
It’s been two years since I stumbled across Tails Up Pet Food in beautiful Port Hope where I met the pet shop’s fifteenth shelter cat up for adoption. Angel was a kitten who took her position as store security quite seriously. I won’t soon forget how thorough she was inspecting my shopping bag that day. It didn’t matter that she wasn’t really an employee. Store owners, Dennis and Amy, couldn’t deny her the title, at least until Angel’s adoption day. I’m sure she’s still doing a fine job conducting random searches of her people’s personal belongings. You can’t take the rent-a-cop out of the cat!
Dennis and Amy have lost count of how many cats they’ve happily re-homed for their local animal shelter since opening their store three years ago, but it’s over 40. Clearly, the program is a huge success. The couple takes one cat at a time which gives each adoption hopeful the opportunity to shine brightly for every customer who walks through the door. Nevertheless, a recent addition to their family has been appointed Therapy Kitty for the shelter cats and he’s doing wonders as their personal in-store agent. The 12-week-old, black-and-white kitten, who they aptly named Tails, showed up at their door one day and never left.They can’t help but think he was heaven-sent, despite his devilish ways. Tails possesses remarkable marketing skills if you can overlook the chaos that follows his every move. He’s just annoying enough to get the shy ones out of their hiding places, if only to take a paw-swipe at him in protest. Tails will do whatever it takes to get his latest client out of the shadows and into the spotlight. Admittedly, he’s got his work cut out for him with Princess.
Aside from a black cat named Jewel who stayed six weeks before finding a forever home given her untimely arrival close to Halloween, Princess is taking the longest to match. It’s been two months since she arrived from the shelter. Back then, she was badly matted with a terrible case of dander likely originating from a flea infestation. Despite the discovery of a microchip, she was never reunited with an owner. Sadly, the chip led to a vacant rental property so the consensus is she was abandoned.
“She’s got everything going against her,” said Dennis. “Most people prefer the colourful cats such as Calicos, Tabbies and Tortoiseshells. She’s also long-haired and people worry about excessive shedding but with good grooming and nutrition, long hair doesn’t have to be a negative. But she’s also an older cat.”
As a lover of senior pets, I’ll never understand that being a bad thing. The older, the wiser I say! So Princess sees the pointlessness of chasing her own tail or unraveling a ball of yarn. What’s wrong with that? Of course, she’s set in her ways. She prefers to ‘tolerate’ Mr. Therapy Kitten rather than befriend him but she’s got plenty of admirable qualities to purr about nonetheless!
Given her timid personality, there’s no denying Princess is making good use of her kitty condo in the store window. Truth be told, it’s more of a three-tiered palace complete with a top floor luxury hammock thanks to Dennis and his handiwork. He likes to spoil the adoption candidates. He’s currently working on carpeting a support post in the store for their ultimate climbing pleasure.
Back to those admirable qualities Princess possesses…with a little prodding from her annoying, yet highly motivational marketing agent, Princess will indeed venture from her palace when the mood strikes her. First, she’ll take a retaliatory swipe at Tails’ tail as he usually deserves it, and then she’ll stretch, purr and visit with the customers. I was especially fortunate. Not only did she emerge from her fortress, she planted herself right on my lap! I swear cats know when you’re allergic. But I held off on my sneezes so Princess could do what she pleases. This included some unexpected yet adorably gentle little love nibbles on my fingers! That’s when my heart melted. Princess is no standoffish brooding curmudgeon of a cat too old for love. She’s an affectionate black beauty that deserves a lifetime of affection in return. I don’t suspect she’d ever complain if there was a pea under her bed cushions either.
From one classic Black Beauty tale to another, I hope this story ends the same — “my troubles are over, and I am finally home” — from Anna Sewell’s book, Black Beauty.
*Special shout-out to two wonderful sponsors of this adoption program: Blue Buffalo for providing quality food to the adoption hopefuls during their store stay, and Earth-Rated for stocking their promoters with the best environmentally friendly poop bags on the planet!