Category Archives: famous felines

A Cat for Mayor? In Harmony, California it’s Possible!

Freddy

By Diane Matsuura, CANIDAE Customer Service

There is a tiny town located on the California Coast off Highway 1 just south of Cambria, steeped in history and now little more than a bump in the road, but packed with charm and artistic flair. What once was a thriving dairy community in the early 1900s is now a bohemian artist community boasting a population of 18, which probably includes the local wildlife and a town cat. This is where the story gets interesting, as how many towns can boast they elected a cat for Mayor?

A large orange tabby striped Maine Coon cat named Freddy Cheenie Alfredo, Freddy for short, was a much loved and cherished town mascot. He lived his entire “nine lives” in Harmony, passing at a ripe old age of 22 years. Freddy loved to greet visitors to Harmony and could always be found lounging in a patch of sun in the gardens or in a shop window. Shoppers could buy a T-shirt or other Harmony souvenirs with his likeness.

The story goes that because of his celebrity status, Freddy decided to run for Mayor of Harmony (though this is a bit unclear). He ran unopposed in the election and won in a landslide victory. Freddy served as Mayor until his passing in 1995. His final napping site can be found behind the old creamery building where the local residents lovingly maintain a touching memorial in his honor.

Gatacita

However, in typical Harmony artistic fashion, a new, absolutely gorgeous black and white female kitty named Gatacita has taken over the role of “mascot cat” for Harmony. She has oodles of charm and purrsonality, and takes her role seriously as the official greeter to the fair town of Harmony. While this kitty likes to nap in the gardens Freddy was so fond of, she will also follow you from shop to shop and sit with you at your table while you rest or picnic.

With not a shy bone in her svelte feline body, Gatacita is extremely photogenic and loves having her photo taken. Gatacita wasn’t born in Harmony like Freddy was, but she was adopted by the entire town when her first owner passed away and she had nowhere else to go. She is much loved by the residents and visitors alike, and rumor has it she is planning to run for Mayor of Harmony in the next election, following in the pawsteps of the famous Freddy!

On your next road trip up or down the coast of California, stop by the unique town of Harmony and visit with Gatacita.  Dogs are welcome in Harmony too, but a hand-lettered sign reminds guests that dogs must be leashed. Cats on the other hand, may run free!

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The PATSY Awards for Animal Actors

By Langley Cornwell

Actors who give an especially great performance in a movie or television series are usually awarded with an Oscar or an Emmy. That’s all well and good, but what about those actors from the animal world? Animal actors are just as deserving of awards for exceptional performance so in 1939, the PATSY Awards were created to do just that.

What are the PATSY Awards?

Created by the Hollywood office of the American Humane Association, PATSY was originally an acronym for Picture Animal Top Star of the Year. In 1958, the PATSY Awards were expanded to include television performers and the acronym Performing Animal Television Star of the Year was added.

The PATSY Awards were originally created with the intent to honor animal performers after a horse was killed during the filming of the movie “Jessie James,” starring Tyrone Powers.

The first actual recipient of a PATSY came in 1951 when Francis the Talking Mule was honored. Who presented Francis with the first PATSY? None other than Ronald Reagan himself, the actor-turned-President who was known for his work with a chimpanzee in the Bonzo movies.

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The Dalai Lama’s Cat: Book Review and Giveaway!

By Julia Williams

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live with one of the world’s greatest spiritual teachers? Well, wonder no more! In The Dalai Lama’s Cat, a novel by David Michie, a sassy Himalayan gives us a cat’s eye view of life in the inner sanctum of His Holiness’s household. True to feline nature, the curious cat soaks up the teachings that take place when visitors – everyone from Hollywood celebrities and self help gurus to philanthropists and royalty – seek an audience with the Dalai Lama. To be sure, life is never dull when you’re the Dalai Lama’s cat!

The Buddhist wisdom is artfully interwoven with entertaining tales of a cat just being a cat…getting into mischief, making the most of every opportunity, and purring her way into the hearts of all who meet her. One would expect no less of any feline, let alone one who spends every morning curled up with the Dalai Lama while he meditates.

The Dalai Lama’s cat, a.k.a. Mousie-Tung, The Snow Lion of Jokhang, His Holiness’s Cat (HHC), The Bodhicatva, and “The Most Beautiful Creature That Ever Lived,” is so charming, funny, wise and witty that it’s hard to imagine anyone who wouldn’t love her. She even shares her most embarrassing moments for the sake of giving us a good laugh, which is something most dignified felines wouldn’t dream of doing! But the Dalai Lama’s cat is no ordinary feline, and she never lets us forget.

She makes no apologies for eavesdropping on the conversations between the Dalai Lama and his guests, and she puts a uniquely feline spin on the basic Buddhist principles she overhears. Through the Dalai Lama’s cat we learn about concepts such as karma, mindfulness, enlightenment, compassion, and the meaning of life.

The mark of any good novel, at least for me, is that it captures my attention on page one and compels me to keep turning pages despite other distractions and obligations. I read this book in two days because I just couldn’t put it down. And when I finished, I found myself wanting more. You really can’t ask for more from a good book, can you?

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Venus the Chimera Cat Meows about Fame, Photoshop & Family

By Julia Williams

The first time most people see a photo of Venus, they usually think it’s a photoshop fake or that her owners dyed her face. It’s hard not to, since this kitty seemingly has two very different faces, perfectly split down the middle of her nose. A visit to her Facebook page is enough to convince all but the most skeptical humans that Venus is indeed a real cat.

But why is her face like that? Venus might be a chimera, a rare condition where two genetically distinct embryos merge in the womb. It’s also possible her unique face is just a coincidental placement of a normal tortoiseshell pattern. DNA testing is the only way to know for sure, but Venus doesn’t really care and neither do her 104,000+ Facebook fans who enjoy this cute kitty’s wit and humor. I chatted with Venus recently so we could all learn a little more about this now famous split-faced feline.

