A shortcut to happiness

In Loving Memory of Aunt Gail

KitTea CatsAkiko Iwamizu1 Comment

Aunt Gail

(circa 2002 - August 24, 2017)

It is with a very heavy heart that we report that Aunt Gail passed away this morning. Aunt Gail fought her battle with cancer with grace and a joy for life, and she outlived her life expectancy by 2 + months. She is/was a very special cat and we are filled with love when we think back on all of the lives she touched and the love she received from others.

Aunt Gail arrived at KitTea early this summer and truly made our cat cafe her home. She was our fastest acclimating cat in the space and she quickly claimed our suspended, furry swing as her personal throne. We look back fondly on her super loud and talkative attitude as she tried to get our attention to listen to her many life stories. While we don’t know much about her life before KitTea, we can only imagine it was full. She had lots to teach us!

From time to time, we would catch many of our resident kitties cuddling with Aunt Gail while she napped in her favorite swing/throne. Her favorite method of cuddling was taking her booty and squishing it against her cuddler’s head! These sweet and hilarious moments will remain in the memories of all who came to love her.

She was our first “old lady” hospice cat and we are thankful that she was able to live out the end of her long life full of pets, belly rubs, chit-chatting, eating, and purring. She left us sooner than we would have liked, but she was an independent lady who did things in her own time. She passed away surrounded by her loved ones from the KitTeam and her loving vet, Dr. Kelly.

Aunt Gail will be missed dearly, but we know that she’s in a better place now and that she went on her own terms. Thank you, Gail, for the stories and the lap loving. We wish you lots of wet food and snuggles over the Rainbow Bridge.

Spotlight on Buffy

KitTea CatsRyan AscoleseComment

If you've ever been to KitTea in the early afternoon, you may have witnessed a curious sight: Buffy, catapulting herself onto someone’s shoulders, then perching like a parrot.

Buffy is a tiny, spry black cat often mistaken for a kitten. She is both lighter and less long-bodied than her sister Shiloh, whom she was nearly identical to when they arrived at KitTea nine months ago. It is her small stature that makes her hopping habit possible into adulthood when many other growing kitties might have abandoned it.

Once she leaps into the air toward a Cat Wrangler’s shoulders, Buffy transforms the calm Cat Lounge into an electrified performance space. Her triumphant landing is met with “oohs” and “ahs”. Cameras and phones pop out. (Sometimes we cat wranglers wonder how many social media accounts and vacation albums we've appeared in simply because Buffy was standing on us.) Guests climb to their feet and approach Buffy tentatively but eagerly. Would Buffy do them the honor of standing on their shoulders as well? Why yes, she would! People giggle and clap as she makes her way from one set of shoulders to the next, purring as she goes. “This is the best thing ever,” one woman tells her friend. “I have never seen a cat do this before!” another guest exclaims. And indeed, sleek, black, and elegant, poised on a guest’s shoulders, head held high above the ground, Buffy is quite a sight to behold.

Buffy is already a bright-eyed cat, her round, yellow eyes giving her an air of perpetual surprise, but her eyes take on an even wider, especially mischievous glint when she looks for a set of shoulders to claim. Usually, she approaches a cat wrangler or volunteer first, someone she knows, but occasionally she’ll set her sights on the tallest guest standing near a table. If her chosen human is moving too much, she'll follow them around the room, across the benches, and from table to table, until she makes eye contact. If it's one of the staff, we'll recognize that bright and determined look, watch her wiggle her hips and tail, and square off our shoulders in anticipation.

Once she’s up there, she doesn't exactly hold still. Sometimes she'll walk a small figure right from shoulder to shoulder, facing first left, then right. She might rest her bum on your head for a second, only to abruptly point it toward the camera that's trying to capture the spectacle. She might slide her front paws down your back as you lean forward to try to counter her weight, and just when you think that maybe she'll leap to the floor, she stays in that spot, perfectly content with her sapien furniture. What's best is when she curls her face toward yours, purring in your ear, inviting you to reach up and pet her cheek or scratch her chin. Beware, though, for at this point you may discover that Buffy, an open-mouth purrer, has been drooling on your shirt and now your fingers.

But it's all worth it, even the drool, to listen to her purr and see how happy she is to be up high and bonding with a human. We often invite her up, initiating this ritual ourselves, despite the occasional scratches we receive when she misjudges the distance or loses her footing. And it's so wonderful to watch how happy the guests are when she leaves our shoulders and steps onto theirs, sometimes walking across a chain of four or five people in a row, bringing each of them into her special world at KitTea.

Sometimes people ask if we trained her to do this. Not at all--although I'm sure she finds the pets and adoration rewarding--it was her idea from the start. And she does it every single day.


*This the first part of a new series on our sanctuary cats. We’ll be highlighting them one by one, as well as exploring the unique relationships and bonds between them that together create this special rescue cat colony.*