Julia: If you had $1 for every time someone said your face was photoshopped, how rich would you be, and what would you do with all the money?
Venus: I would probably have a half million dollars and I would definitely donate to animal aid after I got a few little luxuries for myself, like one of those fancy automatic litter boxes, a couple new cat condos, a lifetime supply of cat treats and cool toys…oh, and maybe a posh new carrier for trips to the vet.

What do you think about all the hubbub over your face?
I guess I’m not surprised because I do look so different than most other cats.

You were born a stray, but luckily found a wonderful forever home. What does your human family love most about you, and what do you love about them?
My human family loves that I’m so snuggly like a baby. I’m timid and shy around strangers, but when it’s just us I’m always laying on someone’s lap purring up a storm. What I love most about them is that they love me for all of me, not just because of how I look…AND they let me get away with things most kitties can’t do. We don’t have many rules.

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Famous Cat Actors

By Langley Cornwell

There are plenty of famous animated cats in cartoons, on television and in the movies. We’re probably all familiar with the likes of Sylvester, Felix, Tigger, Oscar, Tom and Garfield, but what about live cat actors? It seems like the live dog actors get all the press. Even here, I recently wrote about Eddie, the dog from Frasier, and Toto but I’ve never given any space to live cat actors.

Granted, anybody that has ever shared their life with a cat knows it’s not easy to teach a cat to perform a task on command. For that reason, there are not as many famous cat actors to write about. Still, our feline thespians should get the recognition they deserve, so here is a little background on some famous cat actors.

Vito Vincent

A congenial orange tabby named Vito Vincent has achieved a level of fame and a reputation for being incredibly calm, even amidst the hustle and bustle of film and television sets. So far, Vito has gained recognition by being on high profile TV shows that film in New York, like 30 Rock and The Colbert Report. His owner and manager believes that Vito will get even bigger and better gigs in Hollywood, so they recently moved from the Big Apple to the West Coast so Vito could let his star shine bright.

Milo

In The Adventures of Milo & Otis, the cat actor and the dog actor got equal screen time. Oh well, at least the cat got top billing. In fact, The Adventures of Milo & Otis is a remake of a Japanese movie called Koneko Monogatari, which means A Kitten’s Story. Milo is an orange tabby kitten and her canine companion is a pug named Otis. Dudley Moore provides the voices of both characters and all of the actors are animals; no humans show up in this film. The movie reportedly took four years to complete due to the complexities of working strictly with animal actors – I wonder how many truckloads of training treats like CANIDAE TidNips and Snap-Bits were used to get the animals to do what they were supposed to?

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12 Unforgettable Pets of 2012

Grumpy Cat

By Linda Cole

If you spend time on Facebook or like to search the web for cute pets, you’ve likely seen Grumpy Cat with the sour puss frown and Boo, the super cute Pomeranian. It seems we can’t get enough of these adorable pets. Below are some of my favorite pets that were “all the rage” in 2012. If you have a favorite that I didn’t mention, please let me know!

Grumpy Cat, aka Tardar Sauce (Tard for short), has an adorable scowl that makes it hard not to smile when you see her. Bryan Bundesen was visiting his sister Tabatha in Arizona last fall when he snapped the now famous frown of her 8 month old cat. Tardar Sauce was given her name by Tabatha’s daughter, who noticed the kitten had speckles in her fur that reminded her of tartar sauce. She misspelled it but the name stuck. Grumpy Cat really isn’t grumpy at all! She’s a sweetheart, and loves to play. Tard isn’t going away anytime soon. There’s a children’s book series, and a line of stuffed animals being discussed for 2013. Tard’s official Grumpy Cat Facebook page has almost 315,000 fans.

Chopper the Biker Dog

Chopper the Biker Dog is one cool dude that rides around on his custom made motorcycle. He has his very own handmade biker leather jacket and sunglasses, but this Boston Terrier is about as mellow as a dog can be, and thoroughly enjoys his job as a therapy dog. His goal in life is to make a difference in people’s lives. Chopper lives in San Diego, CA with his owner Mark Shaffer. His Facebook page currently has almost 20,000 fans.

Hank the Cat is a Maine Coon cat that decided it was time for a feline to toss a hairball…um… his hat in the political ring, running for the open US Senate seat in Virginia. A true grassroots campaign pushing a simple message, “It’s OK to vote the humans out.” Hank netted over 7,000 write-in votes and also raised $60,000 for animal rescue organizations. Will Hank run again in 2014 or 2016? According to his campaign manager, Hank retired from politics, but Hank is staying mum on any future plans, sidestepping reporters’ questions.


Venus

Venus the Amazing Chimera Cat is a beautiful tortoiseshell kitty with the most striking physical appearance. Her face is two colors perfectly split down the middle, the right side is black, and the left side is orange. Plus, one eye is green and the other is blue! Some people say this unusual looking feline is just a photoshop trick, but Venus is definitely a real kitty, and she even went on TV to prove it! Venus was a stray cat found wandering around on a dairy farm in North Carolina. She has 92,000 Facebook fans.

Henri, Le Chat Noir (Henri the Existential Cat) wants the world to feel his tortured soul living with humans and other pets, as told to us in a black & white YouTube video that went viral in 2012 with almost 6,700,000 views to date. Henri 2: Paw de Deux netted Henri’s owner, William Braden, top spot at the Internet Cat Video Film Festival. Not bad for a shelter cat turned actor. (There are five videos to date, and all are exceptional!). Henri’s real name is Henry, and in real life he’s an easygoing, laidback kitty that loves to purr. And his online contempt is, well, just good acting, as he tells it.

